EMC VMAX iSCSI and FC drivers

EMC VMAX iSCSI and FC drivers

The EMC VMAX drivers, EMCVMAXISCSIDriver and EMCVMAXFCDriver, support the use of EMC VMAX storage arrays with Block Storage. They both provide equivalent functions and differ only in support for their respective host attachment methods.

The drivers perform volume operations by communicating with the back-end VMAX storage. It uses a CIM client in Python called PyWBEM to perform CIM operations over HTTP.

The EMC CIM Object Manager (ECOM) is packaged with the EMC SMI-S provider. It is a CIM server that enables CIM clients to perform CIM operations over HTTP by using SMI-S in the back end for VMAX storage operations.

The EMC SMI-S Provider supports the SNIA Storage Management Initiative (SMI), an ANSI standard for storage management. It supports the VMAX storage system.

System requirements

The Cinder driver supports both VMAX-2 and VMAX-3 series.

For VMAX-2 series, minimum SMI-S version V4.6.2.29 is required.

For VMAX-3 series, Solutions Enabler 8.1.2 is required. However, this version is compatible with VMAX-2 series also.

Note: For Mitaka, Solutions Enabler 8.2 and greater have not yet been qualified for VMAX-2 or VMAX-3 series.

You can download SMI-S from the EMC’s support web site (login is required). See the EMC SMI-S Provider release notes for installation instructions.

Ensure that there is only one SMI-S (ECOM) server active on the same VMAX array.

Supported operations

VMAX drivers support these operations:

  • Create, delete, attach, and detach volumes.
  • Create, list, and delete volume snapshots.
  • Copy an image to a volume.
  • Copy a volume to an image.
  • Clone a volume.
  • Extend a volume.
  • Retype a volume.
  • Create a volume from a snapshot.
  • Create and delete consistency groups.
  • Create and delete consistency group snapshots.
  • Modify consistency groups (add/remove volumes).

VMAX drivers also support the following features: - Dynamic masking view creation. - Dynamic determination of the target iSCSI IP address.

VMAX2 - FAST automated storage tiering policy. - Striped volume creation.

VMAX3 - Service Level Objective (SLO) support. - Dynamic masking view creation. - SnapVX support. - Extend volume and iSCSI support.

Set up the VMAX drivers

  1. Install the python-pywbem package for your distribution.

    • On Ubuntu:

      # apt-get install python-pywbem
    • On openSUSE:

      # zypper install python-pywbem
    • On Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, and Fedora:

      # yum install pywbem
  2. Install iSCSI Utilities (for iSCSI drivers only).

    1. Download and configure the Cinder node as an iSCSI initiator.

    2. Install the open-iscsi package.

      • On Ubuntu:

        # apt-get install open-iscsi
      • On openSUSE:

        # zypper install open-iscsi
      • On Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, and Fedora:

        # yum install scsi-target-utils.x86_64
    3. Enable the iSCSI driver to start automatically.

  3. Download SMI-S from support.emc.com and install it. Add your VMAX arrays to SMI-S.

    You can install SMI-S on a non-OpenStack host. Supported platforms include different flavors of Windows, Red Hat, and SUSE Linux. SMI-S can be installed on a physical server or a VM hosted by an ESX server. Note that the supported hypervisor for a VM running SMI-S is ESX only. See the EMC SMI-S Provider release notes for more information on supported platforms and installation instructions.


    You must discover storage arrays on the SMI-S server before you can use the VMAX drivers. Follow instructions in the SMI-S release notes.

    SMI-S is usually installed at /opt/emc/ECIM/ECOM/bin on Linux and C:\Program Files\EMC\ECIM\ECOM\bin on Windows. After you install and configure SMI-S, go to that directory and type TestSmiProvider.exe for windows and ./TestSmiProvider for linux

    Use addsys in TestSmiProvider to add an array. Use dv and examine the output after the array is added. Make sure that the arrays are recognized by the SMI-S server before using the EMC VMAX drivers.

  4. Configure Block Storage

    Add the following entries to /etc/cinder/cinder.conf:

    enabled_backends = CONF_GROUP_ISCSI, CONF_GROUP_FC
    volume_driver = cinder.volume.drivers.emc.emc_vmax_iscsi.EMCVMAXISCSIDriver
    cinder_emc_config_file = /etc/cinder/cinder_emc_config_CONF_GROUP_ISCSI.xml
    volume_backend_name = ISCSI_backend
    volume_driver = cinder.volume.drivers.emc.emc_vmax_fc.EMCVMAXFCDriver
    cinder_emc_config_file = /etc/cinder/cinder_emc_config_CONF_GROUP_FC.xml
    volume_backend_name = FC_backend

    In this example, two back-end configuration groups are enabled: CONF_GROUP_ISCSI and CONF_GROUP_FC. Each configuration group has a section describing unique parameters for connections, drivers, the volume_backend_name, and the name of the EMC-specific configuration file containing additional settings. Note that the file name is in the format /etc/cinder/cinder_emc_config_[confGroup].xml.

    Once the cinder.conf and EMC-specific configuration files have been created, cinder commands need to be issued in order to create and associate OpenStack volume types with the declared volume_backend_names:

    $ cinder type-create VMAX_ISCSI
    $ cinder type-key VMAX_ISCSI set volume_backend_name=ISCSI_backend
    $ cinder type-create VMAX_FC
    $ cinder type-key VMAX_FC set volume_backend_name=FC_backend

    By issuing these commands, the Block Storage volume type VMAX_ISCSI is associated with the ISCSI_backend, and the type VMAX_FC is associated with the FC_backend.

    Create the /etc/cinder/cinder_emc_config_CONF_GROUP_ISCSI.xml file. You do not need to restart the service for this change.

    Add the following lines to the XML file:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>


IP address of the ECOM server which is packaged with SMI-S.
Port number of the ECOM server which is packaged with SMI-S.
EcomUserName and EcomPassword
Cedentials for the ECOM server.
Supplies the names of VMAX port groups that have been pre-configured to expose volumes managed by this backend. Each supplied port group should have sufficient number and distribution of ports (across directors and switches) as to ensure adequate bandwidth and failure protection for the volume connections. PortGroups can contain one or more port groups of either iSCSI or FC ports. When a dynamic masking view is created by the VMAX driver, the port group is chosen randomly from the PortGroup list, to evenly distribute load across the set of groups provided. Make sure that the PortGroups set contains either all FC or all iSCSI port groups (for a given back end), as appropriate for the configured driver (iSCSI or FC).
Unique VMAX array serial number.
Unique pool name within a given array. For back ends not using FAST automated tiering, the pool is a single pool that has been created by the administrator. For back ends exposing FAST policy automated tiering, the pool is the bind pool to be used with the FAST policy.
VMAX2 FastPolicy
Name of the FAST Policy to be used. By including this tag, volumes managed by this back end are treated as under FAST control. Omitting the FastPolicy tag means FAST is not enabled on the provided storage pool.
The Service Level Objective (SLO) that manages the underlying storage to provide expected performance. Omitting the SLO tag means Optimized SLO will be used instead.
VMAX3 Workload
When a workload type is added, the latency range is reduced due to the added information. Omitting the Workload tag means the latency range will be the widest for its SLO type.

FC Zoning with VMAX

Zone Manager is recommended when using the VMAX FC driver, especially for larger configurations where pre-zoning would be too complex and open-zoning would raise security concerns.


  • Make sure the iscsi-initiator-utils package is installed on the host.
  • Verify host is able to ping VMAX iSCSI target ports.

VMAX masking view and group naming info

Masking view names

Masking views are dynamically created by the VMAX FC and iSCSI drivers using the following naming conventions:

OS-[shortHostName]-[poolName]-I-MV (for Masking Views using iSCSI)
OS-[shortHostName]-[poolName]-F-MV (for Masking Views using FC)
OS-[shortHostName]-[fastPolicy]-I-MV (where FAST policy is used)
OS-[shortHostName]-[fastPolicy]-F-MV (where FAST policy is used)

Initiator group names

For each host that is attached to VMAX volumes using the drivers, an initiator group is created or re-used (per attachment type). All initiators of the appropriate type known for that host are included in the group. At each new attach volume operation, the VMAX driver retrieves the initiators (either WWNNs or IQNs) from OpenStack and adds or updates the contents of the Initiator Group as required. Names are of the following format:

OS-[shortHostName]-I-IG (for iSCSI initiators)
OS-[shortHostName]-F-IG (for Fibre Channel initiators)


Hosts attaching to OpenStack managed VMAX storage cannot also attach to storage on the same VMAX that are not managed by OpenStack.

FA port groups

VMAX array FA ports to be used in a new masking view are chosen from the list provided in the EMC configuration file.

Storage group names

As volumes are attached to a host, they are either added to an existing storage group (if it exists) or a new storage group is created and the volume is then added. Storage groups contain volumes created from a pool (either single-pool or FAST-controlled), attached to a single host, over a single connection type (iSCSI or FC). Names are formed:

OS-[shortHostName]-[poolName]-I-SG (attached over iSCSI)
OS-[shortHostName]-[poolName]-F-SG (attached over Fibre Channel
OS-[shortHostName]-[fastPolicy]-I-SG (where FAST policy is used)
OS-[shortHostName]-[fastPolicy]-F-SG (where FAST policy is used)

VMAX2 concatenated or striped volumes

In order to support later expansion of created volumes, the VMAX Block Storage drivers create concatenated volumes as the default layout. If later expansion is not required, users can opt to create striped volumes in order to optimize I/O performance.

Below is an example of how to create striped volumes. First, create a volume type. Then define the extra spec for the volume type storagetype:stripecount representing the number of meta members in the striped volume. The example below means that each volume created under the GoldStriped volume type will be striped and made up of 4 meta members.

$ cinder type-create GoldStriped
$ cinder type-key GoldStriped set volume_backend_name=GOLD_BACKEND
$ cinder type-key GoldStriped set storagetype:stripecount=4
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