Symmetrix offers a new kind of MAXimum Virtualisation (VMAX)

100-200-400K

The mother of all arrays has just been given an upgrade!

Well ok, maybe EMC did not produce the mother, since it’s fair to say IBM 3390 disk subsystem came first, but since the first Symmetrix came out in the early 90s with as much as a dozen or two disks, EMC has come a long way. They set the standard when it came to enterprise storage arrays. And it wasn’t just size that mattered back then: performance was and is still the number one objective for the Symms. After the “dark ages” (roughly before the year 2000) things got serious with the DMX series in 2003. The number of disks went up and loads of cache had to make sure that performance was guaranteed. DMX1, DMX2, DMX3/4 were quite a success.

And then there was VMAX

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Increased response times on VNX when using Windows 2012

Windows 2012 can cause higher response times on VNX

When Windows 2012 issues Trim or Unmap commands to thin LUNs on a VNX, the Storage Processor response times can increase or may initiate a bugcheck.

As part of disk operations to reclaim free space from thin LUNs, Windows 2012 Server can issue large numbers of the SCSI command 0x9E/0×12 (Service Action/Get LBA Status). This SCSI command results in what is called a “DESCRIBE_EXTENTS” I/O on the VNX Storage Processor (SP.) These commands are used as part of the Trim/Unmap process to see if each logical block address (LBA) that has been freed up on the host’s file system is allocated on the VNX thin LUN. The host would then issue Unmap SCSI commands to shrink the allocated space in the thin LUN, thus freeing up blocks that were no longer in use in the file system. RecoverPoint also issues these same SCSI commands when the Thin LUN Extender mechanism is enabled, which can cause similar performance issues. See knowledge base article KB174052 for more information about the RecoverPoint variation of this issue and how to prevent it.

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Optimizing performance using VAAI and the ESX MaxHWTransferSize setting

xcopy transfer size

If you’re running an EMC VNX using a lower version than block OE version 05.32.000.5.209, you might want to upgrade to the latest and greatest version (patch 209 or newer). The 209 offers EMC’s latest fixes and enhancements for VAAI performance. Many of the found performance issues have been fixed in the 209 code. However, in some environments sub-optimal performance has been detected with xcopy operations, or in some cases with the performance of non-xcopy IO during xcopy operations to the same pool.

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EMC Elect 2014 summer event

EMC Elect 2014 summer event!

What if the Elect members from the Belgium/Netherlands/Germany(/UK)(/France) area would come together in a somewhat centralized place like, for example, in a fun park? It would have nothing to do with “Geek Talk” and everything with having a bit of fun. How would you respond to an initiative like that?

Please respond by replying to this post (or in the original post on ECN) and maybe we can actually do something together. With family, without, with some food-related event afterwards, without, please speak up and we will figure out something cool to do the summer!!!

My first thought was to visit the number 3 nicest fun park in Europe (in 2012 I think) called “the Efteling” (www.efteling.com. For those who don’t know the park, it’s all about fairy tales, or at least that’s how it all started in 1952. Nowadays there’s still the magic forest for those with small children, but also some thrill rides and even a few nice relaxing rides like the “Fata Morgana” or the “Droomvlucht” will take your breath away. And for those who think the Las Vegas Bellagio Fountains are sooooo beautiful, you haven’t seen anything yet! The recently built “Aquanura” uses music, fire and different colors or light compared to the monochrome water in Vegas.

Afterwards we could eat something on the park or somewhere offsite (any ideas?)

So make yourself heard and let us know what you think of this.

Who am I targeting for this event? Dutch, Belgian, German Elect members are obvious, but English, Irish or French are welcome too. But if somebody is on vacation here from any other country, they are welcome too, just make sure to make yourself heard.

On ECN I’ve created a little table in which you can fill out any details if you want to participate. Large comments or suggestions should be in a reply to that post, dates and small comments can be put in the table.

Converting SPcollect files into XLS

javascript on the CLI

Converting SPCollect files into XLS or “How to run javascript on the command line”

Converting EMC SPcollect files into a readable Excel spreadsheet can be done by a js script named “ArrayConfigToXLS.js”. When you install USM (Unisphere Service Manager) a folder called C:\EMC will be created (or on another location since you can specify where this will be created). In that folder a sub-folder called “repository” exists and one of the files you’ll find there is “ArrayConfigToXLS.js”.

Take one of the two SPcollect files (Clariion or VNX), open the zip file and look for the file CKM[serial]SP[A_or_B]_[date]_[time]_[some_number]_sus.zip and open that zip file. Look for the file called “SPA_arrayconfig.xml”; sort on extension and pick that xml, that’s easier, since it will be the only xml there.

Copy that xml to c:\EMC\repository, open a CLI (e.g. CMD.exe) and type:

cscript ArrayConfigToXLS.js SPA_arrayconfig.xml SPA_arrayconfig.xls

The “script” will allow you to run the “js” script and the outcome is that an XLS will be created. Now open the XLS in your favorite spreadsheet application and you’ll find the configuration of your EMC array!

How to change the VNX weekly heartbeat date and time

Changing the time for the weekly heartbeat

People with Clariion or VNX systems installed on site know that these arrays will email “home” (that’s EMC/you) once a week on a seemingly random date/time. Ok, once the day of the week and the time are set, each week the “I’m still alive” email will go out at that time. But what if you don’t want to have that email sent out at Thursday at 2:47AM and you want all of your arrays to send out that email on Saturday at noon sharp? You will need to adjust the parameters. I didn’t find a way to change the weekday, so I’m changing the time less than a day before it needs to run. So if I want it to run on Saturday at noon, I could run this script on Friday after noon. It will pick the next available day automatically.

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Configuring timezone and NTP on a Cisco MDS switch

Timezone and NTP configuration of a Cisco MDS switch

Using a GUI for configuring purposes isn’t always the best thing to do, although it most certainly provides a level of overview that cannot be obtained on the CLI.

I’ve found out the Device Manager default settings for NTP for example are that IPv4 addresses used to point to an NTP entity is set to “peer” and if you don’t use peer synchronization, but have a dedicated NTP server instead, it’s better to place a check mark on the “server” item. Also if you have several time sources, you can set a preferred one by placing a check mark at the particular entity.

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EMC World 2014: short week and too much to do

EMC World 2014

It’s that time of the year again: EMC World

15 Thousand nerds gathering in Las Vegas for the yearly week of EMC propaganda. That’s what a lot of people might think it is anyway. It’s the 2014th edition… that doesn’t sound right. Ehm, oh well, you get my drift. Well, maybe it is nerd-week, but hey: every vendor who thinks they’re the best in something is doing this sort of events and besides that, it’s a great event to meet people you haven’t seen in a year or so.

Social networking in real life

Social networking, gathering knowledge of things to come, looking for solutions to challenges you already have in your normal day jobs, looking for insights in things on your wish list. Bacon, unicorns, hardware and a loooot of “software”, since that’s the trend since a few years. No matter how you explain it:

IT is in Las Vegas, baby!

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Gridstore – Virtualization changes everything and nothing

GridStore

George Symons, Gridstore

Gridstore as a storage company is obviously focussing on SDS. Virtualization has changed the way storage vendors need to look at their storage solutions, because their storage now needs to react on how applications work to be able to provide an optimal performance. And of course cost. How customers want their storage solutions is about cost. It needs to be cheaper, perform better and provide more insight in what the data is actually doing there.

Virtualization changes everything and nothing

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Brocade – Something Defined Networking

Kelly Herrell, Brocade

Kelly takes us back to 2013 and the software defined anything. Was it really there? Was anything real that year? In 2013 the real work on the Software Defined Network concept started!

In 2013 SDN started

Last year it was about how the world’s largest customers, the largest buyers, demanding the vendors to come up with a software defined product that works for them. The message was clearly that the industry wasn’t yet giving customers what they actually needed. Remember that the customers define what vendors should target for, not the other way around!

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Nexenta – the software layer in the middle

Thomas Cornely, Nexenta

IDC reveled a new report they did with EMC: In the digital universe today only 5% of the currently available data (4.4 Trillion GB) is analyzed. Imagine that in 2020 we have 10 times as much data! That’s 44 Trillion GB of data, people! How much is 1 Trillion GB? That’s a 1 followed by 12 zeroes…. Gigabytes, that is: 12 Trillion GB! Where does all this data come from? It’s the internet of things, like sensor data, meta data, but also the vast amount of data that people create these days. Think about what people do all day on their mobile devices using social media, higher resolution personal data like photos, but also more of this high-resolution data. You can imagine that the digital universe is exploding! And again: only 5% of that data is being analyzed today. Imagine what that means in the year 2020! This is what’s called big data: analyzing the vast amount of data so it becomes useful.

Generate, store, analyze, get value out of it

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XP-patches on the black market?

Windows XP patches on the black market?

Despite what several reports say, Windows XP is still an operating system that is widely used, all over the world. And now that Microsoft has stopped its official (and free) support of this succesful OS, a lot of people find themselves in need of a scarce good: XP patches. So what happens when you need a scarce good: a black market!

An official date for the first black market is already known: May 13, 2014, since that would be the first day the formerly regular patch distribution will be no longer be initiated for Windows XP.

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WiFi – San Francisco International Airport

Free WiFi

SFO – San Francisco International Airport

Ok, Dublin was a good experience, but SFO is good and easy too! After looking for hot sport, I selected the “#SFO FREE WIFI”, opened a random website, got the following page:

WiFi

I selected “Accept the Terms” and that was pretty much it. No forms to fill out and so far I’ve seen no time limit. Good to go!

SDDC14: introducing the next generation of SDDC leaders

SDDC 2014 – Software Defined Data Center

Stephen Foskett opens the symposium by welcoming this he guests and crew. It’s the 3rd Software Defined Data Center symposium and the number of people attending is quite good. The goal of this symposium is to find out what SDDC is in reality. The day schedule looks good with various companies sharing their thoughts.

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WiFi – Dublin Airport

Free WiFi

Free WiFi

DUB – Dublin Airport

Well, I wish all hot spots were like this! After I got off the airplane, I enabled WiFi again and voila, I selected the “Dublin Airport Free Wifi” hot spot. After clicking it, I got a new page:

DUB Free Internet

Click to accept and I was ready to go! This was really easy! No limits, not forms to fill out. Fantastic!

WiFi – Brussels Airport

Free WiFi

BRU – Brussel Airport

My first report in the series “WiFi all over the world” is about BRU. The airport offers free WiFi through the TELENETHOTSPOT. It’s available just about everywhere you go on the airport, but on an Apple device this can be a bit of a hassle if you try to connect for the first time.

After selecting the hot spot, you are supposed to be connected to a logon page, but I faced that this page didn’t appear until I retried 3 or 4 times. Opening a browser and surfing to a random site might help.

You are presented with a page on which a commercial is shown. Again, on an Apple device this didn’t work, but I found out that simply waiting half a minute, maybe a minute, helps.

15 seconds (a bit longer)

You now see a page on which you need to fill out a form with PIn codes, passwords and your wife’s birthday (just kidding, but that form is unnecessary long).

You will then get logon credentials and you’re good to go. Enjoy your WiFi!

WiFi all over the world

WiFi

(Free) WiFi all over the world

This year I’m doing my fair share of traveling again and I’ve decided to write a blog on each of my Free WiFi experiences during the year (or longer?) It could very well be an ongoing comparison of the various places, public or private and even airplanes!

Free WiFi

WiFi at work is fantastic and at home it works like a charm as well, but tomorrow I’m flying to San Jose (California) and I need my internet access! I brought a book just in case I’ll be disconnected for a long period of time.

WiFi radiating

The “WiFi all over the world” series will start tomorrow when I’ll be flying from BRU to DUB to start with and from there to SFO. I will be picked up at the airport and I’m told the ride has on-board WiFi as well. I’ve never tried using WiFi in a car so far, but hey! I’m not driving myself this time, so I should be able to get some airtime when driving to the hotel :-) During my stay in San Jose and around there, in Silicon Valley, I will be using a variety of hot spots and I’m told I should have 99% coverage. I’ll be flying back home from SFO to DUB on Saturday and from DUB to BRU on Sunday.

WiFi antenna

I will dedicate a separate blog on each of the experiences and link to each of them from this starting point (this first blog). So expect to see some editing in this piece of text in the future.

Think about Free WiFi (or paid if I really really have to) in places like hotels, airports, a symposium, work, at customer’s sites, in cities, airplanes, taxis, regular cars (I’m getting one with WiFi in it myself in a few weeks)

Enjoy my first, but ongoing series!

WiFi on black square

 

April 21, 2014: Brussels Airport (BRU): Free WiFi. Read all about it here.

April 21, 2014: Dublin Airport (DUB): Free WiFi. Read all about it here.

April 26, 2014: San Francisco International Airport: Free WiFi. Read all about it here.

Storage Field Day 5 – what’s happening?

Storage Field Day 5

Suddenly, I received this tweet. Something about Tech Field Day, Storage Field Day. What? Ok, I actually met Stephen Foskett last year in Las Vegas and I know Gabrie Van Zanten, a colleague of mine, visited the TFD event. Also Roy Mikes, another friend of mine attended the event in the past. I had a decent share of information about the event, but it was still no surprise that I was honored by the invitation I received.

Software Defined Data Center Symposium

The first full day the delegates will attend the SDDC Symposium in Santa Clara. On April 22 the whole day is for discussions of OpenFlow, software-defined networking (SDN), software-defined storage, converged infrastructure, and the greater software-defined future! I’m quite curious who will be there, what we can discuss about and the depth in which discussions will go, but I guess I’ll have to see and find out. It’s exciting for sure!

The actual SFD5 event Read more »

Are my EMC products affected by the bleeding heart SSL bug?

Bleeding heart

It’s been all over the news this week:

Bleeding heart

Heartbleed OpenSSL bug

OpenSSL versions 1.0.1 through 1.0.1f  as well as 1.0.2-beta1 are indicated to be vulnerable to Heartbeat Vulnerability.

Due to a missing bounds check in OpenSSL during the TLS heartbeat extension, a maximum of 64 KiB of memory can be revealed to a connected client or server. This may potentially allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to gain access to sensitive information such as private keys, login passwords, and encryption keys (the so-called Secret Keys). As a result of this disclosure of potentially sensitive information, these Secret Keys could be leveraged to decrypt other sensitive information or conduct so-called man-in-the-middle attacks.

References:

I won’t copy/paste the complete list in this post as the list will be updated over time, but in general I can disclose that (according to EMC) Brocade FOS, Centera, Clariion, Connectrix Manager, Control Center, Data Domain OS, ESRS, Isilon OneFS, , Networker, RecoverPoint, Replication Manager, ViPR, VNVe, VNX1, VNX2, VPLEX, XtremIO are not vulnerable.

You should read the article on bit.ly/1hwgFpW for specific other products as there are a few that might need attention.

Make sure you patch your products if you need to and please change your passwords every now and then (and in this case as soon as possible).

Reaching USPEED – EMC Walhalla

It sure took me a while to read through the tons of performance related materials, but I admit that having done the Clariion IE Expert, Clariion TA and of course the latest VNX IE Expert and VNX TA Expert exams also helped. I got my invitation to join the USPEED gang a little over a year ago, in early 2013 and just like my fellow colleagues I was swamped in work and unable to even start reading through all the material.

During a beta I did for EMC in February ’14 I became interested again in actually getting that certification and all the goodies that come with it and I started reading and testing myself. For a test I just did the free VNX IE Specialist and Expert test exams as well as the TA specialist and expert exams: these are wonderful exams that can prepare you to actually enter the major league of storage gods (ahem).

EMC Walhalla!

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