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ESXi 5.0 Server Management Tool Support for NetApp (2004087)

Purpose

This article provides information about vSphere support for the NetApp utility, mbralign, which implements guest partition block alignment. This article helps you understand how to leverage mbralign in an ESXi 5.0 environment.

Note: The partner products referenced in this article are software modules that are developed and supported by a partner. Use of these products is also governed by the end user license agreement of the partner. You must obtain the application, support, and licensing for using this product from the partner.

Resolution

Plan for Supporting the vSphere 5.0 ESXi Architecture

The mbralign tool runs once on a vmdk file and migrates the underlying blocks to an aligned state. Remote access to the ESXi Shell (formerly known as Tech Support Mode) via SSH must be enabled to use mbralign. ESXi Shell access can be enabled and disabled through the Direct Console User Interface (DCUI) or through vCenter Server.

mbralign provides the ability to align a guest operating system's partitions in these high level steps:
  1. Shut down the virtual machine.
  2. Run mbralign from the ESXi Shell or an SSH session connected to the ESXi host against the desired vmdk file. For example:

    ./mbralign /vmfs/volumes/datastore/my_vmdk_file.vmdk

  3. Power on the virtual machine when mbralign is finished.
  4. Verify that the virtual machine powers up and is in a functional state.
  5. Remove the backup files created after confirming that the virtual machine is functional. Otherwise, restore the backup vmdk file.

    The vmdk files follow a naming convention of <name_of_vmdk>-mbralign-backup. For example, for a file named win2k3sp2_32_vmdk-flat.vmdk, the corresponding backup files would be:
    • win2k3sp2_32_vmdk-flat.vmdk-mbralign-backup for the flat file
    • win2k3sp2_32_vmdk.vmdk-mbralign-backup for the descriptor file

Note: Before proceeding with the alignment process, ensure sufficient space is available in the datastore that the vmdk files to be aligned reside. If the vmdk file to be aligned is 2GB, the datastore must have at least 4 GB of free space to accommodate both vmdk files.

mbralign is located in the Tools section of the Virtual Storage Console for VMware vSphere 2.1.1. It is also included with the NetApp ESX Host Utilities.

Further documentation on installation and the use of the tool is available on NetApp’s NOW site.

Support information

mbralign for ESXi (mbrtools_esxi.tgz) is supported on ESXi 4.x and ESXi 5.x systems. For ESX systems, either download the ESX Host Utilities 5.2.1 (EHU 5.2.1) from NetApp's NOW site and use the mbralign provided in that bundle, or access the mbralign tool from the Virtual Storage Console for VMware vSphere 2.1.1, if deployed.

Technical Report (TR-3747) covers guest file system alignment and the use of these tools.

See Also

Request a Product Feature

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