Category Archives: Virtualization

Hands-on with VNXe 3200: Initial setup


Here I go again. About two years ago I started writing a series of blog posts about my hands-on experience with newly released VNXe 3300. At that time the VNXe 3300 was just released and there wasn’t that much documentation out there. So I did lots of testing and had to make my own “best practices”. The previous blog series is one of the reasons why I now have a chance to test and write about the VNXe 3200.

On June 10 Chad published this blog post: “Summer Gift Part 2 – 10 VNXe arrays free to play with for volunteers!”. I was surprised to find myself mentioned on the post and even more surprised to find out that one of the devices was reserved for me. So while I was on vacation last week the test unit arrived:

  • VNXe 3200 – 2U Form Factor/12 Drive DPE
    • 3.5” Drives
    • 6 x 600GB 15K Pack
    • 3 X 100GB eMLC Flash Drives (for FAST auto-tiering)
    • 2 X 100GB eMLC Flash Drives (for FAST Cache)
    • 9TB Raw Capacity

VNXe 3200 is basically a combination of the new VNX MCx multicore technology and the old VNXe OE/Unisphere. I won’t go through all the new features but there are a few worth mentioning:

  • Multi-core RAID (MCR), Multi-core Cache (MCC), Multi-core Flash (MCF)
  • “Active/Active” file
  • Single container for block and file
  • Linux-based platform

More details about the new features on EMC VNXe Series website.

Unboxing

Well not much to write about this: Install rack rails, lay DPE on those, connect cables and the VNXe was ready for configuration. However, this was something I hadn’t seen before with the previous VNXe:

power

Quick look in the installation documentation and it revealed to be a power adapter for the front LED-lights: image

Initial setup 

There have been several new versions of the VNXe OE since my first VNXe blog post but the “Unisphere Configuration Wizard” still looks similar. Going through the wizard takes about 10 minutes but I skipped most of the configurations as usual. I prefer to upgrade the VNXe to the latest software version before I do any configurations to new devices. After the configuration wizard is completed you will get a popup and you will be directed to the EMC support website where the latest version can be downloaded.

softwareupgrade

Conclusions

Even though there is totally new hardware running under the hood Unisphere still looks and feels the same as on the latest software vesion on VNXe 3100/3150/3300. I still agree that VNXe is simple to install and configure. Of course I haven’t configured any storage pools or iscsi servers yet. I’ll cover those on the next posts. Also performance and some of the new features will be reviewed later.

Software version 2.0.3:

unisphere

 

Software version 2.4.2:

242_1

Software version 3.0.1:

301_1

 

 

 


EMC World HOL sneak preview


Once again it’s time for EMC World; new product releases, breakout sessions, labs, networking, wandering around the show floor and of course some fun too. Breakout sessions will be recorded and those can be accessed after the conference but at least most of the hands-on labs are created just for the EMC World. So take an advantage of the ease of testing and evaluating EMC products in an isolated environment without needing to worry about messing up anything. It’s a really good opportunity to get hands on experience and see how things really work.

HOL1

Available labs

Here is the list of available labs. Bolded ones are the ones that I’ll try to take, that’ll be about 11 hours of lab time.

  • LAB01 SRM Suite – Visualize, Analyze, Optimize
  • LAB02 VNX with AppSync Lab: Simple Management, Advanced Protection
  • LAB03 EMC Software Defined Storage (SDS)
  • LAB04 Atmos Cloud Storage: Mature, Robust and Ready to Rock
  • LAB05 EMC NetWorker Backup and Recovery for Next Generation Microsoft Environments
  • LAB06 Flexible and Efficient Backup and Recovery for Microsoft SQL Always-On Availability Groups using EMC NetWorker
  • LAB07 Easier and Faster VMware Backup and Recovery with EMC Avamar For the Storage Administrator
  • LAB08 Automated Backup and Recovery for Your Software Defined Data Center with EMC Avamar
  • LAB09 Taking Backup and Archiving To New Heights with EMC SourceOne and EMC Data Domain
  • LAB10 Optimizing Backups for Oracle DBAs with EMC Data Domain and EMC Data Protection Advisor
  • LAB11 Operational and Disaster Recovery using RecoverPoint
  • LAB12 Achieving High Availability in SAP environments using VMware ESXi clusters and VPLEX
  • LAB13 VPLEX Metro with RecoverPoint: 3-site Solution for HighAvailability and Disaster Recovery
  • LAB14 Introduction to VMAX Cloud Edition
  • LAB15 Replication for the VMAX Family
  • LAB16 Performance Analyzer for the VMAX Family
  • LAB17 Introduction to the VMAX Family
  • LAB18 Storage Provisioning and Monitoring with EMC Storage Integrator (ESI 2.1) and Microsoft System Center Operations Manager
  • LAB19 EMC|Isilon Compliance Mode Cluster Setup, Configuration, and Management Simplicity
  • LAB20 EMC|Isilon Enterprise Ready with OneFS 7.0 Enhancements
  • LAB21 RSA Cloud Security and Compliance
  • LAB22 VMware vSphere Integration with VNX
  • LAB23 VNX Unisphere Analyzer
  • LAB24 VNX/VNXe Storage Monitoring & Analytics For Your Business Needs
  • LAB25 VNX Data Efficiency
  • LAB26 VNXe Unisphere Administration & Snapshots
  • LAB27 EMC VSPEX Virtualized Infrastructure for End User Computing
  • LAB28 Collaborative Big Data Analysis with the Greenplum Unified Analytics Platform
  • LAB29 Manage Your vCloud Suite Applications with VMware vFabric Application
  • LAB30 Discover VMware Horizon Workspace
  • LAB31 Deploy and Operate Your Cloud with the VMware vCloud Suite

The setup

Labs are running on VCE Vblock architecture based infrastructure at EMC North Carolina data center. The storage used to serve the content is VNX and XtremeIO and of course to make it all work together vSphere 5.1 & vCD are also utilized.

There will be two screens at the front of the HOL where the live performance of the environment can be monitored. There will also be product specialists demoing and answering questions about the HOL cloud infrastructure.

HOL2

There will be 200 seats for HOL attendees.

HOL3

Location and opening hours

The labs are located on the right hand side of the EMC Village (2nd floor of the Sands Expo Hall).

HOL4

Lab opening hours:

  • Monday: 11:00AM- 9PM
  • Tuesday: 7:00AM – 6:30PM
  • Wednesday: 7:00AM – 5:00PM
  • Thursday: 7:00AM – 2PM

Doors close 30 mins before the end of each day


VNXe OE 2.4 and 2.5″ form factor disks


Once again I had a chance to play around with some shiny new hardware. And once again the hardware was VNXe 3300 but this time it was something that I hadn’t seen before: 2.5” form factor with 46 600GB 10k disks. If you have read about the new RAID configurations in OE  2.4.0 you might figure out what kind of configuration I have in my mind with this HW.

In this post I will go through some of the new features introduced in VNXe OE 2.4.0, do some configuration comparisons between 3.5” and 2.5” form factors and also between VNXe and VNX. Of course I had to do some performance testing as well with the new RAID configurations so I will introduce the results later in this post.

VNXe OE 2.4.0.20932 release notes

Customizable Dashboard

Along with the new OE came the ability to customize UI dashboard. The look of the Unisphere UI on new or upgraded VNXe is now similar to Unisphere Remote. You can customize the dashboard and also create new tabs and add desired view blocks to the tabs.

VNXe dashboard

vnxe_dashboard1

Jobs

Some of the operations are now added as background jobs and you don’t have to wait that the operation is finished. Steps of the operations are also more detailed when viewed from the jobs page. Number of active jobs is also shown next to the alerts on the status bar dependent on what page are you on.

jobs

New RAID configurations

Now this is one of the enhancements that I’ve been waiting for because VNXe can only utilize four RAID groups in a pool. So with the previous OE this would mean that datastore in 6+1 RAID 5 pool could only utilize 28 disks. Now with the 10+1 RAID 5 pool structure datastores can utilize as many as 44 disks. This also means increased max iops per datastore. 3.5” form factor 15k disk RAID 5 pool max iops is increased from ~4900 to ~7700 and with 2.5” form factor 10k disk RAID 5 pool max iops is increased from ~3500 to ~5500. Iops is not the only thing to be looked at. Size of the pool matters too and not to forget the rack space that the VNXe will use. While I was sizing the last VNXe that we ordered I made this comparison chart to compare the pool size, iops and rack space with different disk form factors in VNX and VNXe.

comparison

Interesting setup with the VNXe 3150 and 2.5” form factor disks is the 21TB and 5500 iops packed in 4U rack space. VNXe 3300 with same specs would take 5U space and VNX5300 would take 6U space. Of course the SP performance is a bit different between these arrays but so is the price.

Performance

I’ve already posted some performance test results from VNX 3100 and 3300 so I added those results to the charts for comparison. I’ve also ran some tests on VNX 5300 that I haven’t posted yet and also added those results on the charts.

avgmbps1

avgmbps2

avgiops1

avgiops2

avglatency1

avglatency2

There is a significant difference in the max throughput between 1G and 10G modules on VNXe. Then again the real life test results are quite similar.

Disclaimer

These results reflect the performance of the environment that the tests were ran in. Results may vary depending on the hardware and how the environment is configured.


New Year, New Continent, New Role


Some of you might have noticed that lately I haven’t been as active on social media as I have before. There is couple of reasons for that. One busy factor that’s not listed on the subject has been my involvement in the VNX implementation project that has taken lot of my time. The goal of that project was to replace CX/MirrorView/SRM with VNX/RecoverPoint/SRM and it didn’t go that smoothly. The project is now finalized and everything worked out in the end. I learned a lot during the project and I have some good ideas for blog posts for the future i.e. RecoverPoint journal sizing.

container

New Continent

In February 2008 my wife and I packed everything that we had, sold our condo in Finland and moved to Atlanta because of my internal transfer. We moved to the Atlanta suburbs and really didn’t know that many people around there. The initial plan was to stay for two years and then come back home. Well, those two years became almost five years. During that time we got very close with our neighbors and got to know lots of other great people from the same neighborhood. It was our home and we felt like we belonged to the community. The most amazing two things that happened during that time were the births of our children. It was hard to be so far from “home” and family in the beginning. We saw family once a year when we visited Finland and almost all closest family members visited us at least once. We enjoyed our time in the US but then came the time to move back to Finland. Once again everything we had was packed to a container and shipped to Finland. I had mixed feelings about the move. I was excited to go back “home” but then again I was sad to leave so many good friends behind. Driving to the Atlanta airport one last time wasn’t easy at all. All the good memories rushed through my mind. It was mid December 2012 and we moved back to Finland to the snow and coldness.

On my way to the office

On my way to the office

New Role

This spring I’ve been with the current company for 9 years. About right after I joined the company I started my virtualization journey with GSX and then with ESX 2.0. From that point on my main focus has been on virtualization and storage. I’ve been working as an architect and been involved in getting the ESX from version 2 to 5 and also implementing new features as those have been announced i.e. SRM and View. I’ve also got my hands dirty when implementing EMC CX300, upgrading it to CX3-40C and replacing it with CX4-120 and CX4-240. As from my VNXe post you might have noticed that I’ve done some work with those too. And of course now with the latest project I had also a chance to get some hands-on experience with VNX and RecoverPoint. In my new role I’ll be managing a team which is responsible for developing and maintaining the company’s whole infrastructure including virtualization, networking, storage, Windows/Linux servers and so forth. This is the same team that I’ve been a part of in the past years. I’m looking forward for the new challenges that the new role brings to my desk and don’t worry, I’ll still be involved with the technical stuff and will continue blogging about virtualization and storage. There might be some 2.5” form-factor VNXe and VNX/RecoverPoint posts coming out soon.

My first ESX installation media

My first ESX installation media

Thank you, all my followers, for the year 2012 and I hope this year is going to be even better. I’m happy to see that my posts in the past year have been helpful.


EMC World 2012: Social Networking


The past couple of conferences that I’ve attended I’ve spent more time on social networking than in the sessions. Nowadays that most of the sessions are recorded it is possible to watch those afterwards whenever you have some spare time. So my focus on this year’s EMC world was to get into some interesting HOLs as I described in my previous post and also to talk with vendors, other attendees and bloggers. And actually the contacts that I made in the last year’s EMC world eventually lead to getting me in to this year’s EMC world.

EMC Community Network (ECN)

I spent some of my time at the EMC online booth talking to people about the ECN and also answering questions about VNXe. I met many people who had not registered to ECN. I asked them do they have any issues or problems in their environments and everyone answered yes. I then asked how do they usually solve the issue and mostly all answered that they resolve those themselves and some said that they contact the support. Now this is where social networking comes in handy. Why not ask someone else, maybe somebody has also solved the same issue that you are having. So ask a question on Twitter or post a question to ECN and you might get an answer sooner than you thought.

EMC Support Forum Legends – Buzz Talk

Who did I meet then?

Here are some of the people that I met:

@mjbrender @andybanta @Kiwi_Si @ionthegeek @MabroIRL @da5is @lynxbat @rolltidega @NerdBlurt @sthulin @sixfootdad @TylerAltrup @LizONeal @sakacc @NixFred @davedfw @huberw @juliamak @50mu @BrandonJRiley @BasRaayman @sysxperts @vTexan @Jon_2vcps @chris_cicotte @VirtualChappy @stu @scott_lowe @crystal_lowe @CloudOfCaroline @the_sboss @traversn @jellers @davemhenry @wadeoharrow @CommsNinja @lalazarescou @eanthony @Backupbuddha @clintonskitson @mcowger @vDirtybird @jgcole01 @jasemccarty @keithnorbie

Interesting conversations

One of the best conversations during the EMC World I had was with Dynamox, one of the top ECN contributors. This was the first time that we met face to face, even though we live just across the city from each other. We talked about VNXe, VNX, CLARiiON, our environments and implementations, issues that we were facing with those, social networking and ECN. And the whole conversation took place next to a slot machine – only in Vegas. We met a couple of times during the conference and we were also on the same flight back home so we continued our conversations throughout the week.

So during the EMC World I met some great people, some that I already knew and some that I didn’t. I hope we can keep in touch and maybe we’ll see in VMworld or maybe the next EMC World.


EMC World 2012: Hands-On Labs


Hands-On Labs (HOL) are always on my priority list when attending conferences or local EMC/VMware forums. Recorded breakout sessions can be viewed after the conference but HOLs are not available afterwards, at least not yet. The HOL setup was similar to last VMworld HOLs: most of the HOLs were running on virtual appliances and accessed using zero/thin clients.

VNXe Labs

There were two VNXe Hands-on labs available:

VNXe Unisphere Administrator

Remote Monitoring of Multiple VNXe Systems

I did the first HOL where the objectives were to create CIFS server/share and also generic iSCSI server/datastore and then connect those to Windows VM. For someone who has been working with CIFS and generic iSCSI servers this might already be a familiar topic. But for someone who has only been working with vSphere datastores on VNXe this was a good introduction to CIFS and the generic iSCSI side of the VNXe.

While I was at the lab I had a quick chat with Mike Gore from EMC who is responsible of the VNXe labs at the EMC World. I asked him why there weren’t any VNXe labs focusing on the vSphere side and he mentioned that those could be available in future events and that the current labs are more like an introduction to VNXe.

Unisphere Analyzer Evaluating FAST Cache and FAST-VP on VNX

I’ve been working with CLARiiONs the past 8 years so Navisphere, Unisphere and also Analyzer have become very familiar to me. I still wanted to do this HOL and see if there was something that could help me in the future when digging into analyzer statistics. It was a very good lab for refreshing memory and also to give some new hints what to look for in analyzer.

ProShpere Storage Resource Management

This was the most interesting HOL that I took. I’ve been looking into ProSphere after it was released but never had a chance to test it in our environment. Like I mentioned earlier I’ve been using Unisphere Analyzer to dig in to the CLARiiON performance statistics but it is really hard to see the overall performance using analyzer. So ProSphere gives a great overall view of the environment including host, storage path and storage performance. I’m definitely going to use this in the near future.

RecoverPoint

I’ve been using MirrorView also several years now and wanted to see what RecoverPoint would offer compared to MirrorView. And the answer is simple: a lot more. Of course when comparing these two it is good to first evaluate the data protection needs. RecoverPoint might be a bit overkill just to replicate one VMware datastore and would not be the most cost efficient way to do it. But it was a very useful lab and gave me a good overview of RecoverPoint and what it could be used for.

One can use several hours viewing demos and reading documents but in my opinion hands on experience is the best way to learn new things. So once again EMC succeeded delivering a good number of very well executed hands-on labs. Big thanks to the vSpeclialists and other crew members who made the HOLs possible. I hope I can attend more HOLs in the future events.

Check out also Chad’s post about the HOLs.


EMC World 2012: Wrap-up


Week after the EMC World and my brain is still digesting all the information from the conference. I started going through my notes from last week and thought how I can squeeze everything in one post. So I decided to do separate posts about Hands-On Labs and Social Networking. In this post I will go through some of the new product announcements and also other interesting things that I witnessed last during the EMC World.

A couple of interesting facts that Joe Tucci mentioned on his keynote:

  • E and M on EMC comes from the founders names: Richard Egan and Roger Marino.
  • The first “EMC World” was held in 2001 and was called “EMC wizards” having about 1300 customers attending.

Announcements

Pat Gelsingers keynote was all about new product announcements and demos. Chad Sakacc did a great job with the demos and also managed to scare everyone with a big explosion on his second demo. There were actually 42 new products and technologies announced and one of those was very interesting: VNXe 3150. I already did a quick post about VNXe 3150 highlights during the EMC World.

Another really interesting announcement was the VNX software upgrade that goes by the name “Inyo” at this point and will be available in the second half of 2012. This brings several new enhancements and features to VNX. Two of those that I’ve been waiting since the FAST pools were initially introduced: mixed pools and automatic pool rebalancing. Also a very welcomed addition is the Storage Analytics package. Chad Sakacc and Sean Thulin have written great posts covering the “Inyo” and its new features.

Session highlights

One interesting session that I attended was titled as “VNX & VNXe: Unisphere future visions and directions”. The main topic was the future single Unisphere for VNX and VNXe combining simplicity and flexibility. This will bring the VNXe simplicity and application-centric storage management to VNXe but will not take away the flexibility of VNX and the ability to manually create datastores and LUNs. There will also be some improvements to serviceability: simplifying self-service and problem notifications. Downloading updates and scheduling those using Unisphere is one of the major improvements that were mentioned about the serviceability.

In the future both VNX and VNXe can be managed using Unisphere remote. There will also be performance monitoring, history and analytics available in the future Unisphere remote. Last but not least a mobile app (monitoring first) and a unified cli are also on the way.

Chad’s World

Once again Chad and Wade filled the room with their entertaining “Chad’s World Live II – The Comeback Tour” show. And of course they had something face melting to announce: Project Razor

If you wonder who the gorilla is hugging Chad, check out the Cloud Freaky 2012 video:


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