Anthony's Blog: Using System Storage - An Aussie Storage Blog
Its been two weeks since I came back to work from a truly fantastic vacation with my family.
And boy what a busy two weeks it has been....
IBM had a great Q2 and since one of my roles is to deliver professional services, this means I am busy helping IBM clients implement their new IBM Storage Solutions.
My main focus at the moment is on DS8700 and XIV and since we had some great successes with both products, I have plenty to work on.
On top of that I am presenting at the Power and Storage Symposium in Melbourne, August 10-13. My two (separate) topics are on XIV Implementation and DS8700 Storage Configuration.
Which means even more things to keep me occupied.
In addition I have just received some exciting news that my application to do an IBM Redbook residency has been accepted.
IBM Redbooks are a great resource and help IBM truly stand out in the market place as an open and honest company with a real commitment to our clients and our products.
IBM Redbooks are the ultimate resource in answering the what, where, why and how questions you need answered when installing and using IBM Products (both software and hardware).
I am not aware of any other vendor who produces documentation of this standard.
Residencies are run in locations where we have large quantities of demonstration and lab gear. This includes Tucson, San Jose, Raleigh, Almaden, Hursley in the UK, Mainz in Germany....
The list goes on...
The residents are normally IBMers, but this is not always the case (so why not apply?). More importantly the residents bring their real world experience to these books.
This particular residency is on DS8000, focusing on this years enhancements to the DS8000 product.
The residency is not listed on the IBM Redbooks residency list because it is for IBMers only. So watch this space (its going be VERY exciting).
It may not surprise you, but residencies are actually quite expensive to run. IBM needs to get a return on investment, so an IBM Redbook residency is only run for products that IBM is strongly investing in.
For products that have a future.
So imagine my surprise when at the same time as this, I read Barry Burke's latest offering to the world.
I am certainly not scared to point anyone at his blog. As Tony Pearson rightly commented in Barry's (moderated) comments section, it is a "
It seems Barry and I live in alternate realities. It just suprises me that his employer chooses to do business this way.
I also left a comment on his blog. His response to me was interesting, he said: "
That at least I can agree with.
As for the accuracy of what he says? For IBM customers (especially the many who have purchased DS8700), I encourage you to ask your local IBM Sales Rep to share with you the DS8000 roadmap.
I think you will be quite impressed.
In the mean time.... I am going to be busy for the foreseeable future.....
(edited 27/07 to add more details on Redbooks)
I recently listed to a great Podcast on VAAI from Greg Knierieman over at the Storage Monkeys website. You can find the podcast here (the whole site is well worth a visit).
He was talking with Marc Farley (his co-host, from 3PAR), Chad Sakac (from EMC) and Chris Evans (the 'Storage Architect'). The topic was VMWares newly announced VAAI.
To quote from the podcast, VAAI is a set of APIs focused on the VMWare kernel to off-load various functions onto the storage.
To get the newly announced VAAI functions you need to upgrade to the newly announced VSphere 4.1 and you will need to upgrade your storage hardware firmware to a version that supports it (when such a version comes out).
Some of the major new functions are:
Hardware accelerated locking (to avoid the need for ESX to use SCSI reserves when doing meta-data updates)
Hardware accelerated full copy (to help VMWare clone data without having to do lots of read and writes)
Hardware accelerated zero (to avoid the need to send vast numbers of 'empty' SCSI write I/Os to zero out blocks)
Given who was on the call, the conversation focused mainly on what EMC, 3PAR and to some extent what NetApp are doing in regards to this development.
Apart from some (good natured?) digging at HP, no other Vendor was really mentioned.
One thing that was mentioned was that some storage hardware architectures will lend themselves far better to VAAI than others.
In particular Chad mentioned that he would expect fullcopy and hardware accelerated zero would work better on V-Max than CLARiiON, due to hardware architecture differences that also benefit 3PAR.
I found that a really interesting observation.
What wasn't mentioned on the podcast was XIV.
So to be clear, the architecture of XIV lends itself very very well to the changes required to support VAAI.
To give an example of how we have done this with other vendors, XIV firmware 10.2.0a brought in support for Symantec Storage Foundation Thin Reclamation.
XIV support for Symantec's Storage Foundation and Thin Reclamation API means that when data is deleted by a user who uses the thin provisioning aware Veritas File System (VxFS), XIV will immediately free unutilised blocks and reclaim such blocks, rather than leaving them with 'garbage' data that wastes space.
So have no doubts, XIVs architecture is very 'friendly' to the sorts of things VMware are trying to achieve with VAAI. To underscore this, Chad also said that a VMware goal was that VMware admins should need "no requisite knowledge of the underlying infrastructure for any task". The goal is to use policies instead. Given this goal, XIV is also a perfect match. With XIV there is no need to think about raid types, raid sizes, disk types, disk sizes, LUN allegiances and trespassing, controller workload balancing or hot spot detection prevention or correction. All of these concerns simply don't exist.
The good news is that XIV is working with the VMware Reference Architecture Lab and the statement of direction is that we will announce VAAI support for XIV later this year. XIV continues to be an excellent choice for VMware environments and when VAAI support is added to XIV, this will only improve.
Finally, Chad made a great quote on the podcast. He said: "Never trust any vendor when they talk about what other vendors are doing"
I think this is a really great statement and one that everyone should take to heart.
I spent the first week of my recent vacation in Sydney (I live in Melbourne).
For someone who has spent many weeks in Sydney on business, this was the first time I actually went there as a real tourist.
First up, it was a great break and my family and I can heartily recommend Sydney to anyone (from any part of the world) who is looking for a "holiday with the lot".
As part of our planning, we clearly had a budget to work to as well as many idea about things to do.
Of course one of the big considerations was where to stay. I did a great deal of Googling around but relied on TripAdvisor heavily to help make our final decision.
I really love tripadvisor for two reasons:
So what has that go to do with IT? Well those who follow storage blogs will have seen a spike recently in discussions on two subjects:
I hope that its obvious that I work for IBM, so I accept that you may choose to view anything I say as potentially coloured by my relationship with my employer.
It has left me pondering where clients should go to get a good handle on what really matters most to them.
To chose the hotel that best matched my holiday requirements I used TripAdvisor.
But what can clients do?
I personally read many vendor and 'independent' blogs to try and ensure my 'world view' is as realistic and informed as possible.
There are some great blogs out there, but I do not know many of these people or their organizations personally. So I always read them through a haze of mild cynicism.
So is there a TripAdvisor for Storage IT? A place for genuine end-users to share their experience with specific solutions?
I have to say that XIV is one product that is crying out for such a beast. My experience is that client satisfaction levels with their XIVs is remarkably high but is that always reflected on the Web?
So far the best place I have seen for shared experiences from 'real' people is the XIV group on LinkedIn.
It would be great to see more actual end users head over there and contribute (so please do!).
Finally I should also point out that if there is a business relationship between IBM (my employer) and TripAdvisor or Linked In, I am not aware of it.
My opinions on these organizations are totally my own.
And the hotel we stayed in? The Quay Grand on Circular Quay. The view from our balcony was priceless. Check it out:
Rob Jackard from the ATS Group has kindly supplied me with this great summation of recent updates to various parts of the IBM Support sites.
Its worth just running your eyes down the list to see if there is anything that might apply to you and your environment.
For XIV users, please update to the latest GUI release, version 2.4.3a (see the link below).
The release notes (which you can also find at the link below) detail an important fix that could prevent an outage when mapping new volumes
to a clustered group of hosts which uses private mappings, (which you might do if you have separate dump or boot drives for clustered hosts).
DS3000 / DS4000 / DS5000:
(2010.06.21) Best Practices for Running an Oracle Database on an IBM Midrange Storage Subsystem.
(2010.06.15) IBM DS3500 ESM and firmware bundle version 3.16.
(2010.06.15) IBM DS3000 HDD firmware package version 4.7.
(2010.06.14) IBM DS3500 Controller Firmware bundle version 7.70.16.01.
(2010.06.03) Retain Tip# H196875: Upgrade from 6.xx firmware to 7.60.28.00 may fail - IBM System Storage.
NOTE: Affected configurations- DS4200 (Type: 1814), DS4700 (Type: 1814), DS4800 (Type: 1815). Release scheduled 2nd QTR 2010.
DS6000 / DS8000:
(2010.06.30) A quick capacity (physical/effective) table for DS6000 and DS8000.
(2010.06.30) Accelerate with ATS: DS8700 Easy Tier Webinar.
(2010.06.23) Potential Data Error on FlashCopy targets using Space Efficient FlashCopy (SEFLC) volumes after a DS8000 LPAR Failover or Failback.
(2010.06.21) IBM DS8000 Storage Virtualization Overview Including Storage Pool Striping, Thin Provisioning, Easy Tier.
(2010.06.02) Support for VMware Site Recovery Manager.
(2010.05.27) Enabling multipath SAN booting with DS8000 and DMMP.
(2010.07.02) Hard Disk Drive (HDD) Firmware for N series Publication Matrix.
(2010.06.29) Firmware release NA01 available for the Seagate SAS disk drive identifiers: X286_S15K6146A15, X287_S15K6288A15, and X289_S15K6420A15.
(2010.06.29) Firmware release NA01 available for the Seagate FC disk drive identifiers: X278_S15K6146F15, X279_S15K6288F15, and X291_S15K6420F15.
(2010.06.07) IBM System Storage N series FRU (Field Replaceable Unit) lists.
(2010.06.01) NEWS: Recommended Release for IBM System Storage N series Data ONTAP.
(2010.06.01) Data ONTAP 7.3.3 recommended for IBM Systems Storage N series.
(2010.06.14) IBM SAN b-type Firmware Version 6.x Release Notes.
(2010.06.01) Data Center Fabric Migration Guide.
(2010.06.16) IBM System Storage SVC Code V22.214.171.124.
(2010.06.16) 2145-CF8 Nodes May Stall on Error 231 During Upgrade to V126.96.36.199.
(2010.06.16) SAN Volume Controller Concurrent Compatibility and Code Cross Reference.
(2010.06.02) Support for VMware Site Recovery Manager.
(2010.06.02) SVC V5.1.0.x Cluster Nodes May Repeatedly Reboot When Performing Multiple Image Mode Migration Commands on the Same VDisk.
NOTE: This problem will be resolved in a future SVC release.
(2010.05.14) IBM System Storage SVC Code V188.8.131.52.
SSPC / TPC / TPC-R:
(2010.06.24) Accelerate with ATS: Working with TPC Disk- Midrange Edition.
(2010.06.24) Accelerate with ATS: TPC Disk Midrange Edition- Installation and Tailoring.
(2010.06.22) (IBM Internal/BP) Managing Virtualized Storage Environments with IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center.
(2010.06.21) TPC 4.1.x – Supported Storage Product List.
(2010.06.09) Latest Downloads for Tivoli Storage Productivity Center.
(2010.06.06) Ten things for the new TPC-SE Administrator to do to make TPC 4.1.1 more valuable.
(2010.06.04) Q2, 2010- IBM Tivoli TotalStorage Productivity Center Suite Customer Support Technical Information Update.
(2010.05.12) Tivoli Storage Productivity Center v4.1.x fix pack history technote (FAQ).
NOTE: Latest includes TPC 184.108.40.206 and TPC-R 220.127.116.11.
(2010.07.01) IBM XIV Host Attachment Kit for AIX version 1.5.2.
(2010.07.01) IBM XIV Remote Support Proxy version 1.0.0.
(2010.06.23) IBM XIV Management Tools (XIVGUI, XIVTop, XCLI) version 2.4.3a for all platforms.
(2010.06.23) IBM XIV XCLI (only) for Linux/AIX/Solaris/HPUX, version 2.4.3.
(2010.06.21) ATS XIV- Asynchronous Mirror Webinar.
(2010.06.10) IBM XIV Storage System Application Programming Interface Reference.
(2010.07.04) Oracle Architecture and Tuning on AIX v2.0.
(2010.06.30) Basic Monitoring of I/O on AIX.
(2010.06.11) AIX SDDPCM System Crash During a Dynamic Hardware Replacement of Controller A or B on a DS4K/DS5K Storage Subsystem
(2010.06.07) All hdisks and vpath devices must be removed from host system before upgrading to SDD host attachment script 18.104.22.168 and above. All MPIO hdisks must be removed from host system before upgrading to SDDPCM host attachment script 22.214.171.124.
(2010.06.04) SDDPCM open path failures and VIOS VTD configuration failures.
(2010.06.03) SDD User’s Guide correction for pcmquerypr tool.
So first up, I have been on leave for two weeks... thus my stunning silence
The good news is that I had a great break, the bad news was the size of my inbox on return
So for those of you who read my blog entry titled:
10 things I like about the IBM DS3500https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/blogs/anthonyv/entry/10_things_i_like_about_the_ibm_ds35002?lang=en
I now have reason number 11:
11. You can power it up with NO drives inserted and you can make configuration changes with only ONE drive inserted.
So why is this good?
The DS3200/DS300/DS3400 range has a requirement that four drives be installed before you power the box on, or configure it.
This means the smallest config you can order has to have four drives in it.
The DS3500 has removed that requirement, meaning you can order and build a machine with only one disk drive.
IBM documentation is in the process of being updated to reflect this.