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.
If you have combined vSphere 5.0 with XIV, then you may want to try out the new IBM Storage Provider for VMware VASA (vSphere Storage APIs for Storage Awareness). You can download the installation instructions, the release notes and the current version of the IBM VASA provider from here. Clearly because VASA is introduced in vSphere 5.0 your VMware vCenter also needs to be on version 5.0.
Now IBM have had a vCenter plugin for a very long time (which I have written about here, here and here) and while you still need that plugin if you want to do storage volume creation and mapping from within vCenter (as opposed to using the XIV GUI), the VASA provider makes storage awareness more native to vCenter. This is a very important step. It means instead of using vendor added icons and tabs (like the IBM Storage icon and the IBM Storage tab that are added by the IBM Storage Management Console for vCenter), you just use the default vCenter tabs.
Right now version 1.1.1 of the IBM VASA provider delivers information about storage topology, capabilities, and state, as well as events and alerts to VMware. This means you will see new additional information in three tabs: Storage Views, Alarms and Events.
After installing and setting up the VASA provider, in vCenter select your VMware cluster, go to the Storage Views tab and select the view Show all SCSI Volumes (LUNs) there are four columns with more information. The Committed, Thin Provisioned information, Storage Array and Identifier on Array (indicated with red arrows) comes straight from the XIV (hit the Update button at upper right if you are not seeing anything yet). This is really useful information as it lets you correlate the SCSI ID of a LUN to an actual volume on a source array. Here is a cut-down view of that extra information:
If you want a larger screen capture you can find one here.
The Task & Events and Alarms tabs will also now contain events reported by the VASA provider such as thin provisioning threshold alerts (although if you have just installed the provider you may see nothing new, as nothing has occurred yet to provoke an alert or event).
As usual I have some handy tips on the steps you will need to take to get VASA going:
First up you will need to identify a virtual machine to run the provider on (or just create a new one). I chose to deploy a new instance of Windows 2008 from a template. Because the VASA provider communicates to vCenter via an Apache Tomcat server listening on port 8443, that port needs to be free and unblocked. This also means you should not run the VASA provider in the same instance of Windows as the vCenter server (see below for more information as to why).
Download the IBM Storage Provider for VMware VASA as per the link above (use version 1.1.1, see the user comments in this post for details about a bug in version 1.1.0).
Install the provider in the Windows VM you created in step 1. The tasks are detailed in the Installation Instructions, but it is a simple follow-your-nose application installation. As per most XIV software packages, it will install a runtime environment (xPYV which is Python) as part of the install.
Now we need to define the credentials that VMware vCenter will use to authenticate to the IBM VASA Storage Provider. These should be unique (and are not an XIV userid and password - this is only between vCenter and the provider software). In my example I use xivvasa and pa55w0rd. The truststore password is used to encrypt the username and password details (so that they are not stored in plain text). Open a Windows command prompt (make sure to right select and open it as an Administrator) and enter the following commands:
cd "C:\Program Files (x86)\IBM\IBM Storage Provider for VMware VASA\bin" vasa_util register -u xivvasa -p pa55w0rd -t changeit
Don't close the command prompt, because we now need to define the XIV to the IBM VASA provider.
You need the IP address of your XIV and a valid user and password on the XIV that can be used to logon to the XIV. So in this example my XIV is using 10.1.60.100 and I am using the default admin username and password (which I know does not set a good example). This is the command you need to run:
If this command fails, reporting your firmware is invalid, you are probably using the original 1.1.0 version of the VASA provider, go back to the IBM Fix Central website and make sure you have the latest version (at least version 1.1.1). If it reports the firmware cannot be read, make sure you are running the Command Prompt as an Administrator.
Once you successfully added the XIV to the provider, you need to restart the Apache webserver. Do this by starting the services.msc panel and looking for the Apache Tomcat IBMVASA service as pictured below. Stop it and then start it. Once you have done that you can logoff from the VASA VM.
Now connect to your vSphere Client (which needs to be on at least version 5.0.0) and from the Home panel, open the Storage Providers panel.Then select the option to Add a new provider. The URL needs to include the correct port number (by default 8443), so it will look something like this (where the provider is running on 10.1.60.193). Note also that the VASA provider version number is in the URL, so if you upgrade the provider you will need to change the URL (currently v1.1.1):
The Login and password should match the user id and password you defined in step 4 (remember it is not logging into the XIV, it is logging into the VASA provider).
If you get a message saying your user id and password are wrong, you probably forgot to stop and start Apache in step 6 above. If you succeed you should see a new provider listed. Highlight the provider and select sync to update the last sync time.
Your setup tasks are now all completed. Now go and explore the panels I detailed above to see what new information you have available to your vCenter server.
Why a separate server for the VASA provider?
The IBM VASA provider uses Apache Tomcat, which by default listens on port 8443. However since vCenter already has a service listening on port 8443, it means we have a clash. I googled and found the Dell and Netapp VASA providers also listen on port 8443 and they also recommend separate servers. I noted Fujitsu's provider uses a different port but still requires a separate server. So it seems if you have multiple vendors you will either have to spin up a separate server for each vendors provider, or start playing with changing the port number. The installation instructions for the IBM VASA Provider explain how to change the default port number if you are truly keen.
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.
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 thought I would quickly check out two of the announced features of the 6.2 release: the new Performance Monitor panel and support for greater than 2 TiB MDisks. So on Sunday I got busy and upgraded my lab Storwize V7000 to version 188.8.131.52.
Remember that in nearly every aspect the firmware for the SVC and Storwize V7000 are functionally identical, so while I am showing you a Storwize V7000, it equally applies to an SVC.
Firstly I tried the performance monitor panel, and what better way to show you what I saw than on YouTube? This is my first YouTube video so please forgive me if its not slick. I started the performance monitor and captured two minutes of performance data using Camtasia Recorder. Because it is fairly boring to stare at graphs slowly moving right to left, I then sped it up eight times, and this is the result:
The video is shot in HD, so if what your seeing is grainy or hard to read, change the display to 720p or 1080p. Now if you want to see the performance monitor at its actual speed, here is the original normal speed video. Remember this is the same video as above, just slower. It can also be viewed in 720p.
The top right hand quadrant is volume throughput in MBps as well as current volume latency and current IOPS.
The bottom left hand quadrant is Interface throughput (FC, SAS and iSCSI).
The bottom right hand quadrant is MDisk throughput in MBps as well as current MDisk latency and current IOPS.
You will note that each metric has a large number (which is the current metric in real time) and a historical graph showing the previous five minutes. You can also change the display to show either node in the I/O group.
I found the monitor to be genuinely real time: the moment I changed something in the SAN (such as starting or stopping IOMeter or starting or stoping a Volume Mirror), I immediately saw a change.
Greater than 2 TB MDisk support
Next I logged onto my lab DS4800 and created two 3.3TiB volumes to present to the Storwize V7000. I chose this size because I had exactly 6.6 TiB worth of available free space on the DS4800 and I wanted to demonstrate multiple large MDisks. On versions 6.1 and below, the reported size of the MDisks would have been 2 TiB (as I discussedhere). Now that I am on release 6.2 with a supported backend controller, I can present larger MDisks. In the example below you can clearly see that the detected (and useable size) is 3.3 TiB per MDisk.
What controllers are supported for huge MDisks?
The supported controller list for large MDisks has been updated. The links for Storwize V7000 6.2 are here and for SVC here. If your backend controller is not on the list, then talk to your IBM Sales Representative about submitting a support request (known as an RPQ).
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 ***
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):
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 #
The IBM Storage Management Console for VMware vCenter version 2.5.1 is now available for download and install. This version supports XIV, SVC and Storwize V7000 as per the versions on the following table (the big change being support for version 6.2):
If you want to see a video showing the capabilities of the new console, check out this link.
After installing the console, you will get this lovely new icon:
Start it up and select the option to add new storage, you now get three choices:
If your using SVC or Storwize V7000 you need to specify an SSH private key. This key MUST be in Open SSH format. This caused me a problem as I kept getting this message when trying to add my Storwize V7000 to the plug-in:
Unable to connect to 10.1.60.107. Please check your network connection, user name, and other credentials.
I could use the same IP address, userid and SSH private key to logon to the Storwize V7000 using putty, so I knew none of these things were wrong.
I reread the Installation Instructions closely and realized my mistake. It clearly states:
Important: The private SSH key must be in the OpenSSH format.
If your key is not in the OpenSSH format, you can use a certified
OpenSSH conversion utility.
I pondered what conversion utility I could use when I realized I had the utility all the time:Puttygen. I opened PuttyGen, imported my private key (the .ppk file) and exported my SSH private key using OpenSSH format. You don't need to do anything with the public key.
I was then able to add the Storwize V7000 by specifying the private SSH key exported using OpenSSH format.
Now I have both IBM XIV and Storwize V7000 in the vCenter plug-in and can get detailed information about and manipulate both. In this example I have highlighted the Storwize V7000, revealing it is on 184.108.40.206 firmware.
I was tempted to detail all the many things you can do with the plug-in, but your better off watching the video via this link.
So are you using the plug-in? Have you upgraded to version 2.5.1 yet? Comments very welcome!
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.
I was inspired by this article on CBC News regarding the 30th anniversary of the launch of the IBM PC. That's right, on Friday August 12, 2011 the IBM PC turned 30.
The IBM 5150 Personal Computer
Of course there were plenty of alternatives out there, but the IBM PC set standards that changed the industry forever (and IBM!). There is some great material in the IBM archives. Check them out here.
My first computer? An Exidy Sorcerer that I purchased around 1982. There it is in my bedroom (checkout the wood paneling and macrame plant holder!). It had 32KB of RAM plus plugable cartridges and a cassette tape recorder for storage.
The Exidy Sorcerer
I sold it in 1984 to a Doctor who paid far more than I initially did. He was running his whole surgery on a Sorcerer and desperately needed another one for parts. Tells you something about the risks of writing software for a closed platform.
My next computer was a 512 KB Apple Macintosh that I bought in 1985 through the University of Western Australia (UWA). UWA was an all Apple campus with Macs and then Mac SEs in every faculty. The library had Macs you could rent by the hour.
The original Apple Macintosh (image from Wikipedia)
I remember paying $400 Australian for an external floppy disk drive. There was no hard drive and definitely no web browser!
My first employer (a High School) had networked BBC Micros running CPM. There were four 5.25" floppy disk drives in the main unit, the A the B the C and the D Drive.
The BBC Micro (image from Wikipedia)
My second employer (also a High School) had IBM JXs running DOS.
The IBM JX (image from Wikipedia)
And my first computer at IBM was not a PC at all. It was an IBM 3290 Gas Plasma terminal that gave you four mainframe logons at the same time. I still remember that console with great affection. I found an image in Flikr if you want to see what one looked like.
I have updated my IBM Storage WWPN Determination Guide to version 6.5. You can find the updated guide on IBM Techdocs here.
The main change is that new DS8800s are now presenting slightly different WWPNs, so I added three new pages to describe the changes.
If this guide is new to you, its purpose it to let you take a WWPN and decode it so you can work out not only which type of storage that WWPN came from, but the actual port on that storage. People doing implementation services, problem determination, storage zoning and day to day configuration maintenance will get a lot of use out of this document. If you think there is an area that could be improved or products you would like added, please let me know.
It is also important to point out that IBM Storage uses persistent WWPN, which means if a host adapter in an IBM Storage device has to be replaced, it will always present the same WWPNs as the old adapter. This means no changes to zoning are needed after a hardware failure.
I also host the book on slideshare, so you can also view and download it from there:
Hopefully if your were in Melbourne last week you made it to the IBM Pulse 2011 conference at the Crown Promenade. It was a great success and with 850 attendees, the facilities were packed, especially the main hall.
My highlights? Well apart from visiting the IBM developerWorks stand and getting a free IBM floppy disk T-Shirt...
... it was listening to customers. There were 14 customer case study presentations where attendees could hear real world experiences from real world customers. For the storage track we were lucky to have Angus Griffin from Edith Cowan University talking about how they use IBM solutions including IBM SVC with VMware SRM, to build their Disaster Recovery solution. Angus is a great presenter who used a sort of Takahashi MethodPowerPoint deck where each slide was just one sentence. Below is an example. Can you guess what he was talking about?
It was of course why clients sometimes do not have a comprehensive disaster recovery strategy.
I presented on Storage Virtualization and the Storwize V7000. You can check out my presentation on Slideshare. I have struggled for some time to match my presentation style to the sort of material that IBM produces. I am working to a more pared back approach. If you view this presentation on my Slideshare channel you will also get some speaker notes.
If you want a copy of the presentation and your an IBMer, you can find it on Cattail. For everyone else, please send me an email or leave a comment.
The other client who presented in the storage track, was Richard Whybrow from Hertz Australia. Richards presentation on how Hertz use IBM solutions to manage their backups and encryption requirements was short and to the point. But the highlight was Richard's movies. I want to point you to two of them which you can find on his Youtube channel. The first one is hilarious.... here is the SAL 9000 restoring 1.6 TB of data in seconds!
If your looking for something slightly more serious, here is Richard's winning entry to theIBM Tivoli Software Products Rock competition. Richard is sitting at Southbank, close to the IBM Building here in Melbourne. There is also a great shot of Melbourne's Flinders Street Station at the end (as well as a tribute to the film Minority Report)
I really enjoy teaching, particularly when the students are coming from a non-IBM background. It gives me the chance to better learn how IBM's products compare to our competitors, because the experiences and view points come from real end users. It also helps me to reconfirm my knowledge and understanding of our own products. There is a very basic rule in IT: If you cannot explain a concept to someone else, you probably don't understand it yourself.
The course consists of a day of lectures and a day of labs (using the XIV Labs inMontpellier France). Here is the course layout.
Unit 1 - IBM XIV Storage System
Unit 2 - IBM XIV administration
Unit 3 - Implementation and configuration
Unit 4 - Host systems attachment and mappings using FCP
Unit 5 - Host systems attachment and mapping using iSCSI
Unit 6 - Copy Services
Lab 0 - Lab setup and preliminary instructions
Lab 1 - IBM XIV Storage Management: Installation
Lab 2 - IBM XIV Storage Management: Configuration
Lab 3 - Host definition and mappings: Attaching a Windows server to an XIV
Lab 4 - Host definition and mappings: Attaching an AIX server to an XIV
Lab 5 - Host definition and mappings: Attaching a Linux server to an XIV
Lab 6 - IBM XIV configuration: Monitoring
Lab 7 - IBM XIV Copy Services: Snapshots
Lab 8 - IBM XIV Copy Services: Remote mirror
The idea is to teach all the concepts on day one and then let the students hit real machines in a remote lab environment on day two. The hands on part is always the best bit as far as I am concerned (learning by doing always beats learning by listening). Students who have never touched the XIV GUI always enjoy this part.
A bigger challenge is when you have a student who already has lots of hands on experience. In those cases I work to consolidate what they have already learned.
I am curious, how often do you wait so long to do a course, that there was not much left to learn by the time you actually got to do it?
Oh and please ignore this strange string: XQ983UH6VUFD