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Vendor pathing policies on vSphere Essentials Plus/Standard?

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Trusted Contributor

Vendor pathing policies on vSphere Essentials Plus/Standard?

This is a question I've been pondering for awhile and never got a clear answer.  I know VMware lists Storage APIs for Array Integration/MPIO as an Enterprise and Enterprise+ license feature, but its been my experience that a vendor supplied PSP plugins (Nimbles NCM, EqualLogic MEM, etc) seem to install fine on Hosts licensed for Essentials Plus and above.  I was surprised after discovering this, and even more so after finding that all available paths were active and working as expected.

I hadn't thought about it for awhile until I noticed in Nimble's 2.1.x guide it just lists ESXi 5.x Hosts with no license level requirement.

Anybody else ever notice this?  Is this one of those "it works, but isn't supported" type of deals?


Re: Vendor pathing policies on vSphere Essentials Plus/Standard?

Indeed, this is a topic of debate inside Nimble too at the time.

Speaking with VMware engineers the consensus is that Enterprise or Enterprise Plus licensing is required for this functionality, but vSphere doesn't enforce that restriction should it find a lower license key - this is up to 5.5 u1 where we are today.

Our vSphere installation MPIO vib actually installs two services - NCM (Connection Manager) and NCS (Connection Services); whilst it may appear to be working on the front end it's unknown whether the Connection Service daemon is running as expected; so in an example of an multi-array scaleout cluster having NCS not working as we expect could be detrimental. This is where Engineering (including Wen Yu and a few others) are trying to figure this out right now.

Whether this will change in vSphere 6 is unknown and is something we're trying to clarify! Stay tuned...

Trusted Contributor

Re: Vendor pathing policies on vSphere Essentials Plus/Standard?

Glad to hear I'm not the only one who noticed this 

Thank you for the response, I'll keep an eye out on what engineering figures out - especially when working with a scaleout cluster!

Kevin Rainbolt
Occasional Advisor

Re: Vendor pathing policies on vSphere Essentials Plus/Standard?

Do you have an update on this?

According to the webpage below, vSphere 6.0 Standard licensing includes Virtual Volumes, but does not include Storage APIs for Array Integration, Multipathing.

Compare VMware vSphere Editions and Kits Comparison | United States


Re: Vendor pathing policies on vSphere Essentials Plus/Standard?

Hello Kevin,

Nothing's changed it seems from my statement on 5.5 above. Note: VVOLs isn't solely reliant on the 3rd party MPIO enhancement that we can provide... but it sure helps!

Re: Vendor pathing policies on vSphere Essentials Plus/Standard?

I figured I'd post a quick update here. I want to point out that the MPIO / Third-Party Multi-pathing and vSphere Storage APIs for Array Integration features are indeed supported with vSphere 6.x Standard edition license.

While they may technically work, they are still not licensed/supported with lower editions (Essentials Plus, Essentials, and free Hypervisor).


VMware KB article: Product offerings for vSphere 6.x (2109507)
VMware PDF: Compare VMware vSphere Editions
Page from HPE Nimble Storage Deployment Considerations for VMware vSphere 6