UnityVSA – Part 2: Deploy

This post is part of a series covering the EMC Free and Frictionless software products.
Go to the first post for a table of contents.

So, to start this off let’s go to the EMC Software Download page; navigating to UnityVSA to get the download. You’ll receive a login prompt, if you have not registered for an EMC account previously, you’ll need one to access the download. Once logged in, you’ll start downloading the OVA file for UnityVSA.

Yes, last time I went immediately to downloading OVAs without reading the manuals my installation failed miserably. But I’m going to try an installation unassisted every time; maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, but I choose to be optimistic that installations should be intuitive, so I prefer trying unaided first.

That’s just me; you might want to check out the Installation Guide and FAQs. Here’s the quick details though… in order to run the VSA you’ll need to be able to run a vSphere virtual machine with 2x cores (recommended is 2Ghz+), 12GB of RAM, and 85GB of hard drive space, plus however much extra space you want to give the VSA to be presented as storage. The VSA does not provide any raid protection inside the virtual array; so if you want to avoid data loss from hardware failure, ensure the storage underneath the VSA is RAID (or VSAN, or SAN itself). You’re also going to want at least two IP addresses set aside; I’d recommend about 5 for a full configuration. Depending on your network environment, you might want to have multiple networks available in vSphere. The UnityVSA has multiple virtual network cards to provide ethernet redundancy. One of those virtual nics is for management traffic, which you could place on a separate virtual switch (and thus VLAN) if you’re topology supports this. My lab is basically flat, so I’ll be binding all virtual nics to one virtual network.

With the downloaded OVA in hand, the initial deployment is indeed incredibly easy. If you’re familiar with OVA deployments, this won’t be very exciting. If you’re not familiar with deploying an OVA, you can follow along in the video below. I’m going to be deploying UnityVSA on my nested ESXi cluster, running VSAN 6.2. You could install directly on an ESXi Host, or even VMware Workstation or Fusion; put that’s another post.

*Note there is no sound, this is to follow along the steps.
  1. In vCenter, right-click the cluster and select “Deploy OVF Template”
  2. Enter the location you saved the UnityVSA OVA file
  3. Select the check box “Accept extra configuration details”, this OVA contains resource reservations which we’ll touch on below.
  4. Provide a name, this will be the virtual machine name, not the actual name of the Unity array
  5. Select the datastore to house the UnityVSA, in my case I’m putting this on VMware Virtual SAN.
  6. Select which networks you wish the UnityVSA bound to.
  7. Configure the “System Name”, this is the actual name of the VSA, I’d recommend matching the virtual machine name you entered above.
  8. Configure the networking, I’m a fan of leveraging DHCP for virtual appliance downloads when possible, it eliminates some troubleshooting.
  9. I do NOT recommend checking the box “Power on after deployment”, the OVA deployment does not include any storage for provisioning pools; for the initial wizard to work, you’ll want to add some additional virtual hard drives.




A couple notes on the virtual machine itself to be aware of. EMC’s intent with UnityVSA is to provide a production-grade virtual storage array. To ensure adequate performance, when the OVA is deployed the resulting virtual machine has reservations in place on both CPU and memory. These reservations will ensure the ESX host/cluster underneath the VSA can deliver the appropriate amount of resources for the virtual array to function. If you are planning on running UnityVSA in a supported, production environment, I recommend leaving these reservations. Even if you have enough resources to make the reservations unnecessary, I’m sure EMC Support will take issue with you removing them should you need to open a case. If this is just for testing and you are tight on resources, you can remove these reservations.






Next, let’s add that extra hard drive I talked about and power this up.


*Note there is no sound, this is to follow along the steps.


  1. In vCenter, right click the UnityVSA and Edit Settings
  2. At the bottom under New Device. use the drop down box to select “New Hard Disk” and press “Add”
  3. Enter the size, I’m making a VMDK with 250GB; if you use the arrow to expand the hard drive settings, you can place it on a separate datastore, if you want to using FASTVP to tier between datas tores this is where you’ll want to customer the hard drive.  I’m putting this new hard drive with the VM on VSAN.
  4. Once the reconfigure task is complete, right click your VM again and select “Power On”
  5. I highly recommend opening the console to the VM to watch the boot up, especially on first boot as the UnityVSA will configure itself.
  6. When the console shows a Linux prompt, walk away. Seriously, walk away; get a coffee, take a smoke break, or work on something else. More is happening behind the scenes at this point and the VSA is not ready. You’ll only get frustrated and this watched pot will not seems to boil.
  7. Ok, are you back? Close the console and go back to the virtual machine, ensure the VM Tools are running and the IP address shows up. If you choose DHCP as I did, you’ll need to note the assigned IP address. If you don’t see the IP address, the VSA is still not ready (see, I told you to walk away)
  8. Once the IP appears vCenter, you’re safe to open a browser over SSL to that address.
  9. You should receive a logon prompt, the default login is:
    1. user: admin
    2. pw: Password123#
  10. Did you login? Do you see a “Initial Configuration” wizard? Congratulations then, the VSA is up.

In the next post in this series, we’ll leverage this wizard to fast track configuring the UnityVSA, but, if you want you can cancel the wizard at this point, manually configuring the array; or restarting the wizard later through preferences.

For now, as evident by this post; the deployment of UnityVSA was straight-forward and exactly what we’ve all come to expect of virtual appliances. From download to up and running, user interaction time was less than 2 minutes, with overall deploy time around 30 minutes.