In my VMware vSphere: What’s New [5.0] class this week, I learned why having a lab environment to test things is very important. I also learned that some bugs are fun to try and fix.
vSphere 5 introduced a lot of new features focused on storage. One of these is Profile Driven Storage. This allows users to create tiers for datastores and ensure that those profiles can be attached to VMs at a later date. This would be very useful for someone that has ultra-fast SSD arrays like those from PureStorage alongside SAS or SATA arrays. You can define the gold tier as the SSD array for VMs that need fast storage access, silver tier for slightly slower SAS drives and bronze tier for the large-but-slow SATA datastore. I like this idea of allowing users to define their storage capabilities into easy to assign tiers. However, we hit a bug when we tried to implement it in the lab.
After we created the tiers in VIClient, we went to assign them to the datastores from the Home -> Datastores and Datastore Clusters section. When we right clicked on the datastore and chose “Assign User-Defined Storage Capability” we got hit with this error:
Unable To Access User-Defined Storage Service
Huh? You let me configure the silly thing? It’s got to be there somewhere! Let me assign it to something.
Odds are good that if you are seeing this error, you’ve also installed the vSphere Web Client. Another great option for users that don’t want to install the VMware Infrastructure Client, the Web Client allows you to access VMs from Firefox or Internet Explorer and manage them just like you would from the VIClient. This would be useful for those out there that are running OS X and currently don’t have a way to manage VMs unless they launch the VIClient from a virtual machine or other emulated environment. The Web Client software needs to be installed on a Windows (or Linux) machine in order to respond to requests from web browsers. For many users that run OS X, the logical choice would be to install the Web Client service on the Windows-based vCenter Server and then use Firefox to remotely access the web client afterwards. That’s what we did in the lab.
The problem lies in that the Web Client service conflicts with the Profile Driven Storage service. I’m not sure if they use the same port numbers or if they just collide in memory space or something. As long as the Web Client service is running, the Profile Driven Storage options cannot be configured on a Data Store. The fix is somewhat simple:
1. Open the Service console on your vCenter server.
2. Find the VMware Web Client service.
3. Stop or disable it.
4. Restart VIClient.
Simple, huh? You can now assign the User-Defined Storage profiles to all the datastores you’d like. When you finish, close out VIClient and restart the Web Client Service so your Mac folks can administer VMs. Just remember that every time you want to use Profile Driven Storage, you’re going to have to bounce the Web Client service.
One can only hope that this particular bug gets fixed in an upcoming point release of vSphere 5. Not a show stopper, but I can see how it could cause issues for those that don’t know from the less-than-helpful error message where to look for help. I’m just glad I found it in a learning lab and not in production.