Category Archives: hardware - Page 2

Cisco MDS: Fabric is already locked

Cisco MDS

When you encounter a fabric lock, because you accidentally left the GUI or CLI without committing the changes, you can try the following to clear the lock and retry to apply your changes:

  1. run ‘show cfs lock’ to see who lock`s the fabric
  2. run ‘clear device-alias session’ to clear the lock when you were doing zoning activities

Instead of the “clear device-alias session” in line 2, another common possibility to get the lock cleared is:

  • ‘clear ivr session’ (when you were in the middle of IVR activities)

Other locks can occur, but the device-alias and ivr are probably the most common. At least the ones that I encountered so far.

Cisco zoning: some commonly used – show – commands

Cisco MDS

When you need to look up the current zoning config of a Cisco SAN-switch / VSAN, there’s a number of commands that will help you. Because a “show run” doesn’t always do the trick well, especially if you have a large config. And using the “sh run | i “some text you’re looking for” doesn’t always help as well if you don’t know the exact phrase you’re looking for.

I hope this table helps:

show Command
Description
show zone Displays zone information for all VSANs.
show zone vsan 100 Displays zone information for VSAN 100.
show zoneset vsan 100 Displays information for the zone set in VSAN 100.
show zoneset vsan 2-5 Displays configured zone set information for a range of VSANs (2, 3, 4 and 5 in this case).
show zone name AZone Displays members of zone “AZONE”.
show fcalias vsan 100 Displays fcalias configuration in VSAN 100.
show zone member pwwn 20:00:00:25:b1:34:aa:c2 Displays membership status of a port wwn. Very good if you’re concerned that 1 HBA is used in more than 1 zone!
show zone statistics Displays zone statistics.
show zone statistics read-only-zoning Displays read-only zoning statistics.
show zoneset active Displays the active zone sets.
show zoneset brief Displays brief descriptions of zone sets.
show zone active Displays the active zones.
show zone status Displays zone status.
show zone Displays zone statistics.
show running Displays the interface-based zones.

Enhance your WiFi by using beer!

Beer can WiFi booster

Bad WiFi reception

Bad WiFi reception is one of the most common annoyances these days. Especially in residential areas where every house has at least 1 access point and each family is working hard to fill the ether with their own signals. A quick fix can solve this problem relatively easy by using an empty beer can (a soda can also works).

The aluminum of an empty beer can enhance the WiFi-signal significantly. You could buy an expensive repeater, but a beer can is immensely cheaper (and is more fun to get too). Our good friend youtube shows us this instructional video.

Step by step

  1. Go to the supermarket
  2. Buy (at least) 1 can of beer (a premium brand will do better than some random cheap brand)
  3. Empty the can (don’t throw the beer in the sink at all times! Drinking is the preferred method!)
  4. Clean the inside of the can by flushing it with some water
  5. you will need a knife or scissors to open up the can and some material to fix the empty can to your router
  6. Remove the lid, used to open the can
  7. Cut off the bottom of the can
  8. Cut off the top of the can, leaving a small piece near the old drinking opening
  9. Cut the can from top to bottom at the opposite side from the drinking opening
  10. Carefully bend the metal so it (sort of) looks like a satellite dish
  11. Place the brand new dish shaped beer can on your access point, by sticking the antenna through the old drinking opening
  12. Fix the “dish” so it doesn’t fall off

steps

This little trick should enhance the signal strength by a factor 2 or 3. This only works for access points equipped with an external antenna. For antenna-less models you could try creating a somewhat larger dish and placing the whole access point on the bigger dish, but I don’t guarantee this works. You could for example use a keg, but I doubt that you can cut it by using scissors 😉

 

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

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

Read more »

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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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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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 »

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!

Read more »

Software-Defined Data Center Symposium 2014

SDDC 2014

Tech Field Day plans SDDC Symposium

Being part of the SFD5 gang I was invited to join the Software-Defined Datacenter Symposium as well! This event will feature many key figures from the industry and end-user community, and will include discussions of OpenFlow, software-defined networking (SDN), software-defined storage, converged infrastructure, and the greater software-defined future!

Note that the event capacity is severely constrained. Therefore, the SDDC Symposium is focusing on end-user implementors and encouraging others to participate online by viewing the live video stream on this page!

Read more »

How to translate Windows disk ids to storage array’s LUNs

Converting disk information in a VM into the actual LUN information

We’ve all been there: you have a certain Windows virtual machine with several disks of the same size and you don’t know which Windows-disk is in fact which storage LUN.

The VMware settings for this VM might look like this:

VM-config

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Will the new WiFi super antenna change the world?

A Dutch invention will change the WiFi world drastically

At least, that’s what Roel Pieper and Marcel Boekhoorn are convinced of. The revolutionary super antenna should cause all problems concerning the reach of indoor WiFi signals to disappear. Furthermore this new product is supposed to make an end to wireless antennas interfering with each other’s frequencies and smartphones will get a better reception because of this new invention. The new antenna should be better and more advanced than anything else currently known to mankind. On average a smart phone needs about seven different antennas, but with the new invention only a single one is needed. And on top of this using the new antenna more data can be sent and received compared to the existing ones.

Mathematical super-formula

Boekhoorn and Pieper worked together in a company called “Antenna Company”, which will produce these next-gen antennas. The technique is based on a mathematical super-formula made up by Professor Gielis and it’s called the “Super-formula“.

Roel Pieper is appointed as the CEO of the “Antenna Company” and they’re already talking to various multinationals about applying the antenna in cell phones, cars and routers according to the Dutch newspaper “de Telegraaf”. Other applications could be airplanes, medical equipment, weaponry and radar systems, but other equipment that needs to communicate with other equipment, such as central heating thermostats.

World hit

Antenna Company “promises to be my most successful company ever”, according to Boekhoorn in an exclusive interview by Quote. The 3D-optimized antenna can potentially make billions of Euros. “This super antenna will be a hit.” HTC, LG and Samsung are potential customers according to the billionaire. The Antenna Company is already talking to several of these multinationals. Even Cisco is supposedly interested.

High Tech Campus

Production of these super-antennas will start in March. The Antenna Company will settle at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven in the Netherlands. The Head Quarters is formally located on Curacao. Exactly how much Boekhoorn has invested in the project, he’s unwilling to say..

 

Source: http://www.it-infra.nl/default.aspx?page=7364

Which Cisco NX-OS should I use?

This time a really short reminder-like post. Somehow I often end up trying to locate certain release notes of various equipment, but Cisco organized theirs for the SAN switches in an orderly manner: Release Notes

Every NX-OS version is listed here and in each all supported equipment is named. I found this to be very helpful.

Which Hot Spare will be used for a failed drive? – part 2

Hard Drive

A while ago I talked about Hot Spares and how they are picked when a rebuild is necessary. It was almost 2 years ago and you can read it here.

Since then the rebuild / equalize technology has changed! Well, not for existing systems, but the new VNX family aka VNX2 does things a bit differently.

In the old days when a drive failed, a suitable Hot spare would kick in and the unprotected LUNs (regarding the failed drive) would be rebuild onto the Hot Spare. After a while, when the rebuild was done and the failed drive was replaced by a replacement drive, the data on the Hot spare would need to be copied to that new drive. This was called equalizing.

In the VNX2 (with MCx) this last step doesn’t exist anymore. So that means the Hot spare that was used to contain the rebuilt data is not longer a Hot Spare! It has become a regular drive! And that replacement drive will now be a new Hot Spare. When configuring a new VNX2 you’d see rules about Hot Spares and you simply don’t even need to configure Hot Spares anymore. Just make sure you have some unconfigured drives and you’re good. Your VNX2 will make sure they’re used as Hot Spares from then on.

If I remember correctly the DMX4 had a similar feature back in 2008, but it now flowed to the midrange platform as well.

 

(s)low budget drives: the future of archiving

Flash storage

Storage growth

Most of the data we collect and store on our computers eventually ends up in some sort of archive. I think we can all agree on that, right? Do we ever throw anything away? Well, some data doesn’t really make sense after a while and can (and will) be deleted, but a lot of data “might be useful” after some time and so we keep it. And don’t forget the tons of digital memories we create using photo and video cameras!  I estimate that I’m creating about 100 GB of digital photos and videos throughout the year and that’s increasing every year as well with the new cameras we’re using. More pixels, DSLR cameras, RAW photography and HD or even 4k HD videos are probably taking up most of the space we need extra each year.

Where do we store our data?

Read more »

Cisco becomes a storage vendor

Twitter, Facebook, Google+… it’s all over the (social) news

Wednesday September 11 it was all over the news: all my popular news resources mentioned in one way or the other that Cisco is now into storage. The “Software Defined Data Center” buzz word is “buzzing” since the beginning of 2013, at least I didn’t hear much of it before that.

Many companies (including my employer Open Line Consultancy with Storage As A Service and Backup As A Service) already do business this way for years, it’s just that all of a sudden it has a popular name that everybody’s using since this year. But thinking about clouds with automated processes to fine tune and schedule every wish for storage, cpu or memory has really become popular. And with Cisco now acquiring Whiptail, this vendor will now be able to participate in this rising market space.

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