Installing CSI Driver for PowerMax via Operator

CSI Driver for Dell EMC PowerMax can be installed via the Dell CSI Operator.

To deploy the Operator, follow the instructions available here.

There are sample manifests provided which can be edited to do an easy installation of the driver. Please note that the deployment of the driver using the operator does not use any Helm charts and the installation and configuration parameters will be slightly different from the ones specified via the Helm installer.

Kubernetes Operators make it easy to deploy and manage the entire lifecycle of complex Kubernetes applications. Operators use Custom Resource Definitions (CRD) which represents the application and use custom controllers to manage them.


Create secret for client-side TLS verification (Optional)

Create a secret named powermax-certs in the namespace where the CSI PowerMax driver will be installed. This is an optional step and is only required if you are setting the env variable X_CSI_POWERMAX_SKIP_CERTIFICATE_VALIDATION to false. See the detailed documentation on how to create this secret here.

Install Driver

  1. Create namespace: Run kubectl create namespace <driver-namespace> using the desired name to create the namespace.
  2. Create PowerMax credentials: Create a file called powermax-creds.yaml with the following content:
       apiVersion: v1
         kind: Secret
         name: powermax-creds
           # Replace driver-namespace with the namespace where driver is being deployed
           namespace: <driver-namespace>
         type: Opaque
           # set username to the base64 encoded username
           username: <base64 username>
           # set password to the base64 encoded password
           password: <base64 password>
         # Uncomment the following key if you wish to use ISCSI CHAP authentication (v1.3.0 onwards)
         # chapsecret: <base64 CHAP secret>

    Replace the values for the username and password parameters. These values can be obtained using base64 encoding as described in the following example:

    echo -n "myusername" | base64
    echo -n "mypassword" | base64
    # If mychapsecret is the ISCSI CHAP secret
    echo -n "mychapsecret" | base64

    Run the kubectl create -f powermax-creds.yaml command to create the secret.

  3. Create a Custom Resource (CR) for PowerMax using the sample files provided here.
  4. Users should configure the parameters in CR. The following table lists the primary configurable parameters of the PowerMax driver and their default values:
    Parameter Description Required Default
    replicas Controls the number of controller Pods you deploy. If controller Pods are greater than the number of available nodes, excess Pods will become stuck in pending. The default is 2 which allows for Controller high availability. Yes 2
    Common parameters for node and controller
    X_CSI_K8S_CLUSTER_PREFIX Define a prefix that is appended to all resources created in the array; unique per K8s/CSI deployment; max length - 3 characters Yes XYZ
    X_CSI_POWERMAX_ENDPOINT IP address of the Unisphere for PowerMax Yes
    X_CSI_TRANSPORT_PROTOCOL Choose which transport protocol to use (ISCSI, FC, auto or None) Yes auto
    X_CSI_POWERMAX_PORTGROUPS List of comma-separated port groups (ISCSI only). Example: “PortGroup1,PortGroup2” No -
    X_CSI_MANAGED_ARRAYS List of comma-separated array ID(s) which will be managed by the driver Yes -
    X_CSI_POWERMAX_PROXY_SERVICE_NAME Name of CSI PowerMax ReverseProxy service. Leave blank if not using reverse proxy No -
    X_CSI_GRPC_MAX_THREADS Number of concurrent grpc requests allowed per client No 4
    X_CSI_POWERMAX_DRIVER_NAME Set custom CSI driver name. For more details on this feature see the related documentation No -
    Node parameters
    X_CSI_POWERMAX_ISCSI_ENABLE_CHAP Enable ISCSI CHAP authentication. For more details on this feature see the related documentation No false
  5. Execute the following command to create the PowerMax custom resource:kubectl create -f <input_sample_file.yaml>. The above command will deploy the CSI-PowerMax driver.

CSI PowerMax ReverseProxy

CSI PowerMax ReverseProxy is an optional component that can be installed with the CSI PowerMax driver. For more details on this feature see the related documentation.

When you install CSI PowerMax ReverseProxy, dell-csi-operator will create a Deployment and ClusterIP service as part of the installation

Note - To use the ReverseProxy with the CSI PowerMax driver, the ReverseProxy service should be created before you install the CSIPowerMax driver.


Create a TLS secret that holds an SSL certificate and a private key which is required by the reverse proxy server. Use a tool such as openssl to generate this secret using the example below:

    openssl genrsa -out tls.key 2048
    openssl req -new -x509 -sha256 -key tls.key -out tls.crt -days 3650
    kubectl create secret -n powermax tls revproxy-certs --cert=tls.crt --key=tls.key

Set the following parameters in the CSI PowerMaxReverseProxy Spec

  • tlsSecret : Provide the name of the TLS secret. If using the above example, it should be set to revproxy-certs
  • config : This section contains the details of the Reverse Proxy configuration
  • mode : This value is set to Linked by default. Do not change this value
  • linkConfig : This section contains the configuration of the Linked mode
  • primary : This section holds details for the primary Unisphere which the Reverse Proxy will connect to
  • backup : This optional section holds details for a backup Unisphere which the Reverse Proxy can connect to if the primary Unisphere is unreachable
  • url : URL of the Unisphere server
  • skipCertificateValidation: This setting determines if the client-side Unisphere certificate validation is required
  • certSecret: Secret name which holds the CA certificates which was used to sign Unisphere SSL certificates. Mandatory if skipCertificateValidation is set to false
  • standAloneConfig : This section contains the configuration of the StandAlone mode. Refer to the sample below for the detailed config

Note: Only one of the Linked or StandAlone configurations needs to be supplied. The appropriate mode needs to be set in the spec as well.

Here is a sample manifest with each field annotated. A copy of this manifest is provided in the samples folder

apiVersion: storage.dell.com/v1
kind: CSIPowerMaxRevProxy
  name: powermax-reverseproxy # <- Name of the CSIPowerMaxRevProxy object
  namespace: test-powermax # <- Set the namespace to where you will install the CSI PowerMax driver
  # Image for CSI PowerMax ReverseProxy
  image: dellemc/csipowermax-reverseproxy:v1.4.0 # <- CSI PowerMax Reverse Proxy image
  imagePullPolicy: Always
  # TLS secret which contains SSL certificate and private key for the Reverse Proxy server
  tlsSecret: csirevproxy-tls-secret
    mode: Linked
        url: #Unisphere URL
        skipCertificateValidation: true # This setting determines if client side Unisphere certificate validation is to be skipped
        certSecret: "" # Provide this value if skipCertificateValidation is set to false
      backup: # This is an optional field and lets you configure a backup unisphere which can be used by proxy server
        url: #Unisphere URL
        skipCertificateValidation: true
    standAloneConfig: # Set mode to "StandAlone" in order to use this config
          - storageArrayId: "000000000001"
             # Unisphere server managing the PowerMax array
            primaryURL: https://unisphere-1-addr:8443
             # proxyCredentialSecrets are used by the clients of the proxy to connect to it
             # If using proxy in the stand alone mode, then the driver must be provided the
             # same secret.
             # The format of the proxy credential secret are exactly the same as the unisphere credential secret
             # For using the proxy with the driver, use the same proxy credential secrets for
             # all the managed storage arrays
	      - proxy-creds
          - storageArrayId: "000000000002"
            primaryURL: https://unisphere-2-addr:8443
             # An optional backup Unisphere server managing the same array
             # This can be used by the proxy to fall back to in case the primary
             # Unisphere is inaccessible temporarily
            backupURL: unisphere-3-addr:8443
               - proxy-creds
          - url: https://unisphere-1-addr:8443
             # Secret containing the credentials of the Unisphere server
            arrayCredentialSecret: unsiphere-1-creds
            skipCertificateValidation: true
          - url: https://unisphere-2-addr:8443
            arrayCredentialSecret: unsiphere-2-creds
            skipCertificateValidation: true
          - url: https://unisphere-3-addr:8443
            arrayCredentialSecret: unsiphere-3-creds
            skipCertificateValidation: true


Copy the sample file - powermax_reverseproxy.yaml from the samples folder or use the sample available in the OperatorHub UI
Edit and input all required parameters and then use the OperatorHub UI or run the following command to install the CSI PowerMax Reverse Proxy service:

kubectl create -f powermax_reverseproxy.yaml

You can query for the deployment and service created as part of the installation using the following commands:

kubectl get deployment -n <namespace>
kubectl get svc -n <namespace>

There is a new sample file - powermax_revproxy_standalone_with_driver.yaml in the samples folder which enables installation of CSI PowerMax ReverseProxy in StandAlone mode along with the CSI PowerMax driver. This mode enables the CSI PowerMax driver to connect to multiple Unisphere servers for managing multiple PowerMax arrays. Please follow the same steps described above to install ReverseProxy with this new sample file.

Dynamic Logging Configuration

This feature is introduced in CSI Driver for powermax version 2.0.0.

Operator based installation

As part of driver installation, a ConfigMap with the name powermax-config-params is created using the manifest located in the sample file. This ConfigMap contains an attribute CSI_LOG_LEVEL which specifies the current log level of the CSI driver. To set the default/initial log level user can set this field during driver installation.

To update the log level dynamically user has to edit the ConfigMap powermax-config-params and update CSI_LOG_LEVEL to the desired log level.

kubectl edit configmap -n powermax powermax-config-params

Sample CRD file for powermax

apiVersion: storage.dell.com/v1
kind: CSIPowerMax
  name: test-powermax
  namespace: test-powermax
    # Config version for CSI PowerMax v2.1.0 driver
    configVersion: v2.1.0
    # replica: Define the number of PowerMax controller nodes
    # to deploy to the Kubernetes release
    # Allowed values: n, where n > 0
    # Default value: None
    replicas: 2
    dnsPolicy: ClusterFirstWithHostNet
    forceUpdate: false
      # Image for CSI PowerMax driver v2.1.0
      image: dellemc/csi-powermax:v2.1.0
      # imagePullPolicy: Policy to determine if the image should be pulled prior to starting the container.
      # Allowed values:
      #  Always: Always pull the image.
      #  IfNotPresent: Only pull the image if it does not already exist on the node.
      #  Never: Never pull the image.
      # Default value: None
      imagePullPolicy: IfNotPresent
        # X_CSI_MANAGED_ARRAYS: Serial ID of the arrays that will be used for provisioning
        # Default value: None
        # Examples: "000000000001", "000000000002"
        - name: X_CSI_MANAGED_ARRAYS
          value: "000000000000,000000000001"
          # X_CSI_POWERMAX_ENDPOINT: Address of the Unisphere server that is managing the PowerMax arrays
          # Default value: None
          # Example:
          value: ""
          # X_CSI_K8S_CLUSTER_PREFIX: Define a prefix that is appended onto
          # all resources created in the Array
          # This should be unique per K8s/CSI deployment
          # maximum length of this value is 3 characters
          # Default value: None
          # Examples: "XYZ", "EMC"
		       # Examples: "XYZ", "EMC"
        - name: X_CSI_K8S_CLUSTER_PREFIX
          value: "XYZ"
          # X_CSI_POWERMAX_PORTGROUPS: Define the set of existing port groups that the driver will use.
          # It is a comma separated list of portgroup names.
          # Required only in case of iSCSI port groups
          # Allowed values: iSCSI Port Group names
          # Default value: None
          # Examples: "pg1", "pg1, pg2"
          value: ""
          # "X_CSI_TRANSPORT_PROTOCOL" can be "FC" or "FIBRE" for fibrechannel,
          # "ISCSI" for iSCSI, or "" for autoselection.
          # Allowed values:
          #   "FC"    - Fiber Channel protocol
          #   "FIBER" - Fiber Channel protocol
          #   "ISCSI" - iSCSI protocol
          #   ""      - Automatic selection of transport protocol
          # Default value: "" <empty>
        - name: "X_CSI_TRANSPORT_PROTOCOL"
          value: ""
          # X_CSI_POWERMAX_PROXY_SERVICE_NAME: Refers to the name of the proxy service in kubernetes
          # Set this to "powermax-reverseproxy" if you are installing the proxy
          # Allowed values: "powermax-reverseproxy"
          # default values: "" <empty>
          value: ""
          # X_CSI_GRPC_MAX_THREADS: Defines the maximum number of concurrent grpc requests.
          # Set this value to a higher number (max 50) if you are using the proxy
          # Allowed values: n, where n > 4
          # default values: None
        - name: "X_CSI_GRPC_MAX_THREADS"
          value: "4"

        # X_CSI_POWERMAX_ISCSI_ENABLE_CHAP: Determine if the driver is going to configure
        # ISCSI node databases on the nodes with the CHAP credentials
        # If enabled, the CHAP secret must be provided in the credentials secret
        # and set to the key "chapsecret"
        # Allowed values:
        #   "true"  - CHAP is enabled
        #   "false" - CHAP is disabled
        # Default value: "false"
          value: "false"
apiVersion: v1
kind: ConfigMap
  name: powermax-config-params
  namespace: test-powermax
  driver-config-params.yaml: |
    CSI_LOG_LEVEL: "debug"


  • dell-csi-operator does not support the installation of CSI PowerMax ReverseProxy as a sidecar to the controller Pod. This facility is only present with dell-csi-helm-installer.
  • Kubelet config dir path is not yet configurable in case of Operator based driver installation.
  • Also, snapshotter and resizer sidecars are not optional to choose, it comes default with Driver installation.