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:


VNXe 3150 highlights


VNXe 3150 was announced at EMC World and here are some highlights:

  • 2U 25 drive arrays with 2.5″ drives
  • Max 100 drives
  • Supports flash and 3TB NL-SAS drives
  • 10GB I/O modules available
  • Quad core processor

VNXe 3150 is expected to ship 2nd half of 2012


VNXe document updates


Along with the operating environment version 2.2 upgrade there were several documents added or updated on the EMC Support page. The documents can be found from Support by product –  VNXe Series – Documentation. Here are links to some of the documents:

VNXe Unisphere CLI User Guide

Using a VNXe System with VMware

Using a VNXe System with Microsoft Exchange

Using a VNXe System with Generic iSCSI Storage

Using a VNXe System with Microsoft Windows Hyper-V

Using an EMC VNXe System with CIFS Shared Folders

Using an EMC VNXe System with NFS Shared Folders

VNXe Security Configuration Guide

Couple of previously published useful documents:

White Paper: EMC VNXe High Availability

VNXe Service Commands

Check out the EMC Support page for other updated documents.


EMC World is right around the corner


Yes, it’s less than a week to the EMC World kick off. Last year I attended the EMC World for the first time and it reminded me a lot of VMworld, of course the focus was a bit different. Lots of great breakout sessions and hands-on labs. I met many great people there and we still keep in contact on a regular basis. I also met some new vendors with whom I have been working with after the event and even met some old colleagues. I had a great experience attending last year.

This year I will be doing something different than just attending breakout sessions, hands-on labs and hanging in the bloggers lounge. You may have read my post on me and Matt doing the VNXe Ask the Expert event on EMC Community Network (ECN). That event was quite a success and lead to an invitation to the EMC World. So I’m one of the “Ask the Experts” attending EMC World and will be at the EMC online support booth on Mon-Wed during lunch time (2-2.30pm) to talk about VNXe and ECN. Other experts (Ian AndersonMatthew Brender, Mark Browne, Luigi Danakos and Sean Thulin) are also attending and will be at the booth available for a chat. So come by the booth or stop us on the expo floor to say hi and talk about virtualization, storage and the community. All of us will also be attending the Buzz Talk – Join the EMC Support Forums Legends session on Wednesday at 10.30-11am. There will also be other ECN/Ask The Experts gatherings and those will be promoted on Twitter/ECN when the exact times have been confirmed. I’ve also heard that there could be some “ECN reporters” walking around the expo with notepads interviewing people and posting some cool things on ECN.

“An update from Mark on what’s happening for Ask the Expert @ EMC World”:

Then, of course, there is the fun part: the opening reception, grand opening reception, #CXIparty, Support Community Mixer, #vBeers/#StorageBeers/#vStogies (on Tue I think), customer appreciation event and a concert by Maroon 5. These are great opportunities to continue the tech talk and do some networking in a bit more relaxed environment.

I’m really looking forward to hearing some product announcements, the keynotes, breakout sessions, hands-on labs, chats with vendors and other customers, parties and of course seeing old friends and meeting new people as well. I’ll see you there and if you are not attending make sure to check ECN and blogs for updates from EMC World: Bloggers Lounge – EMC World 2012.


VNXe MR2 and Unisphere Remote


EMC released a new Operation Environment (MR2 – 2.2.0.17142) for the VNXe on March 16. At the same time a new product called Unisphere Remote was released. I have already upgraded several VNXes to the latest OE and also installed the Unisphere Remote appliance and decided to do a quick review of both.

New features and fixed bugs

It’s about three months since I wrote about my hands on experience with the VNXe 3100. On that post I covered some findings that I did during the implementation. One big issue that I found was that in certain circumstances datastores would be disconnected when changing the VNXe MTU settings. I reported this to EMC and I was pleased reading the release notes of the MR2 and noticing that this issue had been fixed on it. So about two months after I reported the bug a new OE was released where the bug was fixed.

There are several other bugs fixed on the latest OE but there are also some very interesting new features:

  • Unisphere Remote to manage multiple VNXes from single management console
  • EMC Secure Remote Support (ESRS)
  • Enhanced iSCSI replication workflow
  • Extended VNXe Unisphere CLI functionality: Support for Hyper-V storage resources and CIFS without AD integration.
  • VNXe and VMware Management features: VAAI for NFS and more NFS features for vCenter.

Upgrading to the new OE

Upgrading the VNXe to the latest OE follows the same form that I have described in my earlier posts and the upgrade will take about an hour. During the upgrade I could see high latency on the datastores when the other SP was rebooted and the datastores moved to the other SP. Good to keep that in mind when planning the upgrade.

The first place after the upgrade where the new OE can be spotted is the login page. Unisphere version has changed from 1.6 to 1.7.

After logging in the first time after the upgrade post-upgrade configuration wizard will be shown and will help to configure the new features. I skipped the wizard and started exploring the UI.

The first new feature will be found from Settings > More configurations

Also relating to ESRS some new System Information fields have been added in Settings > Management Settings where detailed information about the device can be inserted to help EMC identify the device and contact the administrator.

Unisphere Remote

MR2 also changed the Settings > Management Settings page and a new Network tab has been added where Unisphere Remote Configuration can now be found. This is also one of the other new features on the latest MR2.

To start using Unisphere Remote a virtual appliance is also needed. That can be downloaded from EMC support site. After the virtual appliance deployment the Unisphere Remote is ready to be used.

It looks and feels just like a VNXe and it’s very easy to get around with. The only thing missing now are the VNXes. I already introduced the configuration for VNXe and the needed information for VNXe can be found under Settings on Unisphere Remote.

Adding IP address, Server Hash and Challenge Pharse on the VNXe are the only required configurations for the VNXe. Couple of minutes after adding these settings the VNXe will be visible on Unisphere Remote.

The Dashboard page is fully customizable by moving the current widgets or adding new widgets. Also new tabs can be added and customized by adding widgets on them.

By default only five devices are shown on the Dashboard but that can be changed from widget settings to 10 or 20 depending of the widget.

What is the benefit of Unisphere Remote then? It basically gives a quick overview of your VNXes showing the most/least utilized VNXe by CPU and also by capacity depending how the dashboard is configured. Unisphere Remote only gathers data that can be viewed from a single UI but the devices connected to it cannot be managed from the Remote. However, there are links to open an individual VNXe Unisphere from the Remote. So with a proper LDAP configuration VNXe management through Unisphere Remote will be seamless which is a huge benefit when managing tens or hundreds of VNXes.

Conclusions

After running the latest OE for a couple of days now on production I’m very happy with it, even before running as intensive tests as I have with the other versions. EMC seems to have put a lot of effort on this version. They have fixed some major issues and also added some great new features.

From the new features that I listed above I’ve mostly been concentrating on the Unisphere Remote and after using it only for a couple of days I can already see the benefit of it. Only by looking at the description of the ESRS I can also see the benefit of that as well.


Changing round robin IO operation limit on ESXi 5


After I published the post VNXe 3300 performance follow up (EFDs and RR settings) I started seeing visitors landing to my blog through search engines searching “IO operation limit ESXi 5”. In the previous post I only described how the IO operation limit can be changed on ESX 4 using PowerCLI. Commands with ESXi 5 are a bit different. This post will describe how it can be done on ESXi 5 using ESXi Shell and PowerCLI.

Round Robin settings

First thing to do is to change the datastore path selection policy to RR (from vSphere client – select host – configure – storage adapters – iSCSI sw adapter – right click the device and select manage paths – for path selection select Round Robin (VMware) and click change)

Changing IO operation limit using PowerCLI

1. Open PowerCLI and connect to the server

Connect-VIServer -Server [servername]

2. Retrieve esxcli instance

$esxcli = Get-EsxCli

3. Change device IO Operation Limit to 1 and set Limit Type to Iops. [deviceidentifier] can be found from vSphere client’s iSCSI sw adapter view and is in format of naa.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

$esxcli.storage.nmp.psp.roundrobin.deviceconfig. ‘

set($null,”[deviceidentifier]“,1,”iops”,$null)

3. Check that the changes were completed.

$esxcli.storage.nmp.psp.roundrobin.deviceconfig. ‘

get(“[deviceidentifier]“)

Chaning IO operation limit using ESXi Shell

1. Login to ESXi using SSH

2. Change device IO Operation Limit to 1 and set Limit Type to Iops. [deviceidentifier] can be found from vSphere client’s iSCSI sw adapter view and is in format of naa.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

esxcli storage nmp psp roundrobin deviceconfig set –type=iops –iops 1 –device=[deviceidentifier]

3.   Check that the changes were completed.

esxcli storage nmp psp roundrobin deviceconfig get –device=[deviceidentifier]


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