vExpert : What I did with my HP VSA

When I started with this “Home Lab Storage Upgrade Project” of mine I did no have the HP VSA in mind at all. I was looking for “something” that would give me better speed/io response times from a disk perspective. Not so much space (Space I can get easily with larger disks). Looking at my Lab config I did not realize at the time was the number of HP Equipment I have in my Home Lab. Here is just a few :

  • HP DL 380 G7 Server (74gb memory installed) – Management Host/Cluster
  • 2x HP Micro servers – my “storage units”
  • 6x HP Dual Port Intel Nic’s

So back onto the HP VSA. As part of the vExpert Program we can get a HP VSA NFR Lic  for 3 year for free. I started chatting on email to Calvin Zito (@HPStorageGuy) on some of the options of the VSA. I was looking into using the Adaptive Optimization option. Basically using tiering in your disk pool by using SSD drives and other type disks. In my case I used SATA disks and had 1x 120Gb SSD drive available to use.

The HP Microserver that I had in mind to use already had 4x 500Gb 7200rpm drives installed. Thus all the bays were full. I realised that the MicroServer had a CD-Rom and a seperate SATA connection. I mounted the SSD drive on a bracket and placed inside the CD-Rom bay. Now I had 4x 500Gb Sata Drives and 1x 120Gb SSD drive.

The VSA is installed on ESXi. I my case I used 1 of the 500Gb drives from my ESXi install and location of the VSA Virtual Machine.

The VSA Manual is very specific on how to configure the disks. You need to start adding the VSA VMDK storage on SCSI 1:0 and the mode needs to be Independent and Persistent.VSA_01

I have allocated all the storage, Powered up the VSA and added the Disks to the VSA Cluster. I only have a single Node Cluster in my configuration (The NFR Lic that you will get is a 3 node Lic).

I created 3x 400Gb Luns as Tier 1 Storage. I defined my SSD storage as Tier 0:


Next was to enable my Luns to use Adaptive Optimization (Tier 0 Storage, SSD) :


Here we can see that the Luns are using the Tier 0 Storage : VSA_04

On my VMware Cluster side I have 2 hosts in the cluster that I use for my VDI Desktops(Not using VIEW…just cloning Desktops). I created a Storage DRS Pool that only used Disk Space optimization so that the space on the Luns can be used “equally” and saves me the effort to decide where to place the next VDI Desktop. Below Storage DRS doing its thing very nicely!


Fom me the use case was to give some increase performance to my VDI environment as I use the VM’s a lot for testing of Trend Micro Software. My initial tests on cloning and installing application was that the speed did improve and that I spend less time waiting in my lab 🙂

Leave a Reply