EMC Virtual Storage Integrator (VSI) VMware vSphere Plug-in

Whether you are an existing EMC storage customer running VMware vSphere in your environment, or are potentially looking at purchasing an EMC storage product then you should take a look at the EMC Virtual Storage Integrator (VSI) plug-in for VMware vSphere.  This vSphere plug-in from EMC is a framework in which there are five independent VSI modules that you can add, each providing different useful functionality to the various EMC storage offerings all from within the vSphere Client.  One or more of these five modules make up what is called as the EMC VSI plug-in, with the VSI plug-in being presented within the vSphere Client as a single plug-in entity.  Each of the various installed modules can be enabled/disabled or uninstalled individually.

EMC VMware VSI pluginEven if you don’t currently have any EMC storage, then you can download and use the VSI plug-in against the EMC VNX virtual storage appliance (VSA), which is ideal for a vSphere work/home lab environment.  You can download the EMC VNX VSA from here (free to download and use), also check out my EMC webinar from last year on installing and running the VNX VSA in a vSphere lab here which may be of use.

I recently took an EMC webinar of the VSI plug-in which provides a run through of the plug-in including a demonstration of it in action – watch it here.

I should point out that the EMC VSI plug-in can be downloaded for FREE from the EMC Powerlink web portal (ie: powerlink.emc.com) so if you’re running EMC storage which is then presented up into a vSphere environment, of any size, then you’d be mad not to download it and give it a try.  I’m sure you’ll instantly see the benefits the VSI plug-in provides in the day-to-day administration of your vSphere based virtual infrastructure.

EMC VSI Powerlink


The following sections provide an overview on each of the EMC VSI modules that can be added and used as part of the VSI framework.

Storage Viewer (SV)
(latest version: 5.2 A04)


EMC VSI Plug-inThe Storage Viewer (SV) VSI plug-in module provides you with a more detailed view into the configuration details and performance (new with v5.1+) data of the underlying EMC based storage, which has been presented up to the ESX/ESXi host(s). The SV module merges the data from several different storage mapping tools to provide a seamless view view within the vSphere Client. The VSI works with EMC Symmetrix, CLARiiON, Celerra, VPLEX and VNX storage devices.

Note: EMC Solutions Enabler 7.3.0 (which is included in the VSI SV 5.2 install package) is required, and must be installed, for the Storage Viewer feature to enable the browsing capability of Symmetrix, CLARiiON, and VNX block device attributes. It is not required however for the Celerra, VNX file, VNXe or VPLEX systems.


Minimum Requirements*

Symmetrix – All front-end ports that are used by vSphere must have the SPC-2 flag enabled. You will need to which level of EMC Enginuity supports the SPC-2 flag take a look at the EMC KB article (emc134969) which can be found at powerlink.emc.com.

VNX File – Operating Environment software version 7.0

VNX Block – Operating Environment software version 05.31 (Navisphere Secure CLI version 7.30 installed on the vSphere Client host)

VNXe – Operating Environment software version 2.0.3

– NFS license is enabled (to view file based storage)

– iSCSI license is enabled (to view block storage)

– Unisphere CLI v1.5 or later installed on the vSphere Client host

VPLEX – EMC GeoSynchrony v4.0 or later (Local, Metro and Geo configurations are supported)

Celerra – Network Server software version or later

CLARiiON – FLARE release 19 or later

EMC VSI Storage Viewer Pre Reqs_thumb[3]

VMware vSphere EMC VSI Storage Viewer


Above: An example of the statistics you will receive via the EMC VSI Storage Viewer module within the vSphere Client – storage performance statistics pulled in from both the ESXi host and the physical storage device – great for troubleshooting performance issues!


Unified Storage Management
(latest version: 5.2 A09)


Using the Unified Storage Management VSI plug-in module you can perform the following highly useful and commonly used tasks, all from the vSphere Client:

– Provision new NFS, VMFS and RDM storage

– Extend existing NFS and VMFS storage

– Compress virtual machines in NFS datastores (now including VNXe)

– Clone virtual machines in NFS datastores (now including VNXe)

– Fast Clones support – Limited to the same file system

– Full Clones support – Limited to file systems on the same Data Mover

– Integrate with VMware View

– Integrate with Citrix XenDesktop

– View properties of datastores and virtual machines


Minimum Requirements*

VNX File – Operating Environment software version 7.0

VNX Block – Operating Environment software version 05.31 (Navisphere Secure CLI version 7.30 installed on the vSphere Client host)

VNXe – Operating Environment software version 2.0.3 (version 2.2 is required for Advanced Storage Access (ASA) – (Unisphere CLI version 1.5 on the vSphere Client host)

Celerra – Network Server software version or later

CLARiiON – FLARE software 04.29 (Navisphere Secure CLI version 7.30 installed on the vSphere Client host)EMC VSI plug-in VMware vSphere[6]

Storage Pool Management (SPM)
(latest version: 5.0 A01)


The EMC VSI Storage Pool Management (SPM) module simplifies the task of provisioning VMAX/VMAXe based storage in VMware vSphere environments. A storage administrator can define pooled storage on the VMAX/VMAXe and then create a ‘Virtualization Domain’ that can then be handed over to a VMware administrator to create LUNS from within the vSphere Client (using the VSI plug-in), though within the storage administrator’s clearly defined boundaries. This empowers the VMware administrator though controls the extent to which they can provision new storage.

*Note: The VSI SPM plug-in works in conjunction with the Symmetrix Management Console (SMC).

Minimum Requirements*



Symmetrix SRA Utilities
(latest version: 5.2 A03)


The Symmetrix SRA VSI plug-in module interacts with the VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) configuration in Symmetrix  Remote Data Facility (RDF) environments to provide SRM diagnostic tools to assist administrators to more easily identify any configuration errors.  This VSI module also allows administrators to:

  • Created Automated Consistency Groups – this enables failback and also assists with failover configuration and preparation. You can also create and configure Symmetrix device Consistency Groups.
  • Test Failover Configuration – assists in the definition of device pairs used by the EMC SRDL Adapter when testing recovery plans with TimeFinder technology.
  • Gold Copy Configuration – this assists administrator define device pairs for use by the EMC SRDF Adapter when creating gold copies for failover to a recovery site.
  • Global Options Editing – provides the ability for the administrator to edit the SRDF SR Global Options from within the VSI interface.


Path Management
(latest version: 5.0 A01)


The EMC VSI Path Management module provides an administrator with the ability to view and change the multipath policies and properties associated with the EMC PowerPath /VE and/or VMware Native Multipathing Plug-in (NMP). An administrator from within the vSphere Client and using this VSI plug-in  can:

  • Change the Multipath Policy
  • Change the Multipath Policy on a multitude of devices – based on both storage class and virtualization object.  For example an administrator can manage all Symmetrix devices for a particular ESXi host, or all VNX devices for a given virtual machine, this applies to both NMP and PowerPath /VE owned devices.  This feature greatly assists in helping maintain consistency of multipath policies across a large virtual datacenter which uses a significant number and/or wide variety of storage devices

Minimum Requirements*


EMC VSI Path Management Minimum Requriements


So give the EMC VSI plug-in a try, it’s simple to install and use for both a vSphere production or lab environment. Smile


*At the time of writing this blog post.


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