EMC World 2016: what to do? There’s not enough time, that’s for sure!

Las Vegas

Will this be the last EMC World ever? I can’t imagine that.

Some say this year will be the final EMC World. Ever. But then again, there might not be another Dell world either. Not in this format anyway. Will EMC World continue in another format, or will it be called DEll/EMC World? Maybe EMC/Dell World? Or just World? No, that doesn’t make sense at all.


let’s think out loud about EMC World 2016

What’s going on from May 2 to May 5?

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Uptime defined, or what is uptime exactly?

Five nines

You often hear vendors mentioning their system has five 9s of uptime, but what exactly is uptime?

Some define uptime only for their own specific piece of technology. For example, a storage array with five 9s uptime, can only tolerate 5 minutes and 15 seconds of downtime per year, but if your network vendor also has a five 9 uptime specification and your power company and your data center and your internet provider and a whole lot of other components…. do the math!

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The “Internet Of Things”, or simply IoT, what’s it good for?

Internet of Things

Internet Of Things, the IoT

We’ve all heard the hype about the IoT, the Internet Of Things, but is it really a hype? Back in the dark ages (the 90s), a company called Novell already claimed that coffee machines and refrigerators would be equipped with a mini OS and an IP address, so automatic ordering systems could make sure you always have specific foods (or beer) in your fridge.

But at the same time the world was running low on IP addresses, so actually providing all these electronic devices with a unique address was a challenge. The solution was IPv6 which provides a few more addresses than IPv4 does.

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EMC World 2016: the Dutch edition

Fremont street

Het is weer die tijd van het jaar: EMC World komt eraan. Het is niemand ontgaan dat in de afgelopen dagen en weken weer allerlei noviteiten van EMC het daglicht hebben gezien: VxRail, VMAX all flash en de nieuwe DSSD en waar is het beter om deze noviteiten te gaan bekijken en je goed te laten informeren? Juist: op EMC World in Las Vegas!! Wissel ervaringen uit met andere klanten, maak kennis met (Nederlandse) partners en filosofeer met EMC specialisten over nieuwe mogelijkheden of maak gewoon die overstap naar het derde platform in IT.

The Dutch Delegation

Net als voorgaande jaren organiseert EMC Nederland weer een sociaal programma rondom het EMC IT-event van het jaar. Heb je de hele dag interessante sessies gevolgd en ben je toe aan wat ontspanning, dan is de Dutch Delegation een aanrader. Dit sociale programma begint op zondag 1 Mei en eindigt op donderdag 4 Mei en zal gedurende EMC World de rode draad zijn door dit drukke evenement.

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Announcing the EMC Elect 2016!

EMC Elect 2016

Another year has past and what a great year it was. A lot has happened, both personal and work related. The whole Dell / EMC merger made many think about the future once again and I must say it’s going to be an interesting year. I’m very much looking forward to EMC World, this May, as Michael Dell, Dave Goulden and Joe Tucci will make their appearance in the opening keynote. I think that I’ll be present in the big hall for once, even though the EMC Elect lounge has proven to be a wonderful and relaxed place to experience the keynote. And yes, that’s just one of the advantages of being EMC Elect: you’ll get to enter the realms of this small and privileged group of people.

On the EMC Community Network (aka ECN) you will find the latest and complete list of the EMC Elect 2016.

Thank you EMC, for making me part of this group again!!

The EMC / Dell merger: my tears and thoughts

Dell EMC

It’s been a few weeks now since Mr Dell, Silver Lake and MSD Partners announced they want to take over EMC and with that become the world’s largest privately held IT company. For me I relived the whole HP / Compaq merger and at that time Compaq was my favorite company. My whole world collapsed. What was going to happen to the world I lived in? It was going to disappear! But luckily it did not. The best pieces of Compaq at the time, their servers, were simply rebranded and sold as HP Proliants and the Alpha CPU “suddenly” appeared as the Itanium from Intel. And everybody was happy. Well, sort of. At least the server department kept on delivering what they were famous for.

And now this happened

I never realized Michael Dell was even in a position to actually raise that kind of money. But with help from Silver Lake and MSD Partners he succeeded to raise sixty five Billion US Dollars! Just imagine! Oh, wouldn’t I like to get my hands on a small portion of that!! But that’s a whole other story. Forget the money, forget the stock exchange market: what will this mean for both companies and the people working there? As some of you know, I’m involved with both the EMC education department as well as the customer facing piece of EMC Support and I want to share my thoughts on the future of my current “Compaq” equivalent, aka “EMC”.

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Why securing devices using your fingerprint is not safe


Think about it: fingerprints are unique. Everybody has them and every one of them is unique, so it’s a secure way to prove your identity, right?


We all thought that passwords were easily hackable, if not by guessing, by brute force attacks. And we all know the “difficult” passwords: P@$$w0rd123 and 3AsyD03s1T. As if hackers are stupid! They’re not! Believe it or not, but these so called encrypted, but still “readable” passwords are easy to guess, just like your dog’s name and your mother’s birthday. I mean, a dog’s name is Bello, Spot, Rex, Fluffy or a dozen other names and as for birthdays: we only have to try every date since 1-1-1900, which is roughly only 115 x 365 = 42,000 dates which are there to try.

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Cisco Smart zoning – part II: examples

Smart zoning examples

In my smart zoning post from last February I already presented the way to get started with Cisco smart zoning. I initially planned to give a more detailed calculation on how much time you can save if you were using smart zoning compared to SIST zoning.

SAN fabric

I was talking to an EMC SAN instructor (Richard Butler) this week and after I did a little white boarding and used my hands to picture how massive a traditional SIST zone environment would be, we agreed smart zoning is the way to go.

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Nominate your candidate(s) for the 2016 batch of EMC Elect!

EMC Elect 2016 nominations are open

It’s that time of year again: the nominations for the community heroes that might become part of the EMC Elect group of next year.

EMC Elect Nominations for 2016

The nominations can be sent in by anybody who wants to honor their community hero. What’s considered a community hero? To be recognized as EMC Elect candidate you could think about how you represented EMC throughout 2015. Well, represented is not the right word, since you don’t really represent EMC, but if you write or talk about EMC on ECN, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or you are a speaker in public accessible forums or events, or write blogs about EMC equipment or software, you certainly are a candidate to be nominated.

Can you nominate yourself?

Why not? It’s not about who nominates who, but who gets nominated! And it’s not a contest! Only 1 nomination will do just fine. It has no added value to nominate somebody more than once! In the end the judges will look at your curriculum anyway and what you did during this year, so it’s perfectly fine to mention this to EMC yourself! Go ahead, make a nomination, or two, or five. Get the word out and make sure we get as many nominations as possible. The judges will decide who gets in after the current month.

Nominations can be done from November 1, 2015 to November 30, 2015, so don’t wait too long and let’s all nominate!!!

The next big merger? Western Digital wants to buy SanDisk!

WD SanDisk

According to rumors Western Digital would love to buy SanDisk for $19B. Multiple companies are interested in buying SanDisk, but it’s WD that seems to have the advantage. The deal will perhaps already take place during next week!

Micron also interested

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Is the SCM promise really worth the wait?


HP and SanDisk are making revolutionary memory market ready

The IT companies HP and SanDisk are promising that their Storage Class Memory (SCM) will be 1000 times as fast as the current generation of flash memory. That’s quite an assumption or is it really proven that it will be this fast.


Storage Class Memory (SCM) is a combination of the memristor technology HP is working on for years already and SanDisk’s ReRAM technology. The new type of memory has some pretty impressive characteristics:

  • It’s 1000x faster
  • It lasts a 1000x longer

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Troubleshooting connectivity issues on a Brocade SAN


I recently had the “pleasure” to figure out what was wrong with a Brocade based SAN environment. Servers were loosing connectivity on one of the HBAs, but all links were online and further investigation was necessary.

Going through all the error counters on each of the long wave SFPs finally revealed one of the SFPs’ health as marginal (hence it was still online, but very buggy indeed). The webtools GUI showed this particular SFP als orange instead of green. Disabling and re-enabling this SFP didn’t help and I decided to shut this SFP for good. And guess what: all my troubles went away. The trunk this SFP was in went back to a non-redundant, but healthy state and all servers got back to normal operations and got their redundant paths back.

So to summarize the story: look for marginal or even faulted SFPs when vague connectivity issues arise. If links are redundant, shutting the faulty one might help.

How to set the NTP server, time and timezone in a Brocade switch

NTP server

Previously I wrote about setting the NTP, time and timezone settings in a Cisco switch and now it’s time for the same in a Brocade switch.

It’s in fact not that hard to do. Log in to the CLI and use the following commands:



tsclockserver ntp.domain.ext (make sure the DNS is set up properly first)

This will set the NTP server address in this switch to ip address Set this only on the principal switch, as this switch will propagate the time to the other switches in the fabric.

To set the timezone use the following command:

tstimezone –interactive

This will ask for the region and country the switch is located in.

Choose 8 for Europe and 34 for the Netherlands and after verifying the setting, choose 1 (yes) to set the TZ.

Use the “date” command to verify the current time and date and TZ region:

Wed May 13 01:08:32 CEST 2015

This makes life a lot easier when troubleshooting!

Adding or replacing a Cisco SAN switch in an IVR topology

Cisco MDS

If you have multiple datacenters or a multi tenant fibre channel environment and you’re using Cisco FC switches, it’s a best practice to use VSANs to separate the configurations of each location / tenant. To allow storage arrays and / or hosts in different VSANs to communicate with each other Inter VSAN Routing needs to be used.

If you need to have 2 EMC VNX storage arrays “talk” to each other for MirrorView for example over 2 or more datacenters (for data replication purposes that is) or hosts in one DC talk to storage in another DC, using transit VSANs (and therefore IVR) will keep your VSANs with equipment indoors and the slightly more vulnerable VSAN outdoors. If some farmer with his tractor rips your single mode fiber, only the outdoor VSAN will be fractured and the indoor VSANs remain unharmed. And of course communication between the remote sites is interrupted, but the indoor VSANs / fabrics remain unchanged.

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Want to play around with VMware VVOLs? Here’s your chance! The Software Defined VNX is here!

Hard Drive

VMware now has this great new feature to be more in control of where its data blocks actually land on the storage system: VVOLs. But up until now EMC didn’t have a system capable of actually providing the back end for that. Until now I said. Starting with the VNXe 3200 all storage arrays are made vVOL capable and you can play around with that yourself. FOR FREE!

The Software Defined VNX is now a reality!

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Setting Daylight Savings Time on a Cisco MDS switch

Cisco MDS

I recently ran into a log time difference at a customer’s site so I want to repeat my blog from last year (Configuring the timezone and NTP). It’s slightly different on Cisco LAN / Routing equipment, but on Cisco MDS SAN switches the DST configuration is set by using the following commands:

config t
clock summer-time CEST 5 Sun Mar 02:00 5 Sun Oct 03:00 60
copy run start

  • CEST means Central Europe Summer Time (you can use your timezone name instead if you like)
  • the first 5, followed by “Sun” means that the DST will become active on the LAST (5th, sometimes the 4th) Sunday of the month following the day you just named (March)
  • 02:00 is the time of day when the DST will become active (time will go forward)
  • the second 5, followed by “Sun” means that the DST will become active on the LAST (5th, sometimes the 4th) Sunday of the month following the day you just named (October)
  • 03:00 is the time of day when the DST will end (time will go back to normal, backwards, so from 03:00 in my example the clock will go back to 02:00)

You can check the date, time and timezone by typing “show clock”.

Cisco MDS NX-OS zoning on the CLI

Cisco MDS

The Cisco Fabric Manager or the newer DCNM can be great for creating a limited number of zones and aliases, but when the number of zones exceeds 10 or 20 or so, creating, cloning and editing these can be a pain in the B@TT.

FC-SWITCH-01# conf t
Enter configuration commands, one per line. End with CNTL/Z.


Create aliases:

FC-SWITCH-01(config)# fcalias name VM101-HBA1 vsan 45
FC-SWITCH-01(config)# member pwwn 20:21:22:25:B6:00:00:01

Enhanced zone session has been created. Please ‘commit’ the changes when done.


FC-SWITCH-01(config-fcalias)# fcalias name VM101-HBA1 vsan 45
FC-SWITCH-01(config-fcalias)# member pwwn 20:21:22:25:B6:00:00:02
FC-SWITCH-01(config-fcalias)# fcalias name VM102-HBA1 vsan 45
FC-SWITCH-01(config-fcalias)# member pwwn 20:21:22:25:B6:00:00:03

FC-SWITCH-01(config-fcalias)# device-alias commit

Create two new zones:

FC-SWITCH-01(config-zone)# zone name VM101-HBA1_VNX-5600-08-SPA6 vsan 45
FC-SWITCH-01(config-zone)# member fcalias VNX5600-08-SPA6
FC-SWITCH-01(config-zone)# member fcalias VM101-HBA1
FC-SWITCH-01(config-zone)# zone name VM102-HBA1_VNX-5600-08-SPB7 vsan 45
FC-SWITCH-01(config-zone)# member fcalias VNX5600-08-SPB7
FC-SWITCH-01(config-zone)# member fcalias VM102-HBA1
FC-SWITCH-01(config-zone)# zone commit vsan 45

Commit operation initiated. Check zone status

Now add the two new zones to a zoneset:

FC-SWITCH-01(config)# zoneset name ZS_VSAN170 vsan 45
FC-SWITCH-01(config-zoneset)# member VM101-HBA1_VNX-5600-08-SPA6
FC-SWITCH-01(config-zoneset)# member VM102-HBA1_VNX-5600-08-SPB7
FC-SWITCH-01(config-zoneset)# zone commit vsan 45


Maximum distances using fiber cable types OM1/OM2/OM3/OM4/OS1

What are the maximum distances using different fiber grades?


fiber cable specs graph

The graphs show the direction where OM-specs are going compared to distances.

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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
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.
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