INFINIDAT Management Integration Powered by OpenStack Cinder

The INFINIDAT team is headed to the OpenStack Summit in Barcelona this week and we turn our focus once again on how to best address the storage needs of your OpenStack environment. Back in 2013, INFINIDAT released a Cinder volume driver for InfiniBox that provides all the features OpenStack administrators need to use INFINIDAT’s InfiniBox as their block storage platform, including volume provisioning and deprovisioning, snapshot management, migration and more1  OpenStack can serve as a kind of lingua franca within the datacenter; the INFINIDAT Cinder driver gives datacenter managers the ability to integrate InfiniBox with various management, reporting and orchestration platforms. This post covers one such OpenStack-based integration with the Dell EMC ViPR Controller, as well as its open source flavour, CoprHD (aka ‘The Controller’). Dell EMC fully supports ViPR-C usage with OpenStack Cinder, which can be used to manage a block storage environment like InfiniBox3, via either Fibre Channel or iSCSI.

The controller is a software-defined platform which aims to orchestrate, abstract and automate the tasks performed by a storage admin, thereby enabling the organization to adopt a ‘Storage-as-a-Service’ approach.

The aim is to provide the end user, who need not be a storage expert, with a service catalog. The catalog does not require the user to have any understanding about the way storage systems work or how their network topology is configured. The Controller completes all the necessary tasks behind the scenes — creating zones on the SAN switch, creating volumes on the storage array and mapping them to the user’s hosts, etc. The controller essentially provides storage abstraction.

service-catalogA typical service catalog provided by CoprHD. Note the InfiniBox-based storage service tile.

In order to have the controller manage an environment which contains an InfiniBox array, one has to configure an OpenStack controller host with the INFINIDAT Cinder driver, as shown in the following diagram:

openstack-controller-host
The controller does not reside in the data path. Data does not flow through it and removing it should not affect existing allocations, but might limit the ability to provision additional capacity to hosts. In other words, only servers and storage arrays are connected to the SAN data path. The IP network is used by the controller for management tasks only.

In the diagram, the arrows represent the control path. Let’s say, for instance, a user wants to create a block volume and assign and mount it on a server.

After the user issues the order, the controller will interact with all the components — it will create, if necessary, a zone between the server and InfiniBox, create a volume and a host entry on InfiniBox, create the mapping between the two, rescan the host, create a filesystem on the assigned volume, and mount it.

In order to do this, a few operations must be performed on the InfiniBox array — volume and host creation then mapping between the two. To do that, the controller communicates with the Cinder host and sends it the API calls used to create storage and host entities. As the Cinder host already has an INFINIDAT driver installed, and a volume backend which points to the InfiniBox, these API calls result in new entities being created on the InfiniBox, and capacity is allocated and mapped to the server.

Watch a demonstration of the InfiniBox integration with ViPR controller.
 

InfiniBox users who use the controller as an orchestration platform have the following services available:

  • Provision block storage
  • Export (map) block storage to hosts (including creating and mounting filesystems)
  • Create block volume snapshot (referred as “full copy” in the service catalog)
  • Remove (unmap) block storage from hosts
  • Delete block storage

At INFINIDAT, we’ve put a lot of effort into providing our customers with the best UI possible, easing all complex storage management and provisioning needs. These capabilities are now extended with support for more datacenter environments, leveraging the power of OpenStack Cinder. We are excited to work with platforms like OpenStack to enable unprecedented deployment flexibility for our clients. To learn more about our unique OpenStack-powered capabilities, be sure to talk to us at OpenStack Summit Barcelona this week or download our OpenStack Solutions white paper!

About Itai Weisman
Itai Weisman leads INFINIDAT professional services for EMEA and APJ. He has more than seventeen years of experience in the IT and storage industry. Previously, Itai worked in the delivery division at EMC and in a major telco company in Israel. In his current role, Itai provides INFINIDAT customers with comprehensive solutions, designs, consulting and integration with their ecosystems.

[1] More details on INFINIDAT’s OpenStack Cinder volume driver are available at https://www.infinidat.jp/blog/openstack-and-infinidat/

[2] ViPR Controller is an Dell EMC Corporation trademark

[3] See ViPR-C support matrix at https://community.emc.com/docs/DOC-38014

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