Category Archives: NetApp

SnapDrive 6.1, Windows Server 2008, and vSphere – A Serious Inconvenience!!

I can’t help but smile upon reflection of the last couple days at work. I guess I’m still in the midst of it, but I believe the information below will be relevant to others.

For a little background, I’m building Windows Server 2008 / Exchange 2007 clusters hosted on vSphere with NetApp storage. Thus, I have installed SnapDrive 6.1 onto my Windows VMs. Also important to note, is that vSphere installed the LSI SAS SCSI Controller for my 2008 Servers….

Using SnapDrive to create the iSCSI LUNs was very easy, it was great! This was my first time using it and I was delighted to see that it created the disks, formatted them, created cluster resources, etc, etc. However, the quorum had to reside on a Fibre Channel LUN and SnapDrive, seeing that it can recognize that it is installed into a VM, can create LUNs of Fibre storage because it can use the FC “Initiators” on the ESX server. I was told the quorum had to be on Fibre Channel storage in order to be supported by NetApp, VMware, and Microsoft. Granted, I’m not sure the verbage is right but hopefully you get my point.

Anyway, when creating the FC LUNs using SnapDrive, I received the following message when it attempted to create the LUN:

Failed to create disk in virtual machine, Failed to Map virtual disk: There are no available SCSI controllers..

After a bit of troubleshooting, we decided to contact NetApp. We ran through a couple basics, they were going to review the logs, etc. When speaking with support today, I was told the following “bug” update (366239) had just been released.

Error “There are no available SCSI controllers” is thrown up by SnapDrive running in win2k8 VM.

Bug Severity: 3 – Serious inconvenience
Bug Status: Fixed
SnapDrive running in Win2k8 VM (configured with virtual LSI SAS controller) and being hosted by ESX Server 4.0 throws up an error “Failed to create disk in virtual machine, Failed to Map virtual disk: There are no available SCSI controllers” during LUN create, connect or mount operations.

Configure VM with LSI parallel controller and do not use LSI SAS controller.

Of course my VMs were using LSI SAS controllers! Anyway, I can confirm that this bug is indeed a serious inconvenience as you typically cannot simply change your controllers “on the fly” so to speak. Doing so tends to render Windows unbootable; but you can step through a process to convert your SCSI controller from LSI SAS to LSI Parallel (and vice versa). I used the steps found here: though I may post what I did as well for my own memory….

After converting my SCSI controllers to LSI Parallel, SnapDrive was able to map a Fibre Channel RDM to my Exchange virtual servers and I could proceed with my Exchange 2007 cluster build.


Filed under Microsoft, NetApp, VMware, Windows Server

NetApp SANscreen and Virtual Center

I spent the day at NetApp in RTP today learning about various products including SANscreen among others. Very basically, SANscreen is a SAN Management tool designed to help SAN administrators more easily manage a multi-vendor SAN environment. SANscreen can be purchased with up to 5 options:

1. Service Insight
2. Capacity Manager
3. Service Assurance
4. Application Insight
5. VM Insight

I heard, several times, that JP Morgan and AOL love it! In fact, “they pay an intern to sit at a desk and monitor the SANscreen interface” for weeks on end. Thus, it’s pretty expensive.

However, the VM Insight option, which provides a plug-in to Virtual Center, is pretty intriguing and would be very useful. I wonder if NetApp would consider selling it alone as “SANscreen – Virtual Center Edition” if enough customers express interest in it….

The VM Insight plug-in can pull information out of Virtual Center and display it within SANscreen, or a VM Insight plug-in can be installed on the Virtual Center server adding a “SANscreen Reports” tab.

SANscreen isn’t necessarily adding additional information, but it is taking the information out of Virtual Center and combining it with the SANscreen Service Insight data to show you:

– Memory and CPU load
– I/O Utilization and Distribution
– VM to ESX Host to Storage Paths providing end-to-end VM Storage Utilization and Performance
– RAID Levels / Storage LUN / Show real usage / Zoning
– VM Storage Service Path and DataStore capacity (free space and utilization)
– If you are using Fibre Channel, SANscreen will determine if the ESX server properly zoned and masked. On the display, zones are represented by blue lines and masks are yellow lines. Thus when an ESX server is properly zoned and masked, the path shows up as green. A nice take on “yellow and blue makes green”
– SANscreen can recommend the preferred ESX host for a new VM. It will use the existing utilization for an ESX environment, along with a performance estimate for a new VM, and propose the ESX server onto which to install the new VM.
– SANscreen can help determine VM P2V candidates based on real-time, historical usage

Those are the highlights I can remember concerning the SANscreen VM Insight plug-in. Though we didn’t discuss VMware functionality, I imagine these tools could be used to determine which VMs may not run optimally when hosted on the same ESX server, allowing you to easily create DRS rules.


Filed under NetApp, VMware

Exchange 2007 CCR Cluster and NetApp Storage

This tidbit of information may be known to many of you, especially if you work with NetApp storage, but I’m posting it anyway as a reminder to myself.

After configuring a couple Windows 2008 servers as a failover cluster using a file share witness quorum, I enabled iSCSI and installed SnapDrive on NodeA. An iSCSI connection to the NetApp storage was established, but when attempting to use SnapDrive to add new disks, I received the message: “SnapDrive error: Class not registered“.

To correct, SnapDrive had to be installed on NodeB of the cluster. Once installed on both servers, I could use SnapDrive to add disks with no problems.


Filed under Microsoft, NetApp, Windows Server