As of version 5.1, SnapManager for SQL supports the use of VMware VMDK files on both NFS and fiber channel storage configurations. Configuration of SnapManger for SQL in these environments is not for the faint of heart. The installation guide is geared toward physical servers leveraging fiber channel LUNs and virtual machines using RDM (Raw Disk Mapping) LUNs. While the documentation indicates that VMDK files are supported, configuration is not automatic.
The first thing I recommend you start with is to download and read through the following Install/Admin guides from NetApp (downloading these files requires a NetApp NOW support site login). There are a lot of prerequisites and they vary from version to version. I will cover the current release (5.2):
- SnapManager 5.2 for Microsoft® SQL Server – Installation and Administration Guide
- SnapManager 5.1 for Microsoft® SQL Server – Installation and Administration Guide
- SnapDrive 6.4 for Windows – Installation and Administration Guide
- SnapDrive 6.4 for Windows – Release Notes
- NetApp Virtual Storage Console 2.1.1 for VMware vSphereTM – Installation and Administration Guide
Once you are armed with the latest documentation go ahead and download the following files from Netapp (again: these files require a NOW account and may require entitlement access, based on the software and support purchased with your NetApp system). Also, it should be noted that some or all of these software revisions are currently FCS (First Customer Shipment) vs GA (General Availability) releases. This means they are fully tested and meet NetApp’s criteria for production deployment, but they recommend using the GA release unless a specific feature in the FCS version is required. Files for download:
- Virtual Storage Console – VSC-2.1.2-win64.exe
- SnapDrive for Windows – SnapDrive6.4_x64.exe
- SnapManager for SQL – SMSQL5.2_x64.exe
With the installers downloaded, install VSC 2.1.2 on the VMware Virtual Center server/virtual appliance. It is important that the VSC service is local to the VC for the SnapDrive component to function correctly. Also when registering the plugin use the IP address of the VC server in the VSC plugin source field and the VC server field (as opposed to using “localhost” or 127.0.0.1). It is also important to note that if you are using a web proxy server in your environment you need to put a “proxy bypass” entry in your default browser configuration in order for the plugin to work properly.
Once the VSC is installed, ensure that the VMTools are updated on the guest, and that all required Windows updates are installed (there are a few required by SnapDrive and they vary by OS version). SnapDrive can now be installed and registered with the VSC. Here is where the documentation for SnapManager and SnapDrive get murky. The SnapManager for SQL 5.2 manual indicates that you need to install SnapDrive for Windows on the virtual machine and enter the IP address of the management server and credentials used to communicate with VSC on the management server. Whereas the SnapManager for SQL 5.1 manual indicates that you need to install SnapDrive for Windows on the virtual machine and enter the IP address of the management server and credentials used to communicate with SMVI on the management server.
The difference and key clue here is that 5.2 requires the VSC and 5.1 required SMVI. Digging through the documentation for Snapdrive did not provide much clarity, but a search through NetApp’s communities provided this link. The solution was to run the following command from the guest once SnapDrive is installed:
sdcli smvi_config set –host VSC Server IP
Once this is done: the SnapDrive service is restarted and the disk configuration in SnapDrive is refreshed, all the VMDK volumes should be listed under drives. To finish up, when the drives are visible in SnapDrive, install SnapManager and run the configuration wizard to setup the SQL databases.
Photo Credit: SidewaysSarah