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My case study in the clouds…


EMC VNX for File Simulator – installation and configuration.


Often we do not have access to the specific vendor hardware. Storage are very expensive toys and do not appear, just like that, in home labs. Fortunately, companies such as EMC provide simulators. VNX simulator, for example. Of course, this product is devoid of block parts (FC) but it is a fully functional file-part (including the full management interface). Completely free. What does that give to us? Ability to check in practice as it looks professional disk array and the possibility to test several solutions. Replication between arrays (this requires a two simulators) for example. And of course, satisfy curiosity as always.



In this post I will show you how to install and configure the EMC VNX for File (in the next post will be about installing EMC Isilon and ViPR). The simulator is available for free (with a licenses to support NFS, CIFS, Snapshot, File Replicator and Retention) on EMC pages, or can be downloaded directly from me. Import machine to vSphere (or VMware Workstation / Player) is a standard process:


VNX version is 8.1 which is for the moment the newest:


We can also download version 7.1.6 (the version that is installed in VNX5300 arrays) with one controller (less demanding). The machine has two interfaces and needs two IP addresses, if you have your own DNS server, preferably immediately create appropriate records A / PTR (to facilitate us swapping SSL certificates). Obviously this is not a step required for proper operation. These two addresses is for management, you will also need at least one IP address for running services.


When you start the machine, log in to it as root/nasadmin via console:


And configure the network by typing “netconfig -d eth0” (and eth1):


When configuring interfaces is end, issue the command ifup eth0 (and eth1). In the file /etc/sysconfig/network We can disable ipv6:


At this stage we can log off (wait a few minutes) and go to the management interface. Connect via web browser to the address of the first interface (in my case: http://vnx1a.piszki.pl), if everything is ok, we see this:


We run Unisphere and review the configuration (username and password is root / nasadmin). Unisphere needs Java and security settings to medium (Control Panel -> Java). To use our simulator, we have to activate all (or selected) licenses, we do it in the “Settings -> Manage Licenses”:


The simulator in this form is ready and you can play with it. If we want to use it for more serious tests (remember, performance will not be the biggest) we need to make three more steps. In the first step we stop array and add its 2GB of RAM (in order to have a minimum of 6GB RAM), without this, secondary controller (data_mover3) will be inoperate (message “slot_empty”). In the second step, we move one of two controllers (data_movers) for the second, configured by us earlier, network interface (/opt/blackbird/tools) via command configure_nic:


And the last step, restart storage by “reboot” command. After the restart we can verify the new configuration:



The storage is configured with two pools tagged as economy (about 20GB) and performance (about 90GB) which should be sufficient for testing completely. I personally installed the two VNX simulators, do I need to test EMC VIPR which I will write in another post. Holders of its own CA who want to replace the SSL certificates which shows the Control Station (Unisphere) may look here. Prepare the appropriate DataStore can be done in two ways. The first method, traditional, boring and passe: we’re create on the array side and connect it to the ESXi traditionally. As it is the first of my posts about EMC products, I describe here the other way. In this way, in a software defined storage world, we use EMC VSI for vSphere. It is a plugin for vCenter Web Client installed as a virtual appliance and providing integrated support for EMC product (available for free). Installation is very simple (deploy ova), after installing, configuring and starting the appliance, log in to the administrative interface and integrate VSI with our vCenter (https: //IP_appliance:8443/vsi_usm/admin   Username: admin / ChangeMe):


In the next step, go to the vSphere Web Client and in the “vCenter-> EMC VSI-> Solutions Integration Services” connect your VSI:


As you can see, in return will use the same login used in connecting vCenter to VSI, you need Administrator privileges to the vCenter for this login. The effect of integration:


Now in the Storage Systems add your virtual VNX array:


The integration proceeds without problem:


And finally we can create our new datastore for the virtual VNX arrays from the menu available by clicking on the level of a cluster or a single server:


Parameters of the sample datastore:


This method of creating datastores is much more efficient and faster than the traditional model. VNX for File work very well, I highly recommend testing them. Installation instructions  can also be downloaded from here, it is also written on how to extend disk space. If there are any questions I will be glad to answer them.

EDIT 2015.03.16 @Sly:

Boring and old-fashioned method looks like this:

1. Create a new network interface, address given above are intended only to manage VNX. This interface is mandatory to serve CIFS/NFS:


2. Create a new filesystem:


3. Create NFS export:


4. Mount new datastore:


5.  Enjoy :-)


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Author: Piotr Pisz

Computer always, since I got a Commodore 64 at the end of primary school, through his beloved Amiga and Linux infinite number of consoles, until today, fully virtual day. Since 2001, Unix/Linux Systems Administrator, for seven years a faithful companion and protector of Solaris system, until his sad end. In the year 2011 came in the depths of virtualization, then smoothly ascended into the clouds and continues there today. Professionally working as Systems Architect in the Polish Security Printing Works.


  1. Hey Piotr,

    Thank you very much for your contribution! It’s great to have someone who masters the whole thing to share that knowledge!

    Ok, my question, I need to test ESX snapshots from a famous Backup product. For this, I though of using the VNX simulator, as it can interact with vCenter/ESX as a real life SAN environment. I saw on your blog that the cool way was to use the plugin for VMWare Web Client with vCenter. But in my case, I am doing the tests through ESX only (for now). Would you mind explaining the “old” way?

    What should I do in order to set a new DataStore on the VNX simulator for my ESXi 5.0 server?

    Thanks in advance!!

    • Hello Sly,

      I updated the article with a description of the manual method, only four simple steps. But remember, this is not the environment type Block/SAN. Cellera (aka VNX for File) is only a simple NAS, but I think for your test will be ok. All backup solution providers operate on the same VM snapshot method.


  2. Hi Piotr!

    I just followed all your steps and finally managed to configure a new DataStore on the VNX! How cool is that! :))

    Thanks again for everything!!!


    • Hi Sly,
      If you want, you can install on your ESXi vSphere APIs for Array Integration Plugin 2.0 – this VIB add support for VAAI on VNX for File. Yoy can download it from EMC (any VNX download section). Ofcourse, it is not necessary, its only add-on :)

      • Hi Piotr,

        I finally found the download link in the EMC support page. It took me a little while as the words plug-in could not be used in my search! ;-) I see it was just released by EMC a few days ago! March 16, 2015! Will give it a try.


        Apart from this, I used the same firts steps that you provided in your blog to create a CIFS share:
        – Create a new network interface on VNX
        – Create filesystem
        – Then create a Server and a Share
        – Map network drive from Windows servers.
        It works great.

        It is cool to have to opportunity to do all these things myself, as I had to rely on the corresponding teams (SAN team, VMWare team, etc) for each one of these in real world!

        Even though VNX is already a dinosaur, with it’s 4-5 years technology, it is still cool to have to opportunity to use it in a simulator.

        Question: Do you know if there could be a way to test NDMP with this VNX simulator? I have a NetApp simulator that does provide NDMP, but it does not have the license to snapshot. VNX has snapshot, but I cannot see how to use NDMP…. I am left out with no possibility to test NAS snapshots from within Commvault!

        Best regards!

  3. Ok, interesting.

    How do you suggest to install the VIB on the ESXi?

    I tried the following, without results:
    0. Firts I renamed the downloaded EMCNasPlugin-1.0-11.zip package to EMC_VIB.zip
    1. I enabled ESXi Shell and SSH on the ESXi 5.0
    2. I used WinSCP to copy the downloaded ZIP from EMC to /tmp on the ESXi
    3. I connected to ESXi with Putty and tried: esxcli software vib -d /tmp/EMC_VIB.zip

    Do you see where I am doing wrong? I also tried with unzipped package, but then I did not know to treat the vib as it was in another folder than the index.xml…..

    Anyway, if you have a light for this….. ;-)

    Thanks in advance!!

    • Hi Sly,
      Copy VIB to /var/log/vmware, install and reboot ESXi :-)

      /var/log/vmware # esxcli software vib install -d EMCNasPlugin-2.0-5.zip
      Installation Result
      Message: The update completed successfully.
      Reboot Required: true
      VIBs Installed: EMC_bootbank_EMCNasPlugin_2.0-5
      VIBs Removed:
      VIBs Skipped:
      /var/log/vmware #


  4. can you help me about vnx simulator?

    • What is your problem?

      • I can’t export nfs to my client.It prompt “mount clntudp_create: RPC: Program not registerd”.My email is dooza@21cn.com.Can you contact to me?Very appricated.

        • You can use showmount to diagnose and don’t use Control Station IP to mount NFS share:

          ptcloud@ekierportal2:~$ showmount -e
          clnt_create: RPC: Program not registered
          ptcloud@ekierportal2:~$ showmount -e
          Export list for

          IP is VNX (Control Station), IP 28.64 is IP for NFS export (as described above).

          • I got it.You are right!
            But the following problem is the nfs right is not the same as said in help file.Only put host in root access,then root user can write,but ordinary users can read only.In the second hand,how can i control different permissions of different users on the same client host,such as user1 can write,but user2 can read only?

          • It’s a long subject, VNX supports NFS v3 and v4, you can use any privileges. I need to send you to the documentation :-)


  5. Hi,
    I am about to make my testbed lab at work. I have 3 servers and I was going to put freenas on one server and make it as a storage, it is 16 T in size and other physical serves exsi vmware 5.5. I was thinking to use MC VNX Simulator (VSA) instead freenas on physical server and share disk (16 T) as storage with other physical servers “VMware” . Can I use MC VNX Simulator (VSA) for 16T in size? is it any disk limitation to share it as storage using MC VNX Simulator (VSA) ?
    Looking for your reply and thanks in advance

    • Hi Michael,
      The simple answer is, You absolutely can not use for this VNX Simulator :-)
      But if you have three servers, you have many other options. First, you can test the EMC vVNX. It’s completely free, virtual array (installed as an appliance on ESX). The license be limited to 4T but it gives you the full functionality of the Block (FC) and File (iSCSI + NAS), is also compatible with vSphere 6 (vVOLS). And secod, You can use EMC ScaleIO! Three servers is minimal configuraton, ScaleIO function only as a Block for ESXi (Community edition has no restrictions). I am a huge fan for ScaleIO (and use it in my three servers mini lab at work)! Or You can use FreeNas (or NexentaStor (ZFS)) and use PernixData FVP (Free edition) to speed iSCSI :-)

  6. Hello Piotr,

    Thanks for facilitating the VNX Simulator, but not sure due to some reason post clicking on the link the simulator file the download is not progressing. I am on a 4MB link. Could you advise how this file can be downloaded.


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