UnityVSA (Virtual Storage Appliance) is a software defined storage platform that provides users greater agility and flexibility. UnityVSA is deployed on a VMware ESXi host.

UnityVSA is available in two editions – Professional Edition (PE) and Community Edition (CE). Professional Edition is a licensed product available at capacity levels of 10 TB, 25 TB, and 50 TB. Community Edition is a free downloadable 4 TB solution recommended for non-production use.



Key features:

  • Provides a software-defined version of EMC Unity storage
  • Sets up for NAS and SAN in minutes
  • Unifies block, file, and VMware VVols support
  • Enables VMware administrators to manage storage from VMware vCenter

System Requirements:

vCenter version

5.5 update 2


5.x, 6.x

Virtual Requirements:

RAM for each UnityVSA VM > 12 GB

vCPU for each UnityVSA VM > 2 vCPU

Maximum Usable Capacity > 4 TB (Community Edition); 10 TB; 25 TB; and 50 TB licenses available

VMware Integration:

  • VMware vStorage APIs for Storage Integration (VAAI) for File and Block: improves performance by leveraging more efficient, array-based operations.
  • vStorage APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA): provides storage awareness for VMware administrators.


  • UnityVSA provides flexible NAS or SAN connectivity options through Ethernet and supports a wide range of protocols including CIFS (SMB1, SMB2, and SMB3), NFSv3, and iSCSI.


Deploy UnityVSA directly to an ESXi host:

1. Download UnityVSA Community Edition https://www.emc.com/products-solutions/trial-software-download/unity-vsa.htm

2. Launch VMware vSphere Client to access your ESXi host.

3. In the vSphere Client, select File > Deploy OVF Template.

4. Specify the source location and click Next


5. View the OVF Template Details page and click Next.


6. (Optional) Edit the name and click Next.


7. Select a datastore to store the deployed OVF, and click Next.

For optimal performance, EMC recommends that you deploy the UnityVSA VM on a datastore on different physical disks than the datastore in which you will later create the virtual disks used to provide user data storage to UnityVSA.


8. Select the disk format to store the disks, and click Next.

EMC recommends using Thick Provision Eager Zero.


9. Select the networks the deployed VM should use, making sure that:

·         The management network is on a network accessible by the workstation used to access Unisphere.

·         The data networks are on networks accessible by the host that will attach to the UnityVSA.


10. Confirm the settings and then select Finish to deploy the OVF template.


Note: When you create the UnityVSA VM, three virtual disks (vmdks) are automatically created for the VM’s system data. (These are always the virtual disks identified as 1-3.) Do not modify or delete these disks.

You must add at least one virtual disk for user data. You can add more virtual disks, up to the system limit (16), when additional storage for user data is needed. Please allow up to sixty seconds for UnityVSA to recognize and display the newly attached vdisks.

11. Open VM Properties and Add 3 Hard Disks to be used as Storage Tiers ( Gold, Silver and Bronze), Then Press Ok and Power on the VM.

Note: The minimum virtual disk size is 10 GB. A disk appears as faulted if it is smaller than 10 GB and larger than the storage size allowed by the UnityVSA edition and version.


12. To determine when the UnityVSA VM is fully up and running, monitor the DNS Name field on the Summary tab. When the DNS Name field displays a system name, the UnityVSA VM is ready.

13. If you are not running the UnityVSA VM on a dynamic network using DHCP or SLAAC and you did not configure the management interface when you deployed the OVF template, you must open the vSphere Console and login using the service account name “service” and password, “service” and run the svc_initial_config command to assign an IP address.

For an IPv4 address, enter: svc_initial_config -4 “<ipv4_address> <ipv4_netmask> <ipv4_gateway>”

e.g. svc_initial_config -4 “”


Configure UnityVSA  (initial settings)

1. Launch Unisphere. To do so, enter the management IP address in your browser.

2. Log in with the default username “admin” and password, “Password123#”.


3. The Configuration Wizard runs when you log in to Unisphere for the first time.


4. Accept the license agreement, then click Next.


5. You must change the administrator password during this first login. You can also change the service password at this time, either making it the same as the administrator password or creating a separate service password.



6. Obtain your Unisphere license file online http://www.emc.com/auth/elmeval.htm  using the System UUID , then upload/install your license file.





7. Add DNS IP Address, then Click Next.


8. Add NTP IP Address, then Click Next.

If you do not configure NTP, UnityVSA gets its time from the ESXi host.


9.To create the Storage Tier, Click Create Pools,.

Unisphere scans for the virtual disks available to the UnityVSA VM that can be used in a pool. You add virtual disks to the UnityVSA VM using vSphere. When you create a pool, you must specify pool tiering information (Capacity, Performance, or Extreme Performance).


a. Add a name and description, Then Click Next.

b. Assign a Tier for the Storage Pool.


c. Select the Storage Tier, then click Next.


d. Select the available virtual disks and then click Next.clip_image042

e. Create a Capability Profile to be used by VMware.


f. Create a Tag for the storage pool, then click Next.


g. Review the Settings, then Click Finish.




10. On the Alert Settings Page add the SMTP Server IP address and recipient emails.


11. on the ISCSI interfaces Pages, Click Add.

When you add an iSCSI interface on the storage system, you associate it with one or both Storage Processors (SPs). So, at a given point, there will be multiple iSCSI interfaces on each SP. These become the available paths hosts, with relevant access privileges, can use to access the relevant storage resources.


12. On the NAS Servers, Click Next to complete the configuration.


13. Review The Results and then click Close.



System Management (Service Tasks)

The Service Tasks page provides tools for servicing your storage system, including repairing or troubleshooting the system and Storage Processors (SPs), collecting system and configuration information for assisting your service provider with a service request, and changing the Service password.

1. Under System, select Service > Service Tasks.



Change Unisphere Name/IP addresses

1.       To change the IP management address, select the Settings icon, and then select Management > Unisphere IPs.

2.       Change the Name and then Click Apply.


3.       On the Notification Window, Click Yes to restart and apply the new settings.



Manage System Time and NTP

1.       Select the Settings icon, and then select Management > System Time and NTP.

2.       To synchronize the storage system time with other nodes in the domain or network, select Enable NTP synchronization, select Add and specify the IP address of the NTP server.



Configure LDAP server credentials

1.       Select the Settings icon, and then select Users and Groups > Directory Services.

2.       Specify the LDAP server credentials. The following information is required:

·         LDAP Domain: Domain name of the LDAP authentication server

·         Distinguished name: (DN) of the Service Account used for LDAP Authentication.

·         LDAP server: Network name of the LDAP server

·         LDAP password: Password the system uses for authentication with the LDAP server



Manage users and groups

1.    Select the Settings icon, and then select Users and Groups > User Management.

2.    Select the Add icon.


3.    Select the type of user or group to add. e.g. LDAP Group.


4.  Specify account/Group information. e.g. “Domain Admins”


5. Specify the privileges that will be available to the user/group.


6.  Review the Selections and then click Finish.




When users log in to Unisphere with an LDAP account, they must specify their username in the following format: domain.example.com/Administrator.



Add a VMware vCenter server or ESXi host

1.       Under Access, select VMware > vCenters.

2.       Select Add.

3.       On the Add vCenter or ESXi Host window, enter the relevant details, and click Find.


4.       From the list of discovered entries, select the relevant ESXi hosts, and click Next.


5.       On the Summary page, review the ESXi hosts, and click Finish.


6.       Review the results and then click Close.


Create a LUN (block storage)

1. Under Storage, select Block > LUNS.

2. Select the Add icon.

3. Add a name, then Click Next.


4. Select the Pool, Tiering Policy and the size.

UnityVSA supports the Fully Automated Storage Tiering for Virtual Pool (FAST VP) feature for both block and file data. FAST VP optimizes storage utilization by automatically moving data between and within the storage tiers.


5. Click Add to define the access for the ESXi Host.


6. Skip the Snapshot by clicking Next.

clip_image0947.Skip the Replication by clicking Next.


8. Review the Summary, then click Finish.


9. Review the Result, Then Click Close.


10. Double click the new created LUN and Check the Access Details.


12. From The ESXi Side, add the Unity IPs to the ISCSI initiator under the Dynamic Discovery.


13. Run the iSCSI Rescan to connected to the new LUN.


14. Under the ESXi Storage Settings, Add and Format the New LUN.







·         Unity All-Flash & Hybrid Info Hub  https://community.emc.com/docs/DOC-51785

·         EMC Software License http://www.emc.com/auth/elmeval.htm

·         Installation Guide http://www.emc.com/collateral/TechnicalDocument/docu69318.pdf

·         Configuration Worksheet http://www.emc.com/collateral/TechnicalDocument/docu69357.pdf

·         EMC Unity With Native Virtual Volumes Support https://blogs.vmware.com/virtualblocks/2016/05/04/emc-launches-unity-with-native-virtual-volumes-support/