VSI (virtual storage integrator) is a Security feature

Recently I was doing a breakdown of the FREE VSI plugin for VMware. It is available from EMC for EMC storage. It is a plugin that provides a single management interface to manage EMC storage within the vSphere environment. There are a lot of components of it and a lot of great capabilities. As I was digging further and further and explaining this technology to customers more and more, I realized that the technology is actually a SECURITY technology. I know, it may be hard to understand but it is true!!! Hear me out….

First let me break down the individual components of the VSI plugin (and may I do a shameless plug for my fellow vSpecialist Tommy Trogden (better known as vTexan) for VSI’ing the VSI plug-in. You have to check out his website… it has a plethora of information…

The VSI plugin has 5 components of it. You don’t need all of them, you can pick and choose. Together and separately they can help you out drastically. I have listed them below and added a synopsis of the capability…

VSI Storage Viewer : Discovers and identifies EMC Symmetrix, CLARiiON, Celerra, VPLEX, VNX, and VNXe storage that has been allocated to VMware hosts and vm’s. The storage viewer presents the storage details to the virtual administrator.
VSI Unified Storage Management : Provisions Network File System (NFS) datastores on NAS storage and Virtual Machine File System (VMFS) datastores and Raw Device Mapping (RDM) volumes on block storage. It performs array-based compression and array-based cloning of vm’s in NFS datastores. Both full clones/copies and fast clones/snaps of vm virtual machine disk (VMDK) files. This plugin allows you to manage NAS and block storage in VMware environments.
VSI Storage Pool Management : Simplifies the provisioning of Symmetrix storage in VMware environments. VSI and Symmetrix Management Console (SMC) together can manage storage as a shared resource pool.
VSI Symmetrix SRA Utilities : Helps users to manage vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) configurations in Symmetrix Remote Data Facility (SRDF) environments. It will allow you to view and create consistency groups and provides SRM diagnostic tools that help users to identify configuration errors.
VSI Path Management : Allows you to change the multipath policy for Symmetrix systems and allows the VSI user to manage multiple paths from within the vSphere client. This plugin supports VMware Native Multipathing plugin (NMP) and PowerPath/VE.

Now how could I possibly pull this all together into security. As I have stated in previous posts… security is about visibility, policies, and trust (remember the triangle of trust). Yes, I know that security is more than that, if we keep with my definition for today, the items line up. The plugin certainly allows you to create policies and you trust the information regarding the storage environment that your virtual environment is running on. But when it comes down to it… the number one aspect that really drives the theory home is VISIBILITY. It should be the VISIBILITY storage integrator. Knowing the information regarding your underlying storage provides the ability to understand your virtual environment like never before. Developing your virtual environment with blinders on is an incredibly risky situation. It could impact your entire environment. Loss of availability to vm’s or hosts is not security. The VSI plugin helps you to make the right decision. It helps you reduce risk. It makes sure the policies are working correctly. It is security.

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