vSAN on Cisco UCS C-series booting from FlexFlash cards

This is how to setup VMware vSAN on Cisco UCS rack mount servers connect to 6248UP Fabric Interconnects. In this case, it’s for VMware Horizon View, but this will work for a lot of use cases. The boot drive for ESX is going to be a pair of mirrored 32GB FlexFlash cards. These don’t work out of the box, so there is a few steps to get them working. There is also a few extra steps to get a the SSD to show up for ESX.

Expected screen during install of ESX- HV Hypervisor partition is the target

The FlexFlash SD cards shipped with B-series servers have an HV partition. C-series cards have four partitions; HV, HUU, SCU, and Drivers. When the FlexFlash controller is enabled, UCSM will only show the HV partition to guest.

Local Storage Policy- FlexFlash state Enabled

If a template has been created and the install guides from Cisco have been followed, a local storage policy should exist with FlexFlash State set to Enable. The Mode can left to Any.

Flex-Scrub Policy

Its seems a little counter-intuitive, but a Flex-Scrub Policy has to be created to properly RAID the two SD cards to together. Later, a No-Scrub policy will be put in place.

Errors

If the scrub policy if not used setup the RAID pair, ugly errors about “not enough resources overall”, “RAID State: Enabled Not Paired” and “RAID Health: Degraded” will appear

Unbind from template

Assuming a template was already created for the server, Unbind from the Template so that the Scrub Policy can be changed.

Click Yes

Change the Policy to Flex-Scrub

Save Changes

Click OK

Right click the server, select Server Maintenance and Re-acknowledge the server

This will bounce the server and apply the scrub policy.

Watch the FSM to see the progress

Proper Settings for Controller and RAID State

Over on the Equipment tab, click Inventory and Storage, and the proper states should be reported.

Go back to No-Scrub by using Bind to Template

This will put the the server back to its original state.

Choose a Template

Re-acknowledge again

Click Yes

Getting the SSD drive to appear correctly in ESX

Assuming all the steps went fine, ESX should now be installed and dragged into vCenter. Unfortunately, the SSD is not correctly detected. I’m pretty sure this one is on VMware. Its not to difficult to fix, however, and you’ll learn a bit about claim rules.

Take note of the Identifier (in this case naa.600605b009dd39e0ff00004e04c6ca89). Save some frustration and paste all the naa numbers you need into Evernote or whatever you use.

Enable SSH and connect to the host

esxcli storage nmp satp rule add -s VMW_SATP_LOCAL –device naa.600605b009dd39e0ff00004e04c6ca89 –option=enable_ssd

Unclaim the device, load the rules and re-run them

esxcli storage core claiming unclaim –type device –device naa.600605b009dd39e0ff00004e04c6ca89

esxcli storage core claimrule load

esxcli storage core claimrule run

Claim Disks for VSAN Use

The SSD should now appear when you setup VSAN, which is very easy.

vsanDatastore

The vsanDatastore should now be available.

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