Cisco releases update for its SAN switches to fix the Shellshock aka Bashbug

Cisco MDS

Although I was triggered by a daily update I received from EMC in this knowledge base article: https://support.emc.com/kb/194669, it was Cisco who finally published an update for various firmwares that did not have a fix yet for the shellshock aka bashbug.
You can find all Release Notes on the Cisco site at http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/support/storage-networking/mds-9000-nx-os-san-os-software/products-release-notes-list.html.
The EMC version of the Release Notes can be found here:

If you haven’t upgraded yet, I’d plan to do so in the very near future!

How to start copy to hotspare manually

Hard Drive

I recently had to manually invoke a hot spare in a VNX 5200, but in Unisphere the option was greyed out.

Unisphere_No-CopyToHotSpare

On the CLI the command wasn’t supported. Now what?

CopyToHotSpare_fail

According to https://support.emc.com/kb/184890 the proper command is now

naviseccli -h [ip of one SP] copytodisk [source-disk] [hot spare]

CopyToDisk_Success

Using the “getdisk” command will show you the actual rebuild has started.

Bare in mind that the way to address disks is in the format “Bus_Enclosure_Disk”, so for example 1_2_3 means disk 3 (the 4th disk) in enclosure 2 on bus 1.

In Unisphere you can actually see the progress of the rebuild:

Disk Rebuild in Unisphere

The Science of ‘Interstellar’ Explained

interstellar wormhole

Warning: SPOILER ALERT! This infographic contains details about the new space film “Interstellar.”

The film “Interstellar” relies on real science for many of its stunning visuals. Physicist Kip Thorne, an expert on black holes and wormholes, provided the math that the special effects artists turned into movie magic.

The spaceship Endurance’s destination is Gargantua, a fictional supermassive black hole with a mass 100 million times that of the sun. It lies 10 billion light-years from Earth and is orbited by several planets. Gargantua rotates at an astounding 99.8 percent of the speed of light.

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The endless discussion about binary versus decimal prefixes – GB vs GiB

I already wrote about this twice:

  1. My first blog post about the issue
  2. My second blog post

And to fire up the discussion once again, I found another link on the IEC website: http://www.iec.ch/si/binary.htm

Remember that scientists want to be very precise about their findings and writing G, means there’s 1,000,000,000 of whatever they were measuring. If they wanted to switch to counting in binary language, they would either switch to using 0s and 1s or use binary prefixes like Gi, Mi, Pi and Ki.

So once again:

  • 1 kB = 1,000 Bytes
  • 1 KiB = 1,024 Bytes
  • 1 GB = 1,000,000,000 Bytes
  • 1 GiB = 1,024 x 1,024 x 1,024 Bytes

 

Spread the word. Please!

EMC Elect 2015 – Who are the EMC Elect? You decide!

EMC Elect 2015 nominations are open!

The events in which the EMC Elect 2014 are participating are still in full swing and although a lot of people aren’t thinking about 2015 yet, some of you might have wondered when the nominations for 2015 will start.

The nominations are open!

Last year the nominations for 2014 were opened at around EMC World ’13, but as of today you can nominate your community “hero” (or more than one) to become EMC Elect 2015. So think it through: if you know people who you think deserve to be Elect 2015, fill out the nomination form and participate in the nomination process of the new batch for 2015!

Please use this link to nominate: http://emc.im/Elect2015Nom

EMC Elect 2015 nominations are open!

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/0x12 (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!

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