As you would expect, the IBM XIV supports a very wide range of Host Operating Systems. Even better, for most of these Operating Systems, IBM makes available (free-of-charge) a multipathing kit to install on these hosts. We call this the Host Attachment Kit, or HAK. You can find all of the available Host Attachment Kits at the IBM Support site found here. You will find HAKs for AIX, HP-UX, Linux, Solaris and Microsoft Windows.
What is important is that if the HAK is available for your Operating System, we need you to always install it on every host that attaches to IBM XIV. We ask this for the following reasons:
- By having the XIV HAK installed, your hosts are much easier for IBM to support. This is because installing the HAK ensures that your multipathing is setup correctly. When you installing the HAK and then run the xiv_attach command, the HAK will adjust system parameters to optimal values. For example on Windows hosts it ensures that the required MPIO Service is running and that the recommended hot fixes are installed. For Linux hosts it ensures that the multipath.conf file is correct. Every time you map a new volume from your IBM XIV, use should run xiv_attach to ensure you continue to have the correct settings.
- If you have an issue that requires IBM support, the HAK supplies a command known as xiv_diag. This command creates a zipped host log file that will contain useful and relevant information for IBM to analyze.
- The HAK supplies a very valuable command known as xiv_devlist which lets you list all attached volumes and match the host ID to the XIV volume name. If your host is attached to multiple XIVs, you can also map each volume back to it's relevant XIV. Its a command I cannot live without... I love it!
Here is an example of what xiv_devlist will tell you. In this example I have run it on a Windows 2008 machine, but the output is basically the same regardless of host operating system. You can see the operating system identifier (the Device as reported by the operating system, in my example PHYSICALDRIVE0), the name of the volume (as seen on the XIV, in my example W2K8X64-H02_BOOT - Exchange) and the serial number of the XIV providing the volume (in my example 6000081)
The operating system device identifier lets you map an XIV volume from XIV to host. So in this example, I know that the Windows (C drive, which is Windows Disk 0, maps to a volume on the XIV known as W2K8X64-H02_BOOT - Exchange.
And to finish, there are several other commands that are very helpful. For instance thexiv_fc_admin -P command will tell you your WWPNs.
C:\Windows\system32> xiv_fc_admin -P
21:00:00:0d:60:13:b0:8c: [QLogic IBM FCEC Fibre Channel Adapter]: IBM FCEC
21:00:00:0d:60:13:b0:8d: [QLogic IBM FCEC Fibre Channel Adapter]: IBM FCEC
Another useful command is xiv_fc_admin -R because it rescans your bus. In some operating systems it is not obvious how to do this (other than reboot of course).
The nice thing is that regardless of your host operating system, the commands are the same. This is possible because they use the Python programming language. You may notice Python being installed as xpyv when you install the HAK (it is so named to ensure it doesn't interfere with any other Python installs you have).
So please install the HAK on every host that attaches to XIV. You will be making everyones life a lot easier (especially your own).
Oh and by the way, you can confirm whether your Host Operating System can be attached to the XIV by consulting the IBM System Storage Interoperation Center (or SSIC). If the HAK is not available for your Operating System, the SSIC will list other Vendor approved multipathing solutions (such as Veritas DMP).
Hi Team! Just wanted to let everyone know that VisioCafe has been updated with IBM's latest official stencils for use with Microsoft Visio. These include all models of the Storwize V7000, including the newest models: The 2076-312 and 2076-324 (which have the dual port 10 Gbps iSCSI card).
Here is the link to VisioCafe. The Storwize V7000 stencils are in both the IBM-Disk as well as the IBM-Full packages.
Here is a screen capture of the Node Cannisters in the 2076-324. I have circled one of the shiny new 10 Gbps iSCSI cards.
So please stop using the stencils I previously supplied on my IBM developerWorks blog and switch to the official set.
And if you have some examples of Visio diagrams that include the Storwize V7000 I would love to see (and share) them.
I found a link to great video on Jason Boches Virtualization blog and I thought I would post it here as well.
What the video shows is 70 minutes worth of take-offs and landings at Logan International Airport in Boston, compressed into 150 seconds. Its an amazing piece of footage and very cleverly done. Seen anything equally as clever? Would love to hear about it. Enjoy!
A quick blog post about XIV call home..... As with most IBM products, the XIV can call home to IBM using e-mail notifications. I still meet people who call this dial-home, which reflects the 20th century practice of using modems to provide a Remote Support Facility (RSF). The e-mail notifications sent by the XIV allow IBM to track any issues that may occur and respond where appropriate.
This is all good, provided IBM know how to get hold of you if there actually is an issue. I had a situation recently where our internal client records had an out-of-date phone number. This led to a delay in problem resolution, a delay which was avoidable.
One way to help prevent delays is by keeping the XIV up to date with your contact details and as usual, the XIV GUI makes this easy.
From the XIV GUI, head to the Support menu as per the screen capture below:
From there you will find several tabs, three of which are well worth filling in, these being:
- Customer Information: Where is the machine?
- Primary Contact: Who should IBM try contacting first?
- Secondary Contact: Who should IBM try contacting second?
Actually don't hesitate to fill in ALL the tabs, but the point of this exercise is to at least ensure IBM knowwhere the machine is and who to call.
Its worth ensuring the XIV is updated if your support center phone numbers change, or if you relocate the machine to a different site. At some client sites, I find the primary contact is a single person (whose mobile number sadly ends up being the 24 hour storage help desk). If you are that person.... and your leaving the company.... ensure your name and number gets updated by your replacement. After all, its one thing to have IBM calling you at 3am when you manage the machine... but to be rung after you have left the company? Mmmm... thats just plain annoying.
Its a story told many times.....
You order a new storage solution and the world is good.
It's lovely, it's new and it offers mountains of new disk space.... but then... you.... fill it up!
So its off to order some new disks.
The order is in, the order is filled, the disks arrive.
What next? How about we just stick them in?
By just inserting the new disks, they will be made available to configure into RAID arrays from the Internal tab of the Physical Storage Group.
If the drives are showing as Unused, mark them to be Candidate. If they are already showing as Candidate (like most of the disks in my example below), then you are ready to hit the Configure Storage button and follow the guidance of the Wizard.
Of course maybe your enclosures are all full. In this case it's time to order another enclosure (remember we can have up to 10). Once you have racked the enclosure up and cabled the new enclosure to the correct SAS Chain, then use the Add Enclosure menu item shown below to kick off the configuration:
Just a very quick blog post to point you to another blog post that I found particularly pleasing. To be fair, the independent judges on the panel were the ones that selected IBM, rather than EMC itself.... but the recognition is well deserved. Enjoy!
Storage IT offers up many choices, some of which provoke argument so heated, you could almost describe the adherents as religious. I think you might know the sort of arguments I am talking about:
- File vs Block I/O
- iSCSI vs Fibre Channel
- CLI vs GUI
OK.... so maybe that last one isn't quite in the same league. But it is still fascinating to see the variation in usage patterns from sites where every command (of any description) is run via a command line interface (a CLI), to sites where the CLI is viewed with either great fear... or even greater distaste. There are those who view the CLI as... well... so 1970s.....
But the reality is that the CLI will always be with us for one principal reason: scripting. If you cannot script it, you cannot automate it (well actually thats not true, but stick with me here, I am on a roll). Every single major implementation I have ever done (whether it be SVC, XIV, DS8000), I have automated with scripting. I regularly use the concatenatecommand in Excel to build large numbers of commands that I can then run as a script.
So its pleasing to see that all of our products are working towards making the scripters life even easier. For example the XIV has offered a command log in the GUI for some time. I blogged about it here. You simply do a command once in the GUI and then consult the log to find the syntax, making scripting very easy:
With last years release of SVC 6.1 and Storwize V7000, we added this level of smarts to those two products as well. Now every command you run in the GUI will offer you the exact CLI command that was used under-the-covers to do this work. Simply toggle the details tab on the completion panel to see the command (or toggle it back to hide it!).
This weeks announcement of release 6.2 of the SVC and Storwize V7000 firmware, has brought in two more important usability improvements:
- Now when logging onto the CLI using individual user-ids, you can logon using the actual user-id itself, rather than admin. This change has been a long time coming and removes the confusion generated by logging onto the GUI as sayanthony, but then logging into a matching CLI session as admin. Now you would logon to either interface as anthony.
- Now when issuing CLI commands, you have the choice to drop the svctask and svcinfo headers. So instead of issuing the command svcinfo lsnode, you can issue the command lsnode. Both choices remain valid (so we don't break your existing scripts). Making this change is part of a bigger plan to move to a more common CLI.
And there are more improvements coming, so as always, watch this space....
.... and please... share with me... are you a GUI... or a CLI person? Whats your reasoning behind your choice?
*** Updated 25/07/2011: The VAAI plugin can be downloaded from here: http://www-933.ibm.com/support/fixcentral/swg/selectFixes?parent=ibm~Storage_Disk&product=ibm/Storage_Disk/IBM+Storwize+V7000+(2076)&release=6.2&platform=All&function=all ***
The May 9 announcement that SVC and Storwize V7000 will support VAAI is very welcome news. The fundamental point is that the SVC and Storwize V7000 virtualise external storage. This means that the mountains of DS3000, DS4000, DS5000, AMS1000s, CX3s, etc, that are currently being virtualized behind these products, will inherit VAAI as soon as the virtualization layer supports it. This is yet another feature to add to the list of functions that IBM Storage virtualization can provide, such as: EasyTier; Thin Provisioning; multiple consistency groups; snapshots; remote mirroring; dynamic data relocation... the list goes on.
In addition we are releasing a plug-in for vCenter that enables VMware administrators to manage their SVC or Storwize V7000 from within the VMware management environment
Functions will include:
- Volume provisioning and resizing
- Displaying information about volumes
- Viewing general information about Storwize V7000 and SVC systems
- Receiving events and alerts for Storwize V7000 systems and SVC attached to vSphere
- The Storwize V7000 and SVC plug-in for vCenter will also supports virtualized external disk systems
The plug-in will be available at no charge on June 30 (for Version 6.1 software) and July 31 (Version 6.2). Here is a sneak peak of what it will look like:
And to get an independent viewpoint have a read of Stephen Fosketts blog entry here:
With the announced release of DS8000 6.1 code, IBM has moved its three major storage systems to a common GUI platform. This makes me think of aircraft manufacturers who utilize a common cockpit design. For airlines, this is major drawcard when choosing aircraft models. It cuts down on training costs for your pilots. Except in storage IT, there is a major difference in motivation....
First and foremost, the design of the XIV GUI (that has inspired such dramatic change in IBMs other GUIs), was made possible, not by clever XIV GUI developers (don't get me wrong - they ARE clever), but by a remarkably user-friendly architecture. The XIV GUI is a miracle of ease-of-use for end users, made possible because first and foremost, by design, the XIV made it almost impossible to make it hard.
The good news for Storage administrators, is that unlike a jet aircraft, where a pilot needs to spend hundreds of hours in the cockpit before they are considered potentially competent, the XIV GUI can be picked up in minutes and lends itself very well to casual contact. You don't need to keep using it to stay competent.
The challenge for IBM was take more complex products, which require more user decisions, and make the usage experience just as easy. To add to this, the SVC and DS8000 GUIs were driven by WebSphere. Changing these GUIs would require a complete re-write to employ Java script.
First off the rank was the SVC and Storwize V7000. With the release last year of the SVC 6.1 update, the transformation was nothing less than remarkable. End user experience ruled every decision. The key again is that the user does not need to spend hundred of hours learning this GUI or re-learning it every time they go to perform a configuration task. Everything is in its right place. Its much more than an XIV-like GUI. Its a GUI that took the ease of use experience of the XIV and used that to inspire something just as remarkable.
With the release of the 6.1 update for the DS8000, we complete another fundamental step towards a truly common GUI. The DS8000 GUI has undergone a complete re-write. Essentially it has been rebuilt from the ground up. This highlights something fundamental: It confirms the DS8000 has a very strong roadmap.
As you can see from the image below, the transformation from the old design (to the left) to an ease of use model is complete:
In short it a common flight deck, that almost anyone can fly.
Here is a list of all the IBM Asia Pacific and Japan Announcement Letters that were released on May 9. They are in several sections:
New disk drive option for IBM System Storage DS3950 Express Disk Systems
IBM System Storage DS3500 Express Storage System supports next-generation, high-performance 10Gb iSCSI technology
IBM Scale Out Network Attached Storage 1.2.0 supports multiple petabytes of storage
IBM Information Archive offers a new Server (2231-S3M),Disk Controller (2231-D3A), and Disk Expansion Drawer (2231-D3B)
IBM System Storage DS8700 and DS8800 (M/T 239x) delivers DS8000 Function Authorization for I/O Priority Manager and other advanced features
New disk drive option for IBM System Storage DS5020 disk systems
IBM System Storage N series N6270 offers enterprise-class Fibre Channel, iSCSI, and NAS storage with gateway options
IBM System Storage N series function authorizations for IBM System Storage N6270
IBM System Storage DS8700 and DS8800 (M/T 242x) delivers DS8000 I/O Priority Manager and advanced features to enhance data protection for multi-tenant copy services
IBM System Storage EXN3500 SAS expansion unit provides storage for IBM System Storage N series PCIe systems
IBM System Storage DS5000 series supports next generation, high-performance 10Gb iSCSI technology
IBM System Storage Tape Cartridge 3599 models provide enhanced capacity for enterprise tape drives
IBM Virtualization Engine TS7700 is designed to bring efficiency to tape operation and offer versatile models that support attachment to tape libraries
New features for IBM System Storage TS7650 ProtecTIER Deduplication Appliance (3958 AP1) and IBM System Storage TS7650G Gateway Server (3958DD4)
IBM System Storage TS1140 Tape Drive Model E07 delivers higher performance, reliability, and capacity
IBM System Storage TS3500 Tape Library Connector and TS1140 Tape Drive support for the IBM TS3500 Tape Library
New IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller Storage Engine offers 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity
New IBM Storwize V7000 Disk System models 312 and 324 offer 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity
IBM Scale Out Network Attached Storage Software V1.2.0 for high availability environments
IBM announces many-to-many, bi-directional replication for IBM System Storage ProtecTIER Enterprise Edition V3.1 and ProtecTIER Appliance Edition V3.1
IBM System Storage ProtecTIER Entry Edition Version 3.1 supports many-to-many, bi-directional data replication
IBM System Storage Linear Tape File System Library Edition Version 2.1
IBM Storwize V7000 Version 6.2 delivers support for VMware VAAI, real-time performance monitoring, and 10 Gigabit iSCSI connectivity
IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller Version 6.2 delivers support for VMware VAAI, real-time performance monitoring, and 10 Gigabit iSCSI connectivity
There are several withdrawals, but these are only because replacement products have been announced above.
Hardware withdrawal: IBM N series N6060 (2858 Model A22) and N6070 (2858 Model A21) -- Replacements available
Hardware withdrawal: IBM TS7740 (3957) Model V06 and IBM TS7720 (3957) Model VEA and associated features - Replacements available
Hardware Withdrawal: Select models and features for Information Archive (MT 2231) - Some replacements available
Hardware withdrawal: Feature number 3447 from IBM System Storage TS7650 and TS7650G ProtecTIER solutions - Replacement available
Hardware withdrawal: IBM Scale Out Network Attached Storage Models 2851-SI1 and 2851-SS1 - Replacements available
Hardware withdrawal: IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller 2145 Model CF8 - Replacement available
Its that time of the year again - announcement time! And the May 9 set of storage announcements by IBM is one of the richest set of announcements I have ever seen. Practically every storage product has received updates with new features stretching from Tape Drives to Tape libraries to Disk system updates (from the smallest system to the largest system). We have NAS updates and we have storage virtualization updates. I struggled to decide which subject to start on, to do justice across the board. So let me first list just some of the products that have received updates:
TS1140 - Super fast, massive capacity, enterprise tape technology.
For many years IBM has been using its own technology (as an alternative to LTO) to offer clients a higher class of enterprise tape. The TS1140 is the fourth generation of this technology. Using the new JC media which has 4TB of native capacity, then presuming a compression ratio to 2.5 to 1, you could place 10 TB of compressed data onto a single cart. And you could do this at 250 MBps sustained, which according to Oracle, makes the TS1140 the fastest tape drive in the world! The TS1140 will happily burst at up to 650 MBps - so we now have a tape drive that can truly utilize a 8 Gbps fibre channel port. It reinforces the green credentials of tape by using only 46W of power and supports LTFS, the Long Term File System, which leads me to....
LTFS - Long Term File System
Speaking of LTFS, we have enhanced the LTFS standard to now support tape libraries. So get this idea.... you attach a tape library to your server. All the tapes in the library appear to the operating system as directories. You can select any of these directories and the library will open it up (i.e. mount the tape). Now the contents of the tape itself appear as a directory structure, from which you can add or remove files. In other words, the library and the tapes can be manipulated without any form of backup software sitting between you and the operating system. After the initial tape mount, the directory is locally cached, so you don't need to mount the tape again to see what is on it (and to search the directory). This whole concept has the most amazing potential use cases.
IBM has a truly fantastic tape library with the TS3500. Now we add the ability to shuttle tapes between aisles to create a larger logical library. How do you like the idea of a logical tape library that can hold 300,000 cartridges totaling 2.7 exabytes?
The IBM TS7700 is our Mainframe virtual tape library solution. It gets a major performance boost with the introduction of Power 7 servers plus many other improvements.
In terms of disk we have enhancements to the following products:
DS8000 Family with release 6.1
When we released the DS8800 last year, we committed to deliver a merged code library which would support both DS8700 and DS8800. This would ensure that they both have the same feature set. We now deliver on that commitment, plus supply an enormous set of new features and functions for both products: so both products continue to get major enhancements and updates. These include:
Easy Tier enhancements: Any two disk technologies can now be placed in a pool
I/O Priority Manager: Which allows for quality of service management.
Multi-tenancy management: Allows for the creation of separate Copy Services domains.
Larger LUN sizes: Allows the ability to create LUNs up to 16 TiB in size.
Enhanced GUI: We will now have a common GUI for DS8700, DS8800, Storwize V7000, SVC and XIV.
8Gb/s host adapters for the DS8700
V7000 and SVC Family with release 6.2
The IBM SAN Volume Controller and Storwize V7000 share a common code library, so improvements are common. In the 6.2 release we deliver the following enhancements:
Flash Copy Improvements: Allow remote copies of flashcopy targets
SVC 2145-CG8 Node: New hardware model
10 Gb iSCSI: For both Storwize V7000 and SVC
SVC Solid State Drive Support: Allowing SVCs to use internal SSDs for EasyTier
VMware VAAI: All three VAAI primitives now implemented.
Real Time Performance Statistics: A new GUI panel giving performance info.
Storwize V7000 System Clustering: Allowing us to cluster two Storwize V7000s together.
The DS3500 is IBM's entry level disk rocket ship. I am a huge fan of this box for clients with smaller or point solution requirements. We have enhanced the product with the following:
Double the drives: We now support 192 drives.
Scheduled flashcopies: Gives the ability to have scheduled flashcopies run without external intervention.
Improved volume copy: Gives the ability to create a volume copy without stopping host access.
10 Gb iSCSI: Allows us to add 10 Gb iSCSI to the DS3500.
The DS5000 range consists of DS5020 (also sold as DS3950), the DS5100 and the DS5300. Improvements include:
Scheduled flashcopies: Gives the ability to have scheduled flashcopies run without external intervention.
Improved volume copy: Gives the ability to create a volume copy without stopping host access.
10 Gb iSCSI: Allows us to add 10 Gb iSCSI to the DS5100 and DS5300
T10-PI: Allows selected operating systems to add meta data to track write integrity.
SAS drives: We are adding a 600 GB SAS drive that has a SAS to FC interposer so it can be installed in a EXP5000
I have not listed all of the product announcements. There are improvements to SONAS, our nSeries products, Information Archive, Real Time Compression device.... the list goes on.
I will write up another post with all the links....
I had some fun with my wife's computer this weekend.
She called me over because she was getting multiple messages telling her that the harddrive was failing, all being delivered by a very fancy GUI that looked like this:
I became suspicious immediately: Microsoft have never produced a GUI that looks so slick. Another big hint was that the Help & Support button tried to take me to a very strange URL. I say tried because her machine by this point was close to being a vegetable. The All Programs tab contained nothing, there were no desktop icons and the C: reported that it contained no files. We could not browse to the NET because all icons to start a browser were gone and even when I started a browser manually (from Start --> Run), the browser was set to use an unusual proxy.
Fortunately Doctor Google was very helpful and I rapidly found this URL:
I used the tools and instructions found there and was able to get her computer back into a working state. Many thanks to the authors of that page.
This experience brought home three lessons:
- Her employers anti-virus is useless (her laptop runs a corporate load).
- Google images searches can return poisoned URLs that contain malware. Have a read of this excellent article. My wife was doing a Google Images search, looking for pictures of Wheat Rust, when the infection occurred. I am loath to work out which URL it was, as I don't wish to risk a return to any of those poisoned sites.
- Using no-script is a very good idea, and one that I will be implementing on her PC, especially until her employer comes up with a better anti-virus regime.
All of this excitement distracted me from the main event, preparing for the May 9 announcements. You will see a log of blog posts over the next few days detailing what our developers have been up to. Prepare to hear about some very cool stuff.
In the meantime... feel free to share any other methods you have to avoid malware... and download and install MalwareBytes. It is a very nice piece of software that costs nothing to install and use.
I recently had a client ask me if I had seen this problem in Cisco Device manager: Device Manager was showing them 100% utilisation for CPU on one of their MDS9509s. I had a look at the show tech-support and curiously show process cpu showed practically no CPU usage at all. I suggested a display problem and sure enough, Cisco confirmed it:
Symptom: The show system resources command shows high CPU usage even when there is not
much activity on the switch. In one instance, the CPU utility (user and kernel)
was always 100 percent.
Conditions: You might see this symptom 248 days after the system came up
Curiously the Cisco tech support person stated that in fact a CP switchover every 497 days would prevent the issue reoccurring. This is curious because 248 days is close to half of 497 days. And 497 is ITs number of the beast.
The reason that 497 is a problem number is because of the use of a 32 bit counter to record uptime. If you record a tick for every 10 msec of uptime, then a 32-bit counter will overflow after approximately 497.1 days. This is because a 32 bit counter equates to 2^32, which can count 4,294,967,296 ticks. Because a tick is counted every 10 msec, we create 8,640,000 ticks per day (100*60*60*24). So after 497.102696 days, the counter will overflow. What happens next depends on good programming.
Some classic bugs can be found here, here, here and here. Most of these bugs are old and will almost certainly not affect anybody. But remain on notice: 497 day bugs are still possible. Just Google the search argument: 497.1 day bug.
Now let me be clear: I am not aware of any active disruptive, bring-down-your-business type 497 day bugs. The sky is not falling. But historically many vendors products have had 497 day bugs, some of them nasty. I ponder whether we should schedule a switch reboot every 496 days just to avoid the possibility of a 497 day bug. Its an interesting idea. I certainly endorse staggering initial switch reboots by at least an hour, so that a simultaneous 497 day reboot bug (should one be lurking), would not reboot every switch in every fabric at the same time. And in case your think I am picking on Cisco, when I looked at the client switch in question, it was showing a kernel uptime of 562 days, 23 hours, 35 minutes, 24 seconds. Thats some solid uptime.
Back from a short break (for Easter and the School Holidays) to three great pieces of news:
- A new series of Doctor Who is screening.
- Will and Kates wedding went off without a hitch (its not often I get to yell at the dog to stop barking at possums because there is a Royal Wedding on).
- The VAAI driver for XIV has an official download link.
Ok... maybe the Royal Wedding has no place in my blog, but the VAAI link is very appreciated.
Two ways to get to the driver:
- Get it directly from here
- Go to fix Central and select it from the download list: http://www-933.ibm.com/support/fixcentral/
Remember, your XIV needs to be on 10.2.4a firmware, so you need to be talking to your IBM Service Representative to schedule a concurrent firmware update before you turn the VAAI functions on.
Now if your going, um... what is VAAI and how does it help? Check this blog post out:
If your asking, hey what else will 10.2.4a code bring me?
- How about better write performance?
- How about QoS?
- 10.2.4a code also brings the ability to do 'truck' initialization of an async pair (which lets you pre-load an async secondary for faster initial mirroring, or to convert from sync to async without re-mirroring all your data).
- It also lets you format a snapshot, which means you can keep a snapshot in place and mapped to a host, but it will not consume any space.