With Brocade's recent announcement of a 16 Gbps capable Fibre Channel Switchand Director, the question of which cable type to purchase becomes even more relevant. Do you buy OM3 or OM4 cable over OM2?
Now if your saying... OM-what? Let me start at the beginning...
Back when fibre channel was fresh and new and ran at 1 Gbps, the common multi-mode fibre cable that we used had a glass core that was 62.5 microns in diameter. This became known as OM1 type fibre cable. We rapidly switched to 50 micron cores because you could get a reliable signal across a longer distance, say 500 meters maximum rather than 300 meters. The 50 micron cable became known as OM2 type cable.
What has happened since then is that fibre channel speeds have moved from 1 Gbps to 2 GBps to 4 Gbps to 8 Gbps to 16 Gbps. This is exciting stuff, but with every increase in speed, we suffer a decrease in maximum distance. This means that something else needs to change... and that something is the quality of the cables, or more specifically, the modal bandwidth (the signalling rate per distance unit).
With the evolution of 10 Gbps ethernet, the industry produced a new standard of fibre cable which the fibre channel world can happily use. Its called laser optimized cable, or more correctly: OM3. Since then OM3 has been joined by an even higher standard known as OM4.
Lets look at the distances we can achieve with different cable types. You can see in the table below that the modal bandwidth (given in MHz times kilometers), improves as we move to higher quality glass. You can also see that single mode fibre (with the 9 micron core) has not suffered the same issue with decreasing maximum distances as speeds have increased. These numbers come from Brocades SFP specification sheets found here andhere (so there may be slight variations if you view specs from other vendors).
I didn't fill in the table for 1 Gbps and 2 Gbps using OM4 cable, simply because I couldn't find it... but the distances would be very large indeed.
So how can you tell what sort of cable you have? The first hint is the colour, the second is the printing on the cable. Cables that are 50 micron and orange are almost certainly OM2. Cables that are aqua in colour (don't call them green!) are either OM3 or OM4. In the example below I can clearly tell which cable is OM3.
Pictured below is a roll of OM3 cable, all ready for deployment with standard LC connectors. Note you can also get OM3 cable with a smaller LC type connector used on the mSFPs in the high density 64 port blades in the Brocade DCX. You can find additional information on identifying cables here.
So should you be buying OM3 cable over OM2? Or even considering OM4?
The reality is that in many cases, server and storage hardware is often in the same or adjacent racks to the switch hardware. If this is true for your site, OM2 will satisfy the vast bulk of requirements, because the distances are quite short. The most common cable I add to configurations is either 5 or 25 meters long. This is why OM2 is still IBM's cable of choice, since either length would satisfy 16 Gbps connectivity. Checking with some local cable vendors, OM2 cable also remains the cheaper alternative.
Clearly if your computer room is large enough to need cable runs of over 35 meters, then serious consideration should be given to future proofing parts of your cable infrastructure with OM3 (or even OM4). There is nothing wrong with having a mix of cable types - just don't join them together.
I would be curious to know how many sites are choosing to move to OM3? Feel free to comment either way. I think there will be more to come on this subject, and remember.... OM3 and OM4 cables are aqua not green or blue. #.
Would love to hear about your sites recent cabling purchases.
And if the word Aqua reminds you of a late 90s Scandinavian pop group, look no further:
I started my IBM career with very dirty hands.
Every day I would go to work and come home smeared with toner, ink, grease and oil.
No I didn't work for a newspaper or in a garage... I worked for IBM, fixing cheque sorters and printers. This was the late 1980s and early 1990s. The years I spent working on IBMs 3800 and 3825 printers and 3890 cheque sorters were great years. I loved working with my customers and I loved working on those big machines. It was lots of fun... but there were lots of ways to get dirty.
What were these machines? Well for one, the IBM 3800 was the worlds first commercial fan-fold laser printer (released in 1975!). Here is a picture, but I would point out that this 3800 looks remarkably clean:
The 3890 Cheque Sorter was an enormous document processor that could move 2400 cheques per minute. For even better clothing destruction, the 3890 has an ink jet printer that used a special ink that you could easily remove from any garment - provided you used a pair of scissors. As for the IBM 3825 Page Printer, it used Charged Area Development, which without very regular maintenance, could result in huge amounts of toner wandering around inside the machine. No wonder the acronym for that technology is CAD.
And yet in all of this... I wore a suit and tie to work... every day... and I always wore a white shirt. It was an IBM standard that had existed for a very long time. People who turned up for work in a non-white shirt had better be a top performer and only the most remarkable or safety conscious turned up for work wearing something that is now rare in the workplace: The Bow Tie.
The only other IT organization I knew that was just (if not more) obsessed with suit and tie? EDS.
As for the System 38 utopian image below.... thats not me on the right! I never wore tan trousers or short sleeves to work. (Check out the size of those monitors!).
Things changed in the mid 1990s. Suddenly we didn't need to wear a tie. Some of us started wearing corporate branded polo shirts. Times had changed and we changed with them. One irony is that I now regularly wear black business shirts to work, something that I would never have gotten away with in 1990. Yet today the closest I come to toner is when I go and get a printout from the printer.
If your interested in seeing some great photos of how IBMers used to dress, visit the IBM History exhibit here: "The way we wore: A century of IBM attire". You could also head over to IBM's 100 Icons of Progress and in particular visit The Making of IBM to see Thomas J Watson Snr looking very smooth indeed.
I was brought to reminiscing about this when visiting a client on a friday. Friday has become casual clothes day at many organizations. And yet given how far we have come... I am pondering why we bother? In comparison to 20 years ago, every day is casual clothes day. Perhaps its time to put aside the polo shirts and bring back the bow tie? As Dr Who says "Bow Ties are Cool"
So are you with me? Bow Tie Friday?
Comments always welcome.
There was a time when 32 bits was considered a lot. A hell of a lot.
With 32 bits, you can create a hexadecimal number as big as 0xFFFFFFFE (presuming we reserve one bit).
In decimal that's 4,294,967,295. Hey... imagine a bank account balance that big?
If you use 32 bits to count out 512 byte sectors on a disk, you could have a disk that's 4,294,967,295 times 512... or 2,199,023,255,040 bytes! That's sounds huge, right?
Well... actually...no... that's 2 TiB, which most people would refer to as 2 Terabytes. Mmm.. Suddenly I am less impressed (still wouldn't mind that as a bank account though).
Now there are plenty of running Systems that still cannot work with a disk that is larger than 2 TiB. One of the more common is ESX. I am presuming this limitation is going to disappear, so Storage susbsystems need to be ready to create volumes that are larger than 2 TiB.
The good news is that with the May 2011 announcements, IBM is removing the last 2 TiB sizing limitations from its current storage products. There appears to have been some confusion in the past, so I thought I would go through and be clear where each product is at:
Firmware version 07.35.41.00 added support to create volumes larger than 2 TB. The maximum volume size is limited only by the size of the largest array you can create. This capability has been available for some time and hopefully you are already on a much higher release.
DS4000 and DS5000
Firmware version 07.10.22.00 added support to create volumes larger than 2 TB. The maximum volume size is limited only by the size of the largest array you can create. This capability has been available for some time and hopefully you are already on a much higher release.
DS8700 and DS8800
The DS8700 and DS8800 will support the creation of volumes larger than 2 TB once a code release in the 6.1 family has been installed. With this release you will be able to create a volume up to 16 TiB in size. The announcement letter for this capability is here.
The volume size on an XIV is limited only by the soft limit of the pool you are creating the volume in. This allows the possibility of a 161 TB volume.
SVC and Storwize V7000
These two products have two separate concepts:
- Volumes (or VDisks) that hosts can see.
- Managed disk (or MDisks) that are presented by external storage devices to be virtualized. Within this there are two further categories:
- Internal MDisks created using the Storwize V7000 SAS disks.
- External MDisks created by mapping volumes from external storage (such as from a DS4800).
SVC and Storwize V7000 Volumes (VDisks).
Prior to release 5.1 of the SVC firmware, the largest volume or VDisk that you could create using an SVC was 2 TiB in size. With the 5.1 release this was raised to 256 TiB, as announced here. When the Storwize V7000 was announced (with the 6.1 release) it also inherited the ability to create 256 TiB volumes.
Storwize V7000 Internal Managed Disks (Array MDisks).
Because the Storwize V7000 has its own internal disks, it can create RAID arrays. Each RAID array becomes one Mdisk. This means the largest MDisk we can create is limited only by the size of the largest disk (currently 2 TB), times the size of the largest array (16 disks). This means we can make arrays of over 18 TiB in size (using a 12 disk RAID6 array with 2 TB disks). Thus internally the Storwize V7000 supports giant MDisks. We can also present these giant MDisks to an SVC running 6.1 code and the SVC will be able to work with them.
SVC and Storwize V7000 External Managed Disks.
When presenting a volume to the SVC or Storwize V7000 to be virtualized into a pool (a managed disk group) we need to ensure two things are confirmed. Firstly you need to be on firmware version 6.2 as confirmed here for SVC and here for Storwize V7000. Secondly that the controller presenting the volume has to be approved to present a volume greater than 2 TiB. From an architectural point of view, MDisks can be up to 1 PB in size as confirmed here, where it says:
|Capacity for an individual external managed disk|
|Note: External managed disks larger than 2 TB are only supported for certain types of storage systems. Refer to the supported hardware matrix for further details.|
I recommend you go to the supported hardware matrix and confirm if your controller is approved. The links for Storwize V7000 6.2 are here and for SVC here. As of this writing, the list has still not been updated, but I am reliably informed it will include the DS3000, DS4000, DS5000, DS8700 and DS8800. It will not initially include XIV, which will come later. Please also note the following:
- Support for giant MDisks (greater than 2 TiB) is firmware controlled. If the controller (e.g. a DS5300) presenting a giant MDisk is not on the supported list for your SVC/Storwize V7000 firmware version, then only the first 2 TiB of that MDisk will be used.
- If your already presenting a giant MDisk (and using just the first 2 TiB), then just upgrading your SVC/Storwize V7000 firmware won't make the extra space useable. You will need to remove the MDisk from the pool, then do an MDisk discovery and then add the MDisk back to the pool. All of this can of course be done without disruption, using the basic data migration features we have supported since 2003.
What to do in the meantime?
If your currently using an SVC or external MDisks with a Storwize V7000, then you need to work within the 2 TiB MDisk limit (except for Storwize V7000 behind SVC). The recommendation is a single volume per Array for performance reasons (so the disk heads don't have to keep jumping all over the disk to support consecutive extents on different parts of the disk). This can require careful planning. For instance using 7+P RAID5 Arrays of 450 GB drives makes an array that is over 3 TB. What to do in this example?
- Divide it in half? (by creating two 1.5TB volumes)
- Waste space? (a whole 1 TB)
- Use smaller arrays? (a 4+P array of 450GB disks is 1.8 TB)
The answer is that where possible, create single volume arrays using 4+P or larger. If the disk size precludes that, then create multiple volumes per array and preferably split these volumes across different pools (MDisk groups).
Anything else to consider?
Well first up, will your Operating System support giant volumes? Googling produces so much old material that it becomes hard to nail down exact limits. For Microsoft, read this article here. For AIX check out this link. For ESX, check out this link.
Second of course is the consideration of size. File systems that utilize the space of giant volumes could potentially lead to giant timing issues. How long will it take to backup, defragment, index or restore a giant file system based on a giant volume (the restore part in particular)? Outside the scientific, video or geo-physics departments, are giant volumes becoming popular? Are they being held back by practical realities or plain fear? Would love to hear your experiences in the real world.
And a big thank you to Dennis Skinner, Chris Canto and Alexis Giral for their help with this post.
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.