Welcome to the IBM System Storage Redbooks blog!
publications are developed and published by the IBM International Technical Support Organization (ITSO). The ITSO develops and delivers skills, technical know-how, and materials to IBM technical professionals, Business Partners, clients, and the marketplace in general.
The Redbooks are the output of residencies, which are intensive, multi-week work efforts where small teams explore and document product implementation, integration and operations, often in the context of marketplace solutions.
This blog is dedicated to IBM System Storage Redbooks publications, with short articles and pointers to related material, as well as information on residencies.
As a reminder, unannounced IBM products or features, or any IBM confidential information will not be discussed here.
On February 5, IBM announced new features and improved performance for the XIV Storage System Gen 3.
Here is a summary of the announcement:
IBM® XIV® Storage Systems, a powerful, innovative enterprise-class storage from IBM , includes the following features for new model 214:
- Up to twelve 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports for connecting to iSCSI-attached hosts or twenty-two 1Gb Ethernet ports
- Up to 15 CPUs providing ninety physical cores (180 logical cores using Intel™ Hyper-Threading technology)
- More energy-efficient hardware that can reduce power consumption by up to 16% compared to previous models
- Up to 24 x 8Gb Fibre Channel (FC) ports for host connectivity
- Up to 6 TB of SSD cache by using 400 GB drives
- Up to 243 TB of usable capacity
- Up to 360 GB of dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) cache
IBM XIV Storage System Gen3 with software version 11.2.0 enables performance enhancements over previous models:
- Up to 5 times performance increase in iSCSI throughput with new 10Gb Ethernet (GbE) ports
- Up to 4.5 times performance boost for random database-like workloads with SSD read-caching (optional)
- Sequential read performance as high as 13.7 GB/s
- Support for Windows™ Server 2012, including space reclamation
- Drive rebuild times as fast as 26 minutes for a fully utilized 2 TB hard disk drive under heavy load
The complete announcement letter can be read here
We are about to start a residency at the IBM Tucson System Level Test lab to prepare and update Redbook material in relation to this XIV release.
The residency will run from March 4 until April 5, 2013.
You can expect draft material to be available soon after the residency ends.
Please, check back here for updates and news as soon as the residency starts.
Read the latest draft of the 10th edition of the IBM System Storage Solutions Handbook; SG24-5250.
This publication is intended for anyone who wants to learn about IBM storage solutions and how IBM addresses data storage challenges with smart storage cloud solutions. It is suitable for IBM clients, storage solution integrators, and IBM specialist sales representatives. It takes you on a journey with overviews and pointers for information about the most current IBM System Storage; disk, tape and virtualized solutions such as IBM SmartCloud™ Virtual Storage Center, IBM PureSystems™ and the new capabilities in protecting VMware servers with Tivoli® Storage Manager for Virtual Environment.
The IBM System Storage® Solutions Handbook helps you find solutions for data storage business requirements.
The IBM SmartCloud Storage Access V1.1
Configuration Cookbook, SG24-8120
just published to coincide with the General Availability of the solution.
This IBM Redbooks Publication will help you plan, implement and manage your storage cloud.
IBM SmartCloud™ Storage Access V1.1 enables enterprises to implement a private cloud storage service where users can request and receive storage capacity, share files with other users, and administrators can easily monitor and report usage with just a few clicks.
- Enables self service with a simple intuitive interface and improves productivity
- Offers fast time to value with a solution that is simple to deploy and easy to use
- Works with existing storage infrastructures, such as Storwize V7000 Unified, SONAS, or Tivoli Storage Productivity Center with TPC V5.1 TPC 5.1 Select, or SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center V5.1
- Improves overall IT efficiency and quality of service with automated provisioning, easy monitoring, and reporting
- Provides overall reduction in operational complexity and expenses with a self-service portal, standardization, and automation
- Integrates with Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) for authentication and email systems for notifications
The IBM SmartCloud Storage Access
solution as shown in the figure below is described in detail in this IBM Redbooks Publication.
is defined as the use of computing services and resources (hardware and software) that are delivered over a network, typically Ethernet. OpenStack
is being developed as an industry standard Cloud computing project. OpenStack is a global collaboration of developers and cloud computing technologists producing the ubiquitous open source cloud computing platform for public and private clouds. To learn more about OpenStack, refer to the project website at: www.openstack.org
With the availability of the IBM Storage Driver for OpenStack, the IBM XIV Storage System offers a range of capabilities that enable more effective storage automation deployments into private or public clouds. Enabling OpenStack with XIV allows for storage to be made available whenever needed without the traditional associated cost of highly skilled administrators and infrastructure .
After the driver is installed on the OpenStack Cinder (OpenStack Block Storage) nodes, XIV storage volumes can be allocated by the Cinder nodes to the
Nova-compute nodes in the OpenStack cloud environment. Virtual machines on the Nova-compute nodes can then utilize these storage resources.
The driver controls the creation and deletion of volumes on the XIV
Storage System Gen3, and manages mappings (attach or detach ) of volumes
with Virtual Machines (VMs) running in OpenStack. Access to the XIV
volumes is over an iSCSI connection protocol.
Note also that illustrations in this paper are based on the Openstack Folsom release. This release offers two options in terms of block storage: Nova-Volumes and Cinder. Both are nearly identical in terms of functionality, APIs, and even the general theory of operation. Remember, however, that the Nova-Volumes option is deprecated and to be removed at the release of Grizzly.
For the latest information about the IBM Storage Driver for OpenStack, refer to the IBM XIV publications
This guide provides best practices and expertise gained from the IBM ProtecTIER Field Technical Sales Support (FTSS/CSS) Group, development, and Quality Assurance teams to boost the performance and the effectiveness of the data deduplication for your ProtecTIER family of products and application platforms.
In addition to Virtual Tape Library (VTL) and Open Storage Technology (OST) support, ProtecTIER Version 3.3 provides options to manage backups with File System Interface (FSI) for the Network File System (NFS) and for the Common Internet File System (CIFS). This new FSI support provides the following benefits:
- FSI enables servers that are running backup applications to connect to the ProtecTIER appliance over IP networks, without requiring fibre channel connectivity.
- FSI support enables existing tools and capabilities to integrate a ProtecTIER network-attached storage (NAS) based backup target into the existing environment.
- No knowledge of tape and drive interfaces is required. FSI support provides a file-based interface.
- Common Internet File System (CIFS) and Network File System (NFS) can coexist in the same repository.
The ProtecTIER system can be integrated into an existing backup solution, and provides deduplication when saving files with backup solutions such as IBM Tivoli Storage Manager, Symantec NetBackup and BackupExec, EMC Networker, and IBM i Backup, Recovery, and Media Services (BRMS). The FSI support helps facilitate rapid data restoration, and the IBM HyperFactor algorithm helps maximize disk usage by eliminating data duplicates from the incoming backup data streams.
The following figure shows a configuration with Tivoli Storage Manager backing up data to and restoring from the self contained disk storage in an IBM ProtecTIER TS7620 Deduplication Appliance Express. The ProtecTIER Manager Graphical User Interface (GUI) is used to monitor the TS7620 Deduplication Express. With Version 3.3, it can be used to upgrade the ProtecTIER system to new code levels. The ProtecTIER Management IP interface and the ProtecTIER file system application interfaces are separated by different network subnets for best performance.
ProtecTIER deduplication can be used to perform faster, more frequent backups and quickly restore backed up data to maintain business continuity. Using data deduplication, you can reduce the amount of space required to store data on disk. With deduplication, repeated instances of identical data are identified and stored in a single instance. This process saves storage capacity and bandwidth. Data deduplication can provide greater data reduction than previous technologies, such as Lempel-Ziv (LZ) compression and differencing, which is used for differential backups.
Data deduplication is performed while the data is being backed up to the ProtecTIER (inline) server, in contrast to after the data is written to it (post processing). The advantage of inline data deduplication is that the data is processed only once and there is no additional processing performed after the backup window. Inline data deduplication requires less disk storage because the native data is not stored before data deduplication.
Depending your configuration, this solution can provide the following benefits:
- Greater productivity because more frequent backups can be performed with the existing physical disk space
- Reduced energy consumption that results from reducing the amount of disk in operation
- Fast restoration, which can often be more critical to business continuity than fast backup
- ProtecTier deduplication can reduce data storage by as much as 96%
- Improved performance frequent full backups because ProtecTIER servers have the best deduplication, the highest backup speed, and the highest restore speed for multiple full backups of the same objects
IBM ProtecTIER solutions allow you to take advantage of HyperFactor technology, which uses a pattern algorithm that can reduce the amount of space required for storage of the backup environment by a factor of up to 25 times, based on evidence from existing implementation. The effect and result of HyperFactor processing is a factoring ratio. In simple words, the factoring ratio is the ratio of nominal data (as a sum of all user data backup streams) to the occupied physical storage in the ProtecTIER repository. For example, a 10:1 ratio means that 10 times more nominal data is being managed than the physical space required to store it. Also, the 10:1 ratio means a 90% storage savings. The effectiveness of data deduplication is dependent upon many variables, including the data rate of data change, the number of backups, and the data retention period. Read the IBM ProtecTIER implementation and Best Practices Guide, SG24-8024, for more information.
Today, the changes in our world include the instrumentation, interconnectedness, and intelligence of our environments. Such changes combine to produce a massive glut of new useful information, from new and existing sources, with new ways to use it. These pressures typify a few of the storage challenges that we dealt with for some time now, but on a whole new scale.
Businesses face a tidal wave of information and data that seems to increase daily. The ability to successfully and efficiently manage information and data has become imperative. The IBM Tivoli Storage Manager family of products help businesses successfully gains better control and efficiently manages the information tidal wave with significant enhancements in multiple facets of data protection. From its inception, Tivoli Storage Manager has been a highly scalable and available data protection solution. Greater availability is delivered through enhancements such as online, automated database reorganization. In addition, the increased scalability and the ability to utilize the latest in server technology helps deliver increased performance of backup and recovery processes for business critical Recovery Point Objective and Recovery Time Objective needs.
There is a new IBM Redbook publication currently being written titled Tivoli Storage Manager as a Data Protection Solution, SG24-8134. This publication describes the evolving set of data-protection challenges and how capabilities in Tivoli Storage Manager v6.4 can best be used to address those challenges. This book is not merely a description of new and changed functions, but rather a guide to use of Tivoli Storage Manager v6.4 in an overall data protection solution.
Look for a draft of this IBM Redbooks publication in April 2013. I'll keep you updated on its status here. You should also check back for blogs by the authors of this publication.
The team writing this book are:
(from left to right)
Gokhan Yildirim, Julien Sauvanet, Norbert Pott, Mikael Lindstrom, Mary Lovelace, Pia Nymann, Rosane Langnor, Felipe Peres and Gerd Becker.
The IBM® Linear Tape File System™ (LTFS) is the first file system
that works in conjunction with Linear Tape-Open (LTO) tape technology to
set a new standard for ease of use and portability for open systems
tape storage. In 2011, LTFS won an Engineering Emmy Award for Innovation
from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
The IBM Linear Tape File System: Installation and Configuration, SG24-8090
Redbooks® publication helps you install, tailor, and configure the new
IBM Linear Tape File System Single Drive Edition
(LTFS SDE), Library
Edition (LTFS LE), and Storage Manager (LTFS SM). LTFS is a file system
that is implemented on dual-partition linear tape (IBM LTO Ultrium 5
tape drives (LTO-5), IBM LTO Ultrium 6 tape drives (LTO-6), and IBM
TS1140 tape drives). LTFS makes tape look and work like any removable
media, for example, a USB drive. Files and directories appear on the
desktop as a directory listing. It is now simple to drag files to and
Any application that is written to use disk files works with the same
files on tape. LTFS SDE supports stand-alone drives only. LTFS LE
supports tape libraries. LTFS LE presents each cartridge in the library
as a subdirectory in the LTFS file system. The LTFS SM software solution provides storage lifecycle management of archive files.
The IBM Linear Tape File System Storage Manager
integration with LTFS Library Edition as shown in the figure below is described in detail in this IBM Redbooks Publication.
We are currently accepting applications for an exciting opportunity to join us in IBM Manchester Labs, UK, starting May 13th for 6 weeks !
This will be a residency to work on the IBM Storwize V3700 book update, and create a new book detailing new
product enhancements and features. This will involve extensive hands-on work based in the same building as some of the developers.
The residency team will work on IBM Flex System V7000 Storage Introductions and Implementation Guide (SG24-8068) update to include all the new features and functions since the product was first announced in November, 2012. This will involve hands-on testing alongside the product team based in Raleigh.
This residency begins 20 May 2013, ends 14 Jun 2013 (4 weeks), and requires 3 residents. The residency location is Raleigh NC USA.
All communication between the XIV GUI, XCLI, Multi-System Manager and XIV systems utilize Secure Sockets Layering (SSL) via x509 certificates.
Beginning with XIV Storage System Software version 11.2 and XIV Storage Management Software version 4.1, you have the flexibility to install and use your own x509 certificates in addition to the built-in certificate.
You can choose to use a certificate that is signed by either a trusted Certificate Authority (CA) vendor or your organization’s own private CA server.
There are four steps required to use your own certificate:
- Generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) file from the XIV Storage System.
- Obtain a signed certificate using the CSR file, either from a CA vendor, or with your own CA server.
- Install the signed certificate on the XIV Storage System.
- Instruct the XIV GUI to trust the new signed certificate.
To generate the CSR from the XIV GUI, select Manage Certificates
from the System Settings to get the Certiificate Management Panel
and click the Generate CSR
In the Generate CSR panel , enter a unique value for the name of the Certificate in the Name field.
In the Subject field, enter a value for the subject of the certificate. The subject field represents the values that uniquely identify this system, and are commonly called, collectively, the distinguished name (DN).
The acceptable format for the subject field is a string of attribute=value pairs, each preceded by a slash. Spaces are not permitted. In our example, we use the value /CN=xivhost/O=itso/L=Tucson/ST=AZ/C=US
Click Generate to Generate the CSR file and then save it .Choose the appropriate location and save the CSR file. You will provide this file to your CA in order to produce a signed certificate.
Use the CSR file you just created to obtain a signed x509 certificate, either from a trusted CA vendor, or from your organization’s own CA server.
Once you have obtained the signed certificate, return to the Certificate Management panel and click on the Import Certificate icon
Click the Browse button to open a file browser window and select the signed certificate file.
Click the corresponding check boxes to select the Services your would like to use this certificate for. The options are:
- All: Use this certificate to secure all communications.
- XCLI: Use this certificate to secure XCLI communication only.
- IPSec: Use this certificate to secure IPsec traffic (for more information on IPSec, see.
- CMI: Use this certificate to secure CIM Agent communications only.
If the certificate type is PCKS12 (.p12 file extension), enter values for the Name and Password for the certificate.
Click Import to complete the import of the signed certificate into the XIV Storage System.
Once you have imported your own certificate into the XIV Storage System, that system will present this certificate to the management tools (GUI, XCLI, etc.) that you use to connect to that system. Since this is a new certificate, the GUI will report a certificate error when connecting to that system. To resolve this error, you must configure the GUI to trust the new certificate.
To do so, right click on the system and choose Manage Certificate The GUI will display the details of the new certificate. Click the Trust Always button to trust this certificate for all future connections.
Note: The XIVTop tool uses the same certificate store as the XIV GUI. Trusting a certificated in the GUI mean that the XIVTop tool will also trust that certificate
Modified on by Bert_Dufrasne
Thin Provisioning provides a volume size as specified but uses physical storage only when needed. While this sounds like a great way to efficiently use the available storage space, in real life situations this may not always be true. When files are deleted or moved the now unused data is usually still residing on the physical storage. The host system may indicate that the used capacity is now smaller but the physical storage is still in use and remains allocated to that host system.
Space reclamation deals with this situation by providing a way for the host system to indicate that the physical storage assigned to it is no longer in use. space reclamation in operating systems are typically achieved by invoking the Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) WRITE SAME or the SCSI UNMAP command. Which commands are used depends on the operating system involved.
Starting with the XIV Storage Software v11.2, the XIV Storage System Gen3 provides support for the SCSI UNMAP function, natively available with Microsoft Windows Server 2012, automatically enabling Space Reclamation
The space reclamation happens automatically. When a file is deleted the XIV storage system is notified and the space is marked as "not in use", making it available for other servers if needed.
Setup of this feature happens when the XIV Host Attachment Kit is run to connect the Server to the IBM XIV Storage System.
Windows Server 2012 then recognizes the new disk as a thin provisioned drive.
Considerations for using Thin Provisioning with Microsoft Windows 2012 are summarized in the Plan and Deploy Thin Provisioning article published by Microsoft
We have a draft RedPaper (REDP-5001) in preparation that will provide all the details.
I will update this post as soon as the draft is released.
Modified on by Bert_Dufrasne
Remote maintenance consists of autonomous maintenance work that does not require an immediate interaction with the client. The remote maintenance process is started when the product detects a malfunction and notifies the service provider. Product documentation usually refers to this as Call Home.
The Call Home is either realized by sending an email to IBM or through an “Electronic Service Agent”. The Service Agent can establish an SSL or IPSec secured connection to dedicated IBM servers and report issues by opening a support ticket in the IBM Support Ticketing System. Following a call home, IBM triggers necessary actions to solve the issue. These actions can include ordering replacement parts and, if needed, dispatching a technician for on-site support.
For remote access an alternative solution to the analog modem line can be set up. With the IBM Tivoli Assist On-Site (AOS) you can establish an IP-based remote access connection to IBM. In addition, if you enable the port-forwarding mode, IBM support can use more sophisticated IP-based maintenance tools to access your device.
Some IBM System Storage products come with a pre-installed AOS client to allow remote access via AOS. For products that do not have an AOS client installed, AOS configured with port-forwarding can still be used as a remote access gateway to enable IBM support access.
You can read more about AOS in the IBM Redbooks publication: Introduction to Assist on-Site for Storage, REDP-4889
Modified on by Bert_Dufrasne
Easy Tier Heat Map Transfer
Are you a DS8870 user and do you already take advantage of the Easy Tier functions offered at no charge?
If so - here are some highlights from the June 4th announcement for DS8870.
With Easy Tier generation V, three substantial enhancements you are now able to:
... maximize the performance of your applications in System p / AIX environments with Easy Tier Server
Easy Tier Server is a unified storage caching and tiering solution across AIX servers and SAN storage. You can manage the data placement across Direct Attached Flash within multiple System p servers and the DS8870 storage tiers by moving the "hottest" data to the Direct Attached Flash in the servers. By using the Easy Tier Server function you are therefore able to flexibly ensure that certain applications meet their defined performance requirements. Seamless communication between the servers and the DS8870 storage system make sure that "hottest" files are on fastest media transparently enabled across the storage area network.
... assign the most appropriate disk tier for your applications, with Easy Tier Application
Easy Tier Application is an application-aware storage feature to allow you a dedicated placement of LUNs to a particular tier. By using the DSCLI interface and based on information about current workload activity and application performance requirements you can assign distinct application volumes to any tier in the Easy Tier pool. As an example think of a critical application which runs only a few times on a defined schedule. To guarantee best performance for the respective volumes you can use Directive Data Placement on an SSD tier permanently or you can schedule DSCLI based scripts to automate the "assign" and "unassign" process.
Additional views and information in the STAT tool will provide an overview on the current status and the interaction with Easy Tier's advanced data migration function.
... prepare for Disaster Recovery scenarios and avoid performance degradation in case of a failover with Easy Tier Heat Map Transfer
A Heat Map Transfer Utility (HMTU) allows transfer of the Easy Tier data placement information from the Metro Mirror/Global Copy/Global Mirror (MM/GC/GM) local site and re-apply it on the MM/GC/GM remote site. With this capability you can maintain performance for applications when the production workload is switched to the remote site. Depending on the physical configuration of the two DS8870s you should see little to none performance impact after a failover. In addition you will experience significant reduction in the loss of Easy Tier learning in situations such as machine cold-start or Easy Tier restart.
These advanced self-tuning Easy Tier features will help you to further reduce administration costs and allows IT staff to focus on strategic initiatives.
Best thing is: All these functions are available at no charge
Will you take advantage of Easy Tier generation V features?
Modified on by Bert_Dufrasne
On June 4 , IBM announced improvements to the IBM DS8870 storage software. I had the pleasure to work with a team of IBM colleagues from around the world to document some of those enhancements in IBM Redbooks publications. My focus was on VMware vSphere and in particular the new features that pertain to the DS8870. With VAAI we now also support the Block Zero primitive in addition to ATS and Clone Blocks previously introduced.
We did some testing with the Block Zero primitive which is used to zero-out disk regions. This is for example useful when creating Thick Provision Eager Zeroed Virtual Disks in vSphere. With this feature it's possible to offload the work for creating the Virtual Disk from the Host to the Storage System.
The latest code release of the IBM DS8870 also supports VAAI for ESX4.1. So if you are running some vSphere hosts with ESX4.1 you now can install the IBM Storage Device Driver for VMware VAAI on these hosts and also offload some of the tasks from your hosts to your DS8870 Storage System.
Another very nice feature which we experimented with is the IBM Storage Management Console for VMware vCenter. This is also often called VMware vCenter Storage Management Plugin, vCenter Storage Plugin, or simply vCenter Plugin. It is software that you can download from the IBM website and install on your vCenter Management Server. After the plugin is installed, it enables VMware admins to independently and centrally manage their storage resources on IBM storage systems. These storage systems include DS8000, FlexSystem V7000, SONAS, Storwize and SVC.
I included a screenshot taken from the DS8870 used when creating the book material. For example you can now add new volumes and map them to hosts from this window. You can also see more details in the vSphere GUI about the volumes, like existing Flashcopy or Mirroring relationships, thin provisioned or standard volumes or which pool does a volume belong to?
I encourage you to explore the great benefits offered by the plugin.
You will be able to read more details about all these features and see practical examples in a soon to be released version of the IBM Redpaper publication: " IBM System Storage DS8870 and VMware synergy, REDP-4915.