In the first of this three part series, I walk through the installation of the FVP product from PernixData. If you aren’t familiar, let me give you a quick overview. FVP pools local flash devices in your hosts that it uses to accelerate block storage. I have heard that NFS support is coming, but at this time only FC/FCoE/iSCSI are supported. This effectively allows your to drive more IOPS at lower latency without performing a forklift upgrade of your existing storage array(s). Let’s get started!
PernixData FVP Host Plug-In
The first requirement is to install a plugin on the ESXi hosts themselves that will manage the local resources. I have previously written about this installation process in general here and here but we will deal specifically with the FVP package here. First things first – we need to upload the package to the host. The files all come together in a .zip file from PernixData, so make sure you grab the right file. At the time of this writing, the archive included packages for 5.0, 5.1, and 5.5. I grabbed the 5.5 package since that’s what I’m running in the lab. In the screenshot below, the package is SCP’ed over to the host.
Now that the package is copied over, we can run the installation process. In the screenshot below, we use esxcli to install the software.
Once the package has been successfully installed, the last thing we must do is commit the configuration. This is done automatically once per hour, but just in case the host were to have an issue during this hour, we run the script to commit changes immediately.
And that’s it for the hosts! Next we need to install the management portion.
PernixData FVP Management Server
This server is responsible for management of all the pooled flash resources. I would recommend running this software on a dedicated server if you have the resources; since I’m in my lab, I opted for the vCenter server. The first thing to do is create a service account for this software to use, then grant that account Administrator permissions within vCenter.
Next, we will create a database for the FVP management software to use. We create a login for the service account, and make it dbo for the database.
Now that the prep work is done, we’ll run through the installer. Copy over the executable from the archive and run on the machine you’ll use as the FVP Management Server. During the installation process, you’ll need to point it at the database instance you created the database/credentials on. Make sure the user temporarily has ‘sysadmin’ rights (you can remove these after the install process).
Once the installer is finished, you may or may not have one more step. If you’re running vSphere 5.1 or older you will also need to install the UI plugin to get access to FVP management from the vSphere console. I was lucky enough to not have to do anything since I am running 5.5.
That’s all there is to it! Close your connection to the vSphere Web Client and open a new one, and be rewarded with the FVP plugin at the bottom of the vCenter pane!
In the next two parts of this series, we’ll run through basic configuration like creating our first flash cluster, and then we’ll run a quick test to see what FVP does for performance. Stay tuned!