On Friday November 18, 2011, IBMers around the world engaged in the worlds first group therapy session held entirely in Twitter! (well maybe not the first, and not really group therapy, but it sounds more dramatic when I put it like that).
It focused entirely on tweeting classic lines heard in day to day life at IBM, using the hashtag #stuffibmerssay. The result was an amusing out-pouring that kept growing as the day went on (and has not stopped). Karl Roche did a great summary write-up here where he captured some of the more classic stuff. Holly Neilson also wrote a nice blog post on the subject here.
You will notice many of the tweets focus on phone conferences, which are without a doubt the greatest contributor to and destroyer of, productivity in IBM. Classics such as this one came up again and again (and it's a common problem for me):
IBM recently announced the new System Storage DS3500 Express. The DS3500 is an entry level storage system that can be easily serviced and managed by an end-user. It is a very worthy successor to the DS3200/DS3300/DS3400 product line. So I thought I would share with you 10 things I really like about the new IBM DS3500 (in no particular order).
1) Its small
The base unit is only 2U in size and can hold either 12 of the 3.5" disks or 24 of the smaller 2.5" disks (depending on model). Each expansion drawer can also hold 12 of the 3.5" or 24 of the 2.5" disks (depending on model) and you can have 3 of them. So thats a potential 96 disks in 8U of rack space.
2) Its all SAS
In my opinion, Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) is the future of disk attachment. Traditional parallel SCSI is so 20th century and FATA didn't work out too well. I think SATA and FCAL attached disk will eventually be replaced by SAS and the DS3500 is all SAS at the disk back end and SAS by default at the host front end as well.
3) Its got flashcopy
The DS3500 can create two flashcopies without any extra licenses. I really like the fact that if your doing an OS or application upgrade, you can give yourself a quick roll-back point by just reserving some space for a flashcopy repository. This is also a great way to test whether flashcopy is right for your business and if so, buy the license to create more than 2 copies at a time.
4) Its got remote mirror
The DS3000 range up until now did not offer remote mirror capability. This meant that if you wanted a DR solution you needed to buy something to go over the top such as IBM SVC or Softek Replicator. The DS3500 now offers its own native replication that not only fills a spot but is compatible with existing DS4000s and DS5000s that you may already have in your business.
5) Its got nearline
So FATA disk may not have worked out, by nearline SAS is a far better alternative. The 2.5" model offers a 500 GB 7.2 K RPM nearline SAS drive. Or how about a 2 TB drive in the 3.5" form factor? Want some archive disk using nearline where the spindle count will still deliver good performance? Heres the solution.
6) Its green
If we accept that MAID was not the solution for the masses, the better thing is to simply do more with less, which is exactly what the DS3500 does. We are talking around 500W of power usage for a 48 disk two drawer solution (with 2.5" disks). Thats around half the power consumption of the equivalent model with 3.5" disks. This means less power drawn in and less hot air blown out.
7) One model to rule them all
The DS3500 comes in one model: SAS. You want fibre channel? No problem, just add the card. You instead want iSCSI? Same deal, just add the card. All models retain the SAS adapters which are proving so popular in the rack and blade server space.
You need a point solution to provide data-at-rest encryption? Here it is with 300 GB and 600 GB Self Encrypting drives that protect your data with no performance impact. Even better is that the software to manage encryption is rolled into the DS Storage Manager. Talking of which...
9) Easy Management
The DS3500 continues to use an intuitive and easy to use GUI which now includes all the dynamic volume management. This is an improvement over previous models where this had to be done via command line.
10) Its cheap
Being entry level it is priced for that market. You could also place it behind the SVC for a quick encryption solution or as a VDisk mirror repository.
Right now I am working on giving a client a recommended version of firmware for their Cisco MDS Fibre Channel switches. For FICON, the recommendations are easy, but for Open Systems there are so many choices. So what am I going to recommend?
FICON Switches and Directors
For FICON switches, sticking to the FICON (IBM Mainframe Fibre Connection) recommended versions (which are determined by the IBM System z Mainframe team), is a very good strategy. The best place to get these is here (standard IBM logon is required). Just look along the right hand column for the release letters.
The SAN-OS and NX-OS release notes found on the Cisco website also show recommended versions for FICON. For instance have at the look at the FICON recommendations table in the releases notes for version 5.2.2a that you can find here. The upgrade path is just below the table I have linked to. This link will get outdated over time (as newer versions come out), but you can list all the release notes here.
If you are using a IBM TS7700 you should also be aware of this page on the IBM Techdocs site.
So based on current versions, if you are running SAN-OS 3.3.1c or below you need to move to 4.2.7b (as per the non-disruptive upgrade path). I strongly recommend you get to at least version 4.2.7b and start planning to move to release 5.2.2 (provided your hardware supports it).
For open systems attached Fibre Channel switches there are a number of versions to choose from. There are five things to consider:
Being on the very latest version has a small potential risk (of un-discovered bugs). However being on very old versions has a greater implicit risk (of being exposed to KNOWN bugs). Just because you have not hit a bug yet, does not insure you from potential issues, especially if your SAN is growing.
Your hardware. Some older Generation hardware is not supported at higher levels (for example Supervisor-1 cards cannot go past SAN-OS 3.3.5b) but later generation hardware is not supported at lower levels (for example Fabric 3 modules need NX-OS 5.2.2). The Cisco recommended versions page is the best place to confirm this.
End of life. As SAN-OS reached end of development in 2011, 3.3.5b is the best choice for all hardware that cannot upgrade to NX-OS. However be aware that some Cisco Generation 1 hardware (such as 2 Gbps capable hardware) will go end of service in September 2012 (for example Supervisor-1 cards and MDS 9120 switches). Links for this are below. Of course your service provider may choose to offer support beyond the Cisco end of life date, but instead of updating code, maybe you should be updating hardware.
You need to also upgrade your Fabric Manager to at least the same or a higher version than your switches are running. One important thing to be aware of is that from version 5.2, Cisco Fabric Manager has been merged into a new product called Cisco Data Center Network Manager (DCNM).
It is ironic that only days after I wrote that 497 is the IT number of the beast, I learn that Linux has another unfortunate number: 208.
The reason for this is a defect in the internal Linux kernel used in recent firmware levels of SVC, Storwize V7000 and Storwize V7000 Unified nodes. This defect will cause each node to reboot after 208 days of uptime. This issue exists in unfixed versions of the 6.2 and 6.3 level of firmware, so a large number of users are going to need to take some action on this (except those who are still on a 4.x, 5.x, 6.0 or 6.1 release). If you have done a code update after June 2011, then you are probably affected. This means that if you are an IBM client you need to read this alert now and determine how far you are into that 208 day period. If you are an IBMer or an IBM Business Partner, you need to make sure your clients are aware of this issue, though hopefully they have signed up for IBM My Notifications and have already been notified by e-mail.
In short what needs to happen is that you must:
Determine your current firmware level.
Check the table in the alert to determine if you are affected at all, and if so, how far you are potentially into the 208 day period.
Prior to the 208 day period finishing, either reboot your nodes (one at a time, with a decent interval between them) or install a fixed level of software (as detailed in the alert).
To give you an example of the process, my lab machine is on software version 184.108.40.206 which you can see in the screen capture below. So when I check the table in the alert, I see that version 220.127.116.11 was made available on January 24, 2012, which means the 208 day period cannot possibly end before August 19, 2012.
Earliest possible date that a system running this release could hit the 208 day reboot.
SAN Volume Controller and Storwize V7000 Version 6.3
30 November 2011
25 June 2012
24 January 2012
19 August 2012
Regardless, I need to know the uptime of my nodes, so I download the Software Upgrade Test Utility (in case you have an older copy, we need at least version 7.9) and run it using the Upgrade Wizard (NOTE! We are NOT updating anything here, just checking):
I Launch the Upgrade Wizard, use it to upload the tool and follow the prompts to run it, so that I get to see the output of that tool. The output in this example shows the uptime of each node is 56 days, so I have a maximum of 152 days remaining before I have to take any action. At this point I select Cancel. You can run this tool as often as you like to keep checking uptime.
Note if you are on 6.1 or 6.2 code you may see a timeout error when running the tool, especially for the first time. If you do see an error, please follow the instructions in the section titled "When running the the upgrade test utility v7.5 or later on Storwize V7000 v6.1 or v6.2" at the Test Utility download site.
As per the Alert:
If you are running a 6.0 or 6.1 level of firmware, you are not affected.
If you are running a 6.2 level of firmware, the fix level is v18.104.22.168 which is available here for Storwize V7000 and here for SVC.
If you are running a 6.3 level of firmware, the fix level is v22.214.171.124 which is available here for Storwize V7000 and here for SVC.
If you are using a Storwize V7000 Unified, the fix level is v126.96.36.199 which is available here.
You should keep checking the alert to find out any new details as they come to hand. If you are curious about Linux and 208 day bugs, try this Google search.
*** Updated April 4, 2012 with links to fix levels ***
If you have any questions or need help, please reach out to your IBM support team or leave me a comment or a tweet.
*** April 10: The IBM Web Alert has been updated with new information on what to do if your uptime has actually gone past 208 days without a reboot. In short you still need to take action. Please read the updated alert and follow the instructions given there. ***
I always laugh when people say to me: I wouldn't know what to blog about!
When you work in pre-sales support, you constantly get asked questions and each one of them could be the subject of a new blog post. Right now the most common question I am getting is:
I am implementing VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM). One of the components I need are vendor specific Site Recovery Agents (SRA). I have searched IBM's website but cannot find them. Where are they?
So the short answer is: you get them from the VMware SRM download site. However before downloading, there is a key task that absolutely needs to be performed:
Visit the VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager Storage Partner Compatibility Matrix. This site will confirm what products are supported by each version of SRM. You can find it here, but clearly you need to check back regularly to ensure you have the latest information.
Now find your storage device in the matrix and confirm what firmware levels are supported. This is really important. For example, the Feb 27, 2012 edition of the matrix tells me that the Storwize V7000 is supported for SRM version 5.0, but only when running Storwize V7000 firmware version 6.1 or 6.2. This is significant because if you upgrade to version 6.3 you are not supported. In fact that combination doesn't actually work yet, as detailed here. Clearly something you need to be aware of when planning firmware updates.
So where are the SRAs? On each of the pages below use the Show Details button to see what version SRAs are being shipped with that SRM (although sometimes the pages take a few days between an SRA being added and the page being updated):
There are a few more questions I routinely get asked:
Does IBM actually have an SRA download site?
The answer is yes, but it is an FTP site only for SRAs written by IBM. It is principally a repository for older SRAs and beta SRAs but you can also find the current SRAs on it. You can find the site here. Note however that it is NOT the official source. For that you need to use the VMware site.
What about the SRA for LSI/Engenio based products like the DS4800?
These used to also be found on the LSI site, but since LSI sold Engenio to NetApp, it is no longer available from the LSI or NetApp websites. You need to download the current version from the VMware sites listed above. There is a version for SRM 5 on the VMware download site.
What about nSeries SRAs?
If you need an nSeries SRA, again you should go to the VMware download pages. There are separate SRAs listed and available for IBM nSeries (as opposed to an SRA for NetApp branded filers).
What about an SRA for XIV with SRM version 5?
The answer: The SRA for XIV with SRM 5 (and 5.0.1) is now available from VMware. If you have access to download SRM, you will be able to download SRA version 2.1.0. It is the same SRA for both XIV Generation2 and Gen3.
What about an SRA for Storwize V7000 and SVC version 6.3 code?
The answer: It is coming. We are working to make it available as soon as possible. I will update this post as soon as I have a date for you (we are talking weeks, not months).
*** Update March 23, 2012 - Added details on SRM 5.0.1 ***
The big question of course is which drive type to choose? The answer is that ideally you should possess three pieces of information:
How much usable space do you need in GB or TiB? Don't confuse binary and decimal!
What is your typical I/O profile. For instance 70% reads 30% writes, 32KB block size.
What are your IOPS and response time requirements?
Armed with this information, get your IBM Sales Rep or Business Partner to model your requirements using Capacity Magic and Disk Magic. These modelling tools will tell you how much usable capacity a particular configuration will give you and what performance you can expect to get from it (given a particular I/O profile). If you don't know your I/O profile or IOPS requirements, you can still see performance modeling using industry standard benchmarks.
I am unsure about unnatural love, but perhaps the level of enthusiasm he is seeing comes from: ease of use, awesome GUI, consistent performance, freedom from planning RAID groups, simple growth and upgrade path... I could keep going... it all adds up.
So if you are a member of the cult of XIV, I have a little present for you: A really nice and simple reporting tool.
Here is what you need to do:
1) Download XIV Capacity Report 3.7 from this link. Click where it says Downloading this file.
2) You will get a zip file with five files in it. Unzip them into a folder on a Windows workstation. The Windows workstation also needs the XIV GUI installed on it (actually you only need the XCLI, but the Windows version of the GUI will give you that).
3) Of the five files you just unzipped, you need to edit the file called: xiv_capacity_report_get_files.vbs. Open that file with a text editor (such as Notepad). The easiest way to do this is to right-select the file and choose edit.
4) You need to edit the section that looks like this:
' *********** Edit this list of IP/names and user/password for your own configs ************************
myConfigs.Add "1", "-m 188.8.131.52 -u admin -p adminadmin"
myConfigs.Add "2", "-m 184.108.40.206 -u admin -p adminadmin"
Lets say you have two XIVs, the details for which are:
XIV1 : Management: IP 10.1.10.100 Userid: admin Password: passw0rd XIV2 : Management: IP 10.1.20.100 Userid: admin Password: passw0rd
So we edit the section I mentioned above and make it look like this:
' *********** Edit this list of IP/names and user/password for your own configs ************************
myConfigs.Add "1", "-m 10.1.10.100 -u admin -p passw0rd"
myConfigs.Add "2", "-m 10.1.20.100 -u admin -p passw0rd"
Now save the file and we are done editing. If you only have one XIV, then delete the line starting with myConfigs.Add "2" (or put an apostrophe at the start of the line to comment it out). If you have more than two XIVs, just add extra lines for myConfigs.Add "3", myConfigs.Add "4" and so on, adding details for each machine as shown above. You can ignore the lines further down in the file that start with an apostrophe, these are just examples.
Unless you acquire another XIV, you will not have to do this file editing again.
5) Now double-click on the icon: xiv_create_capacity_report.bat. This is a Windows bat file that will create a Windows command prompt while it is running. It uses XCLI commands, so if the XIV GUI or XCLI is not installed, it won't work. The output will be a new folder with today's date and time. Inside that folder will be a report that will be named something like: xiv_capacity_report_2011_10_30_17_6_36.xls
You can now open the report and check it out (presuming you have Microsoft Excel or some other software that can open XLS files). On my laptop I get a message talking about file formats, when I open the file.
You can ignore this message. If you save the file as an XLS you won't get this message again.
The report itself will have five tabs as shown below:
For every column in every tab, filtering (or sorting) is already setup. This makes it really easy to re-arrange the data to suit what you're looking for.
Arrays Tab List details about all your XIVs including: serial numbers, code versions, soft and hard capacity, how much of the soft and hard space is allocated, how much is free and how much space is being consumed. Great place to grab the machine serial number or confirm which machine has space available.
Pools tab Lists every pool in every XIV showing every possible sizing metric you could possibly want. Cells will be coloured red or yellow if limits are being reached. It is a great place to confirm if your pools are filling up and whether a pool is a good candidate to be changed to Thin Provisioning. Sort column L (allocated vs used) or column N (Hard Capacity Utilization) to identify good candidates for swapping to Thin Provisioning. These are the pools that can give up some hard space.
Hosts tab Will list every defined host for every XIV. You can straight away spot how much space has been allocated to each host and more importantly, how much is being used. Cells will be coloured yellow or red if limits are being reached. Some nice tricks:
Sort by column F (Allocated vs Used) to identify hosts that have asked for lots of space, but not used much of it.
Compare column G (# of volumes) with column I (# volumes mirrored). You may have critical hosts that require every volume to be mirrored, so a quick compare will confirm if there are exceptions.
Volumes tab Will list every volume defined on every XIV. This is a great tab to check which volumes are being mirrored, how many snapshots exist for each volume and how much space is being used by each volume. Again cells in the Used column will be coloured red or yellow if space is becoming short. Some great tricks here:
Sort column F or G (Used GB and %) to identify volumes with no or little data in them. Perhaps they are not really needed? Perhaps they are over-sized or should be in a Thin Provisioning pool.
Sort column H (Mirrored) to identify all volumes where Mirrored = No. Should they be mirrored?
Sort column K (Host Mapped) to identify all volumes not mapped to a host. Unmapped volumes are a great potential source of space!
Failures tab The Failures tab shows any failed components in your machines (like failed disks).
So please download the tool and try it out. Service providers love using this tool for reporting, it is so quick and easy to set up and run. Every time you run the tool you get a new report, so you can automate report creation and keep a nice history.
If you were signed into IBM developerWorks when you downloaded the tool and an update is made available, you should be notified by email, provided your IBM ID is set-up properly with a valid e-mail address.
And as for cults... there is only one cult I ever really liked and they really were called The Cult. The video takes about 15 seconds to get going and yes, the lead singer is dressed like a pirate. Enjoy! (if you like 80s rock...)
For those of you with Apple iPads, you might consider dropping by the Apple Store and picking up your free IBM XIV Mobile Dashboard.
The IBM XIV Mobile Dashboard application can be used to securely monitor the performance and health of your XIV over a Wi-Fi or 3G link. Having downloaded and installed the Mobile Dashboard you will get a lovely XIV Icon:
When you start the Mobile Dashboard you will have the choice to either run in Demo Mode or to connect to an actual XIV. Demo mode can be accessed by selecting the Demo Mode option deep in the lower right hand corner. So you don't actually need an XIV to give it a test drive.
To logon to a real XIV you will need a valid username, password and IP address.
Once connected you have the choice of viewing volume performance or host performance. If you view (hold) the iPad in portrait mode you get a list of up to 27 volumes or hosts ordered by performance metrics (it defaults to ordering by IOPS). If you view the iPad in landscape mode you will get a more graphical output (as per the examples below). There are no options to perform configuration, the dashboard is intended only for monitoring. This means each panel will show the performance and redundancy state of the XIV.
The volume performance panel is shown by default. The example below shows the output when the iPad is operated in landscape mode. From this panel you can see up to 120 seconds worth of performance for a highlighted volume. Use your finger to rotate the arrow on the blue volume icon to switch the display between IOPS, bandwidth (in megabytes per second or MBps) and latency (in milliseconds or MS). The data redundancy state of the XIV is shown in the upper right hand corner (in this example it is in Full Redundancy, but it could be Rebuilding or Redistributing).
The example above shows the output when the iPad is operated in landscape mode. If you instead rotate the iPad to portrait mode, you will get a list of the performance of up to 27 of your busiest volumes.
Now swipe to the left to navigate to the Hosts panel as shown below.
From this panel you can see up to 120 seconds worth of performance for a highlighted host. Use your finger to rotate the arrow on the purple host icon to switch the display between IOPS, bandwidth (in megabytes per second or MBps) and latency (in milliseconds or MS). The data redundancy state of the XIV is shown in the upper right hand corner (in this example it is in Full Redundancy, but it could potentially also be Rebuilding or Redistributing). Swipe to the right to navigate to the Volumes panel.
The example above shows the output when the iPad is operated in landscape mode. If you instead rotate the iPad to portrait mode, you will get a list of the performance of up to 27 of your busiest hosts.
From either the volumes or the hosts panels you can log off from the mobile dashboard using the icon in the upper right hand-most corner of the display. When you log back on, the last used XIV IP address and username will be displayed (but not the password which will need to be entered again).
I can see some nice use cases here. You get a call regarding performance but you are on the road. Are there any problems with the XIV? You can quickly logon with your iPad and confirm if response times are normal and the redundancy state is Full Redundancy.
A better use case... now you can ask your manager to buy you an iPad, so you can monitor your XIV! Let me know how that goes #
IBM has been selling IBM branded Brocade switches since 2001 when we announced the 8-port 2109-S08 and 16-port 2109-S16. These were classic switches that ran at 1 Gbps. They had a front operator panel with a small keypad (a feature which in the rush to fit in more SFPs, did not appear in future models). Since then IBM has gone on to sell many of Brocades switches and directors.
Sometimes you need to convert a Brocade model name to an IBM model name (or the other way around). One way to assure yourself with scientific accuracy which type of switch you are working on, is to telnet or SSH to a switch and issue a switchshowcommand. You will get a switchType value. In this example, my switch is a switchtype 27.2.
Or if you are using the Web GUI, you can also see the switch type on the opening screen. In this example the switch is a type 34.0.
Having scientifically determined the type of switch, we can now use my decoder ring to determine the IBM machine type, IBM model name and the Brocade model name. I have ordered the switches by Type number. There are three things to note:
Brocade have dropped the Silkworm branding, so I have dropped it too.
Each switch type has sub-types, for example 34.0 and 34.1. The difference is a sub-version number which is normally not published or documented.
IBM announced 16 Gbps SAN switches on August 16, 2011 so I updated the chart on that date.
If you use Data Center Fabric Manager (DCFM), it actually displays the Switch Type using Brocade model names. Here is an example report from the DCFM we are running in my lab. This level of information is very helpful.
In a previous blog entry I mentioned a new iPhone and Blackberry app that gives you info on IBM Storage. I actually now have three IBM supplied iPhone apps that you can get through the Apple Store. The dW app is a social networking app that lets you interact with your contacts on the IBM developerWorks website. I didn't realize that IBM effectively had its own Social Networking site..... but that's exactly what the developerWorks site is! For more information, check out the October 13 developerWorks Podcast, available here. There is more information here.
The IBM Storage and IBM System x iPhone apps are very similar in design and layout. They both list product types by family, giving specifications for each machine type. For example these are the specifications listed for the Storwize V7000. For each product you also get a Description page and Web link pages. You also get links to Facebook, Youtube,Twitter, LinkedIn and other contacts.
There are still some areas where things can be improved. Not all of the products have their specifications listed yet. They instead direct you to the web.
Never the less I think this is a great start. It shows IBM's commitment to both Social Media and being as informative open and communicative with our customers as possible. As for Android users, we are listening... Expect an Android version hopefully before the end of the year.
Oh.... and to find these apps... just open the Apple iStore and search for IBM.
IBM has today announced a whole swag of planned new features across the entire IBM Storage product line. You can read the announcement letter here and I have also dropped the text at the bottom of this blog post (to save you clicking on the link).
It's a very impressive list, but to hone in on a few of the more exciting offerings:
IBM Easy Tier will be enhanced to cache hot data in SSD storage installed in a client server. Looks like it will initially be a combination of DS8700/DS8800 and AIX with or Linux servers. I am sure there are plenty who will immediately think of EMC VFCache, so I am keen to get more details so I can see how the two compare. If you are curious in the meantime, check out this EMC fact sheet and then read this fascinating interview with the CMO of FusionIO.
A new high density storage module will be made available, initially I suspect for the DS8800. This is a really important step as we are seeing a lot of new technologies emerging in the SSD space. This is because the technical requirements of SSD don't always line up with the architectures of existing storage controllers, so a custom built enclosure designed just for SSD makes perfect sense.
The IBM XIV will be enhanced with the ability to cluster multiple XIVs together and migrate volumes non-disruptively between them. The non-disruptive volume migration is a great new feature which should definitely help with swapping XIVs out as new models come available.
There are plenty of other new features as well, so check out the announcement letter reproduced below:
IBM® intends to support a number of new enhancements to a variety of IBM storage systems in the future. These enhancements will leverage innovative research on intelligent algorithms, automation, and virtualization that is being incorporated into products in the IBM storage portfolio. The statements of direction highlighted here are intended to provide a glimpse into the IBM storage roadmap for selected product capabilities.
IBM intends to deliver:
Advanced Easy Tier™ capabilities on selected IBM storage systems, including the IBM System Storage® DS8000® , designed to leverage direct-attached solid-state storage on selected AIX® and Linux™ servers. Easy Tier will manage the solid-state storage as a large and low latency cache for the "hottest" data, while preserving advanced disk system functions, such as RAID protection and remote mirroring.
An application-aware storage application programming interface (API) to help deploy storage more efficiently by enabling applications and middleware to direct more optimal placement of data by communicating important information about current workload activity and application performance requirements.
A new high-density flash storage module for selected IBM disk systems, including the IBM System Storage DS8000 . The new module will accelerate performance to another level with cost-effective, high-density solid-state drives (SSDs).
IBM intends to extend IBM Active Cloud Engine™ capabilities to:
Allow files on selected NAS devices to be virtualized by SONAS and Storwize® V7000 Unified. Virtualization capabilities provide access across a unified global namespace, while facilitating transparent file migrations in parallel with normal operations. This capability will help provide customer investment protection as clients continue to leverage their existing NAS assets while exploiting the capabilities of IBM Active Cloud Engine .
Enable file collaboration globally via IBM Active Cloud Engine . This capability will help enhance productivity where users at geographically dispersed locations can both share and modify the same file.
IBM intends to deliver Cloud features to SONAS and Storwize V7000 Unified to support:
Web Storage Services, a standards-based object store and API that implements the Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI) standard from Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) to support the implementation of storage cloud services.
Self-service portal designed to speed storage provisioning, monitoring, and reporting.
IBM intends to support an increased scalability of capacity, performance, and host bandwidth by clustering IBM XIV® Gen3 systems together and providing the capability to migrate volumes across the cluster without disrupting applications. Management of the cluster will remain simple with consolidated views and shared configurations across the systems. These capabilities are intended to help clients address the scalability and management requirements for effective cloud computing.
IBM intends to extend NAS data retention enhancements for IBM Storwize V7000 Unified and IBM SONAS to provide file "immutability" to help support file integrity from the time the file is designated as immutable through its lifecycle. Immutability is intended to secure files from inadvertent or malicious change or deletion.
IBM intends to enable Real-time Compression for block and file workloads on Storwize V7000 Unified systems. This enhancement is designed to help clients experience the same high-performance compression for active primary block and file workloads on Storwize V7000 Unified that is being announced for block workloads on Storwize V7000. IBM Storwize V7000 Real-time Compression is designed to deliver enhanced storage efficiency with potential benefits including lower storage acquisition cost (because of the ability to purchase less hardware), reduced storage growth, and lower rack space, power, and cooling requirements.
All statements regarding IBM's future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice, and represent goals and objectives only. The information in the above paragraphs are intended to outline our general product direction and should not be relied on in making a purchasing decision. The information is for informational purposes only and may not be incorporated into any contract. This information is not a commitment, promise, or legal obligation to deliver any material, code, or functionality. The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described for our products remains at our sole discretion.
One common question that I hear on a regular basis regards the availability of an SRA for VMware SRM 5.0 when using Storwize V7000 or IBM SVC running V6.3 firmware. This combination is currently unsupported as per the alert found here.
The good news is that there are now IBM SRAs available for clients running SRM in combination with V6.3 firmware. While this combination is still not listed on the VMware support matrix found here, you can download the SRAs direct from IBM if your need is urgent.
So you need to do some disk performance testing? Maybe some benchmarking? What tools are out there to help you out? Well I am glad you asked... here are some that I use on my daily travels:
IOmeter is an old classic, with emphasis on the word old. At time of writing, the most recent update was from 2006. However it remains very popular mainly because it is free and easy to use.
Some tips when using IOmeter:
On Windows, IOmeter needs to be run as an Administrator, which seems to be the most common mistake people make (not running as Administrator means you don't see any drives). You can only run one instance of IOmeter in Windows, which means if multiple users logon to the same server, only one user can run IOmeter. You also really need to run IOmeter with a queue depth ( or number of outstanding I/Os) greater than one, with multiple workers. If you don't, you will not be able to drive the storage to saturation. For instance here are some results running 75% read I/O, 0% random, 4 KB blocks on a Windows 2008 machine with 4 workers. In each case against the same 128 GB volume on a Storwize V7000 backended by 4 x 300 GB SSDs in a RAID10 array. In each case I let the machine run for 10 minutes before taking the screen capture to ensure the performance was steady state and not peaking.
Firstly I used a queue depth of one. Aggregate performance was around 27000 IOPS.
Then I used a queue depth of 10. Aggregate performance was around 81000 IOPS.
I then used a queue depth of 20. Aggregate performance was around 113000 IOPS.
What I am trying to show is that taking the defaults (one worker with a queue depth of 1) will not drive the storage to a useful value for comparison... you need to do some tuning and some experimenting to get valid results. At some point increasing queue depths will not improve performance (it may actually decrease it).
There is an alternative to IOmeter called IOrate (created by an EMC employee). It is also very popular and appears to still be in active development. It is not unusual to see IBM performance whitepapers that used IOrate to generate the workload.
This is a fairly recent tool that I have not had a chance to try out (due to time pressures). The tool uses virtual machines under VMware to generate the I/O and includes some very nice workload capture and playback tools as well as reporting tools.
Jetstress is a benchmarking tool created by Microsoft to simulate Microsoft Exchange workloads. I like the fact you can configure it to run for very long periods and it has a more real world feel about it than just running empty I/Os. You can get the base software here, but you will also need some files from a Microsoft Exchange install DVD (or from an installed instance of Microsoft Exchange). If you cannot get to those files you cannot complete the startup process inside Jeststress.
Oracle offer a tool on their website called Orion, which will simulate the workload of an Oracle database. You can get the tool from here (although you will need to create a free Oracle user account before you can download it).
SDelete is not a benchmarking tool or a performance modelling tool. But it is a great way to generate I/O with very little effort. Just create a new drive in Windows and then run SDelete against it with the -c parameter. This parameter is used for secure deletion, so generates random patterns (which is real traffic - albeit 100% sequential writes). The syntax is like:
(updated April 20, 2012 - I found in version 1.6 of SDelete the meaning of the -z and -c parameters got swapped. In version 1.6 if you want random patterns use -c, if you want zeros use -z. In previous versions it is the other way around!).
Just doing file copies is probably the worst way to generate benchmarks, especially as a single copy is usually a single threaded operation.
I am sure there are plenty of other tools out there to generate benchmarks and simulate workload. My main concern with many of them is that synthetic (artificial) workloads do not reflect real world workloads.
We just updated our Cisco MDS9509s to NX-OS 4.2.7b (from Cisco SAN-OS 3.3.1c) and now we are getting emails from this source: GOLD-major.
The actual message looks like this:
Time of Event:2012-03-05 15:07:21 GMT+00:00 Message Name:GOLD-major Message Type:diagnostic System Namexxxx Contact Namexxx@xxx.com Contact Emailxx@xxx.com Contact Phone:+61-3-xxxx-xxxx Street Addressx Road, xxxx, VIC, Australia Event Description:RMON_ALERT
WARNING(4) Falling:iso.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1.10.18366464=2401032512 <= 4680000000:135, 4 Event Owner:ifHCOutOctets.fc4/5@w5c260a03c162
So who is GOLD-major?
GOLD actually stands for Generic OnLine Diagnostics. From Cisco's website: GOLD verifies that hardware and internal data paths are operating as designed. Boot-time diagnostics, continuous monitoring, and on-demand and scheduled tests are part of the Cisco GOLD feature set. GOLD allows rapid fault isolation and continuous system monitoring. GOLD was introduced in Cisco NX-OS Release 4.0(1). GOLD is enabled by default and Cisco do not recommend disabling it.
So in our example GOLD is actually reporting a major event (to do with exceeded thresholds, in this example utilisation on interface fc4/5).
Most clients using Cisco MDS switches are now moving to NX-OS (over SAN-OS, the name Cisco used for MDS firmware between version 1 and version 3) so this question will become more common. I am working on a post that discusses recommended versions (and the sunsetting of SAN-OS), so expect something soon. If on the other hand you are thinking.... how do I setup call home on a Cisco MDS switch? The information for NX-OS is here.
Curiously my brain cannot help itself, when I hear Gold Major I think it means Gold Leader which leads me to Red Leader which leads me to Red October. Maybe it's just me? Enjoy: