Why Installing The Tintri VAAI Plugin Is Important

This is going to be really quick on the topic of the Tintri VAAI Plugin.  I’ve been finding that both new and existing customers have not been installing it for various reasons.  The most common seems to simply be that they were not aware there was one, or they just didn’t get around to it, or they didn’t know what value it was.  I want to address the last one, as there is a ton of value installing the Tintri VAAI Plugin gets you.  Then I’ll just explain what I think is the easiest way to install it onto your vSphere ESX hosts.

What Does The Tintri VAAI Plugin Get Me?

The challenge here is that people using iSCSI don’t need to install a plugin, as it is native in the vSphere ESX operating system.  Since Tintri uses NFS protocol to connect to the VMStore, that does require the addition of the Tintri VAAI Plugin to get the added features and functionality.  First off these are the primitives that the plugin supports:

  • Full File Clone for creating space efficient and high performance VM clones
  • Reserve space for creating thick disks with space reservation
  • Extended statistics for reporting space utilization statistics for VMs
  • Support for “Fast File Clone” used in linked clones, as in Horizon View and vCloud Director

Secondly the real benefits of the plug are as follows:

  • Hypervisor initiated clone operations are extremely fast since they use Tintri clone feature. Completes in seconds vs minutes
  • Thick provisioning of VM is supported with the plugin
  • On hybrids, VM scale-out migration utilizing array offload maintains the space-saving on destination VMstore.  Without the offload feature, space usage will be higher when the VM is migrated
  • During storage vMotion only the written blocks are copied to destination vs the entire live VM file, significantly reducing the time taken for vMotion
  • In TGC 3.7.x/ TxOS 4.4.x, VM scale out migrations utilize array offload if plugin is installed. Storage vMotion is extremely fast (of the order of 20x when tested internally)
The last point is something I wrote about a little while back and is a HUGE advantage Tintri has over other vendors.  Without the Tintri VAAI plugin you will not get that offload performance.

Okay, So What’s The Easiest Way To Install It?

We all know updates can be a pain sometimes.  That being said, my suggestion is to use vSphere Update Manager to deploy the plugin.  Like other plugins it will require a reboot, but if your cluster is architected properly, you should be able to take a host out in maintenance mode and have no issues.  Really the process is simple

  1. Download the Tintri VAAI Plugin from the Tintri Support Portal
  2. Import the plugin to the patch repository
  3. Create a customer extension baseline to include the plugin
  4. Attach the new baseline to the cluster
  5. Scan and remediate one host at a time

If you  have not installed the Tintri VAAI Plugin, get it added as part of your next patch cycle, you will be simply amazed at the benefits it provides.  If you thought your Tintri ran awesome before wait until you get this installed.   There really is no reason you don’t want to install the Tintri VAAI Plugin on your hosts.

About Chris Colotti

Chris is active on the VMUG and event speaking circuit and is available for many events if you want to reach out and ask. Previously to this he spent close to a decade working for VMware as a Principal Architect. Previous to his nine plus years at VMware, Chris was a System Administrator that evolved his career into a data center architect. Chris spends a lot of time mentoring co-workers and friends on the benefits of personal growth and professional development. Chris is also amongst the first VMware Certified Design Experts (VCDX#37), and author of multiple white papers. In his spare time he helps his wife Julie run her promotional products as the accountant, book keeper, and IT Support. Chris also believes in both a healthy body and healthy mind, and has become heavily involved with fitness as a Diamond Team Beachbody Coach using P90X and other Beachbody Programs. Although Technology is his day job, Chris is passionate about fitness after losing 60 pounds himself in the last few years.

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