DP9/Virtual Environment/3PAR - Supportability issues
There appears to be some confusion (not just at our end, but perhaps at HP too) about support for 3PAR, so here's my experience, in case it raises any comments.
We're a fairly new (Sept'14) DP site, with version A09 Patch Bundle 901, HP Media Agent Servers and HP 3PAR storage (Inform 3.1.3 OS). We have 3PAR File-controllers on Win2012 heading up our users' file-systems, and ESXi 5.1 U3 hosts (& vCenter Server also on 5.1 U3) running VMs also on 3PAR storage, We've had a few problems getting the hang of DP, but it's working OK now for physical Windows servers, the File-controllers, VMs (GRE and non-GRE methods), Exchange 2010 servers with local storage, Solaris servers, etc. To backup the VMs on 3PAR storage, we have VE Integration, GRE Agent and DA installed on vCenter server 5.1 U3 (but not VSS Integration). VSS Integration is only installed on Exchange 2010 servers, that don't use 3PAR storage.
However, after dealing with some recent issues recently, HP have said our environment is not supported - the DP9/3PAR Support Matrix 1.0 (June '14) showed 3PAR Inform OS 3.1.3 not supported for 3PAR and VSS Integration using any Windows platform. The latest V1.2 Jan'15 shows Windows 2012 now supported, so that might cover our File-controllers OK. Also, HP are pointing out firstly that the DP9/Virtualisation support matrix (V1.1 Dec'14) shows VEAgent supported only up to ESXi 5.1 U2 and up to vCenter Server 5.1.2 - we have ESXi 5.1 U3 and vCenter 5.1 U3; and secondly that GRE is supported only up to vCenter Server 5.1.2.
The relevant issues here seem to be :-
a) VSS support - the DP9/3PAR Support Matrix starts off by saying that "the VSS Integration Agent provides support for ... 3PAR". HP Support staff seem to assume that all 3PAR installations must therefore use VSS integrations, and despite the fact that we don't have VSS Integration module installed anywhere except on Exchange 2010 servers (that don't use 3PAR), they say the unsupported 3.1.3 OS renders this part of our DP installation unsupportable. Our DP installers (HP partners) say that as we are using DA's not VSS integration, HP are wrong; in our configuration, DP uses VMware snapshots (should be supported), not 3PAR snapshots.
b) HP references to VMware versions in Support Matrix documents. According to VMware, there's no such version as 5.1.2 for vCenter - it is 5.1 U2, so HP should make that clearer. vSphere thick client itself is a bit unhelpful, showing 5.1.0 and build number instead of 5.1 U2 - that confused HP support and they said "unsupported" until we clarified that point for them.
c) Inform OS support - 3.1.3 is rather old now (3.2 is now out, with later GA, MU1 and MU2, I believe), so HP seem to be lagging behind by not yet supporting this with DP VSS integration on pre-Windows 2012 servers.
Admittedly, it's a very complex combination of hardware & software versions, and must be difficult for HP to check out everything before confirming support. But it seems that Inform support is lagging behind, whereas VMware support is forging ahead too fast by not supporting late updates (U3) to old versions (ESXi5.1). Added to that, perhaps HP first-line support engineers need more clarification about what is and isn't supported and how to determine what the user environment actually comprises.
DP does seem a bit of a minefield. It's only the fact that DP is working for us now, despite HP's claims of unsupportability, that gives us any degree of confidence!
Any comments? Anybody getting the same "unsupported" treatment from HP?
I looked at the SUpport matrix you referenced, and have no argument with anything that you ahve stated. A minor point is that 3PAR is support for use with either VSS or SMIS-A (SMI-S Agent (Data Protector integration agent for HP StorageWorks EVA family arrays using SMIS Provider), but that is a minor point
DP support for new products or new versions of existing products sees to lag behind the actual product/version release. DP Marketing may bot see a need for someone in your position (my speculation, only). And, the documentation is not always the best
THere are two things I can suggest. The first is that you wait for a new release of DP< which normally includes a number of newly-supported products and versions
The other is to submit an Enhancement REquest with the developers, spelling out, in your own words, just what you are looking to implement or add. This can be done from the SSO site
Once you are signed in, go to 'Submit a new Service REquest', click the downarrow in the 'Service Request Type', and select 'Product Enhancement ReEquest'
Slight correction - our vCenter Server is 5.1 U2 (shows as 5.1.0 1473063 in vSphere client) - should be supported. It's our ESXi 5.1 U3 which is too new & rendering us unsupportable, according to HP now.
And now we find that VMware say vSphere 5.x has a bug that switches off CBT when you vMotion a guest (or conversely, that vMotion fails if you have CBT enabled) - resolved with ESXi 5.5 U2. So that's a risk to our VE guest GRE backups! We'd proceed to ESXi 5.5, except that it would break something else, according to my colleague. Is there no end to this labyrinth? [sigh].
Lately HP Support and especially Labs tend to deny assistance in any way possible.
Even if it is a slightly newer or older Release within the Combination of DP, OS, Application and Hardware.
Latest Bombshell for me was that they denied Support for something that is sitll listed in Support-Matrix.
Veritas Cluster for CellManager is suddenly not supported and the SupportMatrixes listing it for the past couple of years were just a misstake...
Seems they spent to much time copy-and-pasting old guides and didn't invest time in properly documenting what actually works orshould work.