How-To Generate and Collect NAR Data from VNX Arrays

December 27, 2011
  • Login to the Unisphere console
  • Select the array you want to collect data from

  • Click on the “System” tab, then click on “Monitoring and Alerts

  • Click on “Statistics for Block

  • Click on “Performance Data Logging

  • A “Data Logging” windows will appear.  Configure the settings to match the screenshot below.  Leave the “Archive Interval” set to 600 seconds unless otherwise requested EMC or your EMC Reseller.  Once the settings match click on “START”.

  • Confirm that you wish to continue by clicking “YES”.

 

  • Confirm again that you want to apply these new settings by clicking “YES”.

  • Click “YES” yet again to confirm the data logging warning.

  • Click “OK” to confirm (finally) that the operation was successful.

 

  • You will be returned to the Data Loggin settings window.  Click “OK” to close the window.

  • You will now need to let the data collection run for the specified time period – in this case 3 days.

Retrieving NAR File for VNX from the GUI

  • Now that the NAR data collection process has run for 3 days you will need to retrieve the NAR/NAZ files.
  • Login to the Unisphere console
  • Select the array you want to collect data from

  • Click on the “System” tab, then click on “Monitoring and Alerts

 

  • Click on “Statistics for Block

  • On the right, click on “Retrieve Archive”.

  • In the Retrieve Archives window, select your array and choose SPA. (NAR files are ONLY needed for ONE of the SP’s)
  • Change the “Save File(s) As:” destination to a location that is easy to locate.
  • Highlight the .NAR or .NAZ (if encrypted) files that correspond to the 3 days you collected data for.  The time may be off a little but this will not matter.  There will probably be 4 – 6 files total.
  • Click the “Retreive” button

 

  • Click “YES” to confirm the retrieval in the “Confirm: Retrieve Archives” window.

  • At the bottom of the “Retrieve Archives” window verify that the files complete – this may take a few seconds.
  • Click “Done

  • Go to the destination folder where you retrieved the files to.

  • Upload all the files to EMC or your EMC Reseller as instructed.

How-To Generate SP Collect Data from Unisphere

December 22, 2011

Many times you may be asked to provide “SP Collects” for your EMC Array.  This may be for EMC Support or for your VAR, who may need to see how your existing array is configured.  Either way SP Collect data is very useful and relatively easy to generate.  With the release of Unisphere for EMC Clariion, Celerra and VNX the menus and processes have changed just a little.  Below you will see step by step instructions on how to generate these files from the new Unisphere interface.

         Login to the Unisphere console

         Select the array you want to collect data from

         Click on the “System” tab, then click on “Generate Diagnostic Flies – SPA” under the “Diagnostic Files” section on the right.

          Click YES to generate the SP Collect Data for SPA

         Click on “OK” to confirm the success of the process

         Now click on “Generate Diagnostic Files – SPB” under the “Diagnostic Files” section on the right.

         Click YES to generate the SP Collect Data for SPB

         Click on “OK” to confirm the success of the process

         Click on “Get Diagnostic Files – SPA

         The SP A – File Transfer Manager Window will appear.

  • 1st – sort the files by date with the most recent date at the top by clicking the top of the “Date” column.
  • 2nd – Highlight the “APMxxxxxx.zip” file.  (Depending on your array – your file may not start with “APM” but with a different set of letter.  Regardless, the rest of the file name will be followed by a series of numbers_SPA_date_time)
  • 3rd – Select your destination directory where you want the file saved to.  (Use something easy to find like c:\)
  • 4th – Click the “Transfer” button below the list of files

         Click on YES to confirm you want to transfer the file.

 

         In the “Transfer Status” window – look and wait for the file transfer to report successful. (This may take a minute or so)  Once the transfer is successful click OK.

         Click on “Get Diagnostic Files – SPB

 

         The SP B – File Transfer Manager Window will appear.

  • 1st – sort the files by date with the most recent date at the top by clicking the top of the “Date” column.
  • 2nd – Highlight the “APMxxxxxx.zip” file.  (Depending on your array – your file may not start with “APM” but with a different set of letter.  Regardless, the rest of the file name will be followed by a series of numbers_SPB_date_time)
  • 3rd – Select your destination directory where you want the file saved to.  (Use something easy to find like c:\)
  • 4th – Click the “Transfer” button below the list of files

         Click on YES to confirm you want to transfer the file.

 

         In the “Transfer Status” window – look and wait for the file transfer to report successful. (This may take a minute or so)  Once the transfer is successful click OK.

         Open up Windows Explorer or whatever file manager you use and go to the destination directory where you downloaded the files to.  Verify the SPA and SPB .zip files are there.

         Send those files to your VAR or EMC technical consultant/contact.

Microsoft VDA Licensing Made Simple-ish

October 12, 2011

Let’s face it VDI is hot nowadays, and for many customers it can make managing their desktop infrastructure much easier.  Regardless of which solution you decide on, whether it’s VMware View or Citrix XenDestop there is still one piece of the puzzle that everyone will have to deal with – Microsoft Licensing.  Specifically Microsoft VDA licensing. 

Like most Microsoft licensing plans, Microsoft VDA licensing is anything but clear and easy to understand.  None the less I’m going to try and simplify it as much as I can.  First let’s look at HOW you connect to your virtual desktop.

  • Option 1 – From a Traditional Windows Desktop or Laptop
  • Option 2 – From a Thin Client or Non-Windows OS (this includes iPads, Droids, Blackberry…..)

Now let’s look at WHICH Microsoft licensing options are available.  You MUST have one of these to connect to a virtual desktop.

Option 1 – Microsoft SA (Software Assurance)

  • SA is only available for Windows Desktops and Laptops and is NOT available for Thin Clients
  • In most cases SA can be added to existing workstations/laptops if not already owned.
  • Licensed per DEVICE

Option 2 – Microsoft VDA

  • The VDA license is required for ALL thin clients – regardless of whether it’s Window Embedded or a “Zero” client and ALL non-Windows OS devices (iPads, Droid Tablets, Linux….)
  • Licensed per DEVICE
  • Estimated cost is around $100/per device/per year

Let’s look a few examples to help illustrate how the licensing works.

Example 1:

  • Healthcare environment with 300 nurses working on 3 shifts (100 per shift)
  • 100 Thin Client devices throughout the hospital, all accessing Windows 7 Virtual Desktops provided by VMware View or Citrix XenDesktop that are shared by the 300 nurses
  • Microsoft Licensing Required = 100 VDA Licenses (1 per device)

Example 2:

  • Healthcare environment with 300 nurses working on 3 shifts (100 per shift)
  • 100 Windows XP PC’s throughout the hospital, all accessing Windows 7 Virtual Desktops provided by VMware View or Citrix XenDesktop that are shared by the 300 nurses.  In addition, 50 iPads are also used by the nurses INSIDE the hospital to connect to their Virtual Desktops.
  • Microsoft Licensing Required = 100 SA Licenses (1 per device) AND 50 VDA Licenses (for the iPads)

So, looking at the examples it’s pretty straight forward, and you might be thinking “it can’t be that simple can it?” – No not really.  Now we need to talk about HOME USERS.  Let’s look at some new examples:

Example 3:

  • Office environment with 100 employees
  • 100 Thin Client devices in the office connecting to virtual desktops
  • 50 of the 100 users also OCCASIONALLY work from home using their PERSONAL home PC’s and/or iPads.
  • Microsoft Licensing Required = 100 VDA Licenses for the 100 Thin Clients
    • Because the users are OCCASIONAL home users additional VDA licenses are NOT required

Example 4:

  • Office environment with 100 employees
  • 50 employees work in the office daily.  50 employees work full-time from home from their PERSONAL home PC’s
  • Microsoft Licensing Required = 100 VDA Licenses
    • All devices must be licensed including the home PC’s

Other things to note about the Microsoft VDA license are:

  1. If the device you are connecting from is licensed with SA or VDA you do not need to purchase and additional Windows OS license for the virtual desktop.
  2. Install Windows 7/Windows Vista/Windows XP virtual machines on any combination of hardware and storage
  3. Unlimited movement between servers and storage
  4. Access corporate desktop images from non-corporate owned Windows-based PCs
  5. The primary user of a Windows VDA device has extended roaming rights, which means that he/she can access their VDI desktop from any device outside of the corporate environment, such as a home PC or an internet kiosk
  6. Includes Software Assurance (SA) benefits such as 24×7 call support, training vouchers, access to Enterprise versions of Windows, etc.
  7. Eligibility for other Software Assurance products, such as MDOP and Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs
  8. Single Windows VDA license allows concurrent access for up to 4 VMs
  9. Reassignment rights to another device after 90 days, or in the case of end-point failure
  10. Dynamic desktop licensing enabled through KMS/MAK activation
  11. Unlimited backups of both running and stored VMs

I hope that helps to demystify Windows VDA licensing for your next VDI project.

Links:

Microsoft VDA Brochure

Licensing Windows for VDI

Licensing Windows for Virtual Desktops (PowerPoint)

 

VNXe Deduplication and Compression

August 22, 2011

I had to do some digging recently to get some technical details on the deduplication technology imbedded in the EMC VNXe arrays so I thought I’d share it.

Summary

The file-level dedup on the new VNX arrays is only for Shared Folders and NFS datastores.  This deduplication is policy driven and utilizes both file deduplication (single instancing) and compression.  The compression of files has NO impact on data sharing.  The deduplication acts on whole files and does not look at the metadata.  In addition, shared folders and NFS datastores can have different dedup settings and the dedup will work in conjunction with replication, snapshots and file level retention.

Policy Engine

The policy engine which controls deduplication runs automatically and is governed by high and low CPU watermarks for the Datamovers.  When the CPU is below 40% the policy engine runs at full speed.  When CPU utilization is between the low and high watermarks (40 – 75%) the policy engine is throttled.  CPU utilization above 75% will cause the policy engine to go into a paused state until the utilization drops.

There are 2 main settings that can be configured in the policy engine, the File Extension Exclude list and the Path Exclude list.  Here you can set certain file types or data paths to be excluded from deduplication. 

Additional Thresholds

The threshold for deduplication on files is 30 Days.  Files that have been read or modified in the last 30 days are exluded from the deduplication process.  There is also a file size threshold to be aware of.  Files greater than 8TB and smaller than 24KB are excluded from the deduplication process also.

So, while you certainly won’t see deduplication ratios like you would on DataDomain or Avamar appliances the VNX deduplication can prove to be very useful and save you precious production storage space.  Best of all, VNX deduplication is easy to turn on and manage through the Unisphere GUI. 

vSphere 5 vRAM Entitlements Get Larger

August 7, 2011

To say the least it’s been an interesting couple of weeks in the world of VMware.  First – the big vSphere 5 announcement – Yay!  Then the realization that VMware screwed around with the licensing scheme again and added vRAM entitlements – not so Yay!  In fact, at least from the clients we’ve spoke with, most of them were straight up pissed off, and understandably so.  The screaming was so loud from the customer base that around a week later the details of the new licensing were, well, let’s say “re-evaluated”…… yeah that sounds nice.  Essentially for the Enterprise and Enterprise Plus products the vRAM entitlements were doubled and for the Standard Edition vRAM was raised from 24GB to 32GB per processor.  Truthfully this should eliminate any issues for most customers but the real question is how much damage has been done with this new vRAM brain child?

In a recent WebEx the point was made that with the new revision to vRAM entitlements something like less that 3% of existing customers will be affected.  That’s great but if that’s the case why create this new model in the first place and get everyone worked up?  On top of getting everyone worked up VMware also got many people thinking about alternatives such as HyperV and Citrix XenServer.  That can’t be a good thing.  In fact, I was hanging out with a buddy of mine just this weekend who works for Microsoft.   In his words, Microsoft is absolutely jumping for joy over this latest licensing announcement and they should be.

In my opinion VMware is still the best virtualization platform out there.  They make a great quality product and if this new version of vSphere makes them more profitable in a competitive market place -more power to them.  It just seems to me with companies like Microsoft and Citrix gaining market share and looking for ammunition – VMware just left the door wide open.  Let’s face it, price isn’t everything but in the current economy more and more people are paying closer attention to costs.

RecoverPoint Array Based Licensing and Multi-Site Replication

June 24, 2011

I’ve written in the past about the new licensing model for EMC RecoverPoint.  Overall the change is a welcome one in my book – simplifying licensing, any kind of licensing, is a good thing – I’m sure  Microsoft would disagree but oh well.  Something I recently ran into was with a client that needed to do cross replication between 3 sites using RecoverPoint/SE.  The situation created some questions around which RecoverPoint licenses I needed and more importantly how many of them. 

The environment was pretty straight forward, 3 EMC Celerra NS-480 arrays distributed across 3 cities with OC3 connections between them all.  All three of the sites were replicating using RecoverPoint CRR to another site basically doing cross replication.  Here’s a rough sketch of what we’re looking at:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a few phone calls and e-mails the licensing solution basically looked like this:

Raleigh:

          2 x RPSE CRR Array Based Licenses

          4 RecoverPoint Appliances

Charlotte:

          2 x RPSE CRR Array Based Licenses

          4 RecoverPoint Appliances

Greensboro:

          2 x RPSE CRR Array Based Licenses

          4 RecoverPoint Appliances

There is still a 300TB limit per array for replication which for most shops in the commercial space is never going to be a problem.  That limit can be exceeded with special approval from EMC.  Without going into too much detail, the pricing of this configuration came out significantly less with the per array licensing model than if we were to try to do it on a per TB basis, not to mention it’s just simple – set it up and forget it.

Minor Changes to Avamar Licensing

June 12, 2011

With the recent release of the latest Avamar version 6 software and then new Gen4 storage nodes also came some changes to the way the licensing is handled.  In my opinion these changes are good – especially for your budget.  This changes should affect both new adopters of Avamar and existing customers, at least when it time add capacity.

In previous versions of Avamar licensing was pretty straight forward as capacity based pricing usually is.  If you need 4TB of licensing you paid for 4TB of licensing – the kicker was replication.  If you wanted to, or in the case of a single node, were required to have replication you also had to license 4TB of capacity on your DR array or node.  This was sometimes a sore point with some customers due to the inherent cost associated with the additional licensing.  EMC recently changed this licensing model in regards to replication – but just a little.  The change is in the pricing.  The replicated capacity is now licensed at a significant discount.  Regardless of the amount of data you are backing up you can now save thousands in licensing.

The second change is really more of an addition to Avamar licensing.  With the release of Avamar version 6 you have the ability to use the Avamar interface to route certain backup jobs, like databases, to a DataDomain box.  This is a great functionality for your more structured data but it does come at a cost.  You still have to license the deduplicated capacity you plan to store on the DataDomain device.   I’m a little curious how this is going to go over with customers since now you not only have to purchase the DataDomain device but have to license it again from the Avamar side of things.  While the DataDomain capacity licensing is not as expensive as regular Avamar licensing it’s still pretty significant.

EMC for Your iPad

June 5, 2011

EMC Folio App for iPad

For those of you out there with iPad there is a new app from EMC you might want to check out.  It’s called EMC Folio and can be downloaded for free at the Apple AppStore.  So what is it?  Basically a new tool to help you keep up with what is going on with EMC.  You’ll find everything from product info, services, events and breaking news.  The app is constantly updated with new content and overall it’s a pretty cool little app.

What will you find on the Folio app today?  If you missed out on going to EMC World in Vegas there are some good highlights in the Folio app.  Everything from details about the newest “Data Scientist” summit to details on VNX, Atmos and Isilon.  If you missed EMC World 2 years ago, well there’s details and highlight from that too.  You’ll also find stuff from EMC TV covering all kind of topics.  So if you have an iPad and your responsible for anything IT that relates to the hundreds of products that EMC sells you should check out this little app.

Avamar 6.0 – Integration with DataDomain

May 19, 2011

One of the greatest features of Avamar 6.0 in my opinion has to be the integration with DataDomain.  Now Avamar owners can gain the performance and scale of DataDomain for things like large databases but still keep the simple Avamar frontend they are used to. For smaller shops with relatively small amounts of data this is probably not a great fit but for larger enterprises with volumes of databases this could be just what the doctor ordered.  No more having to have multiple backup systems in place – manage everything with Avamar.

To accomplish this blending of technologies EMC uses DD Boost.  DD Boost is now part of the Avamar client and allows Avamar to manage backup and replication of DataDomain.  Even though you can control DataDomain through the Avamar interface the DataDomain itself does not have to be dedicated to Avamar controlled backups.  The DataDomain box can still server as a backup target for other backup servers.  So if you have some legacy applications being backed up traditionally via Networker, Netbackup….. you can still route those backups to the same DataDomain box you are using with Avamar.  There are many other improvements in Avamar 6.0 so if you’re currently an Avamar customer check with EMC or your reseller to see about a code upgrade.  If you haven’t looked into deduplication for your backups yet – give Avamar and/or DataDomain a look – you won’t regret it.

NEWSFLASH: Calfo Survives EMC World in Vegas!

May 13, 2011

Well, EMC World 2011 has come and gone and contrary to several of my co-workers expectations – I survived!  Why the doubts you may ask?  To start, I had never been to Las Vegas, and those who know me personally thought I probably wouldn’t come back – in all honesty I had doubts myself.  There was speculation that I had been thrown in the trunk of the car by mid-week (Thank you Jason Nash!  http://jasonnash.wordpress.com/ ) as well as the “he’s going to run off with a pair of exotic dancers for a month” rumors (my personal favorite!).   Well – sorry guys – I beat the odds and came back home in one piece, albeit $300 light in the wallet due to the Black Jack tables but not too bad overall. 

So enough about wine, women and gambling – on to the event!  I arrived Sunday afternoon thanks to a 7:30AM flight (yeah, not doing that again) and I’m envisioning a desert environment – hot and sunny when I arrive…… WRONG!  More like 40 mph winds and 55 degrees with rain on and off.  If it weren’t for the 50+ slot machines in the terminal I would have sworn the pilot smoked some crack and hung a right for Michigan somewhere along the route (it was Delta after all).  I finally got checked in and made my way over to the convention hall to get registered.  First impression – this place is huge! 

The focus this year was “Cloud Meets Big Data”.  To tell you something most of you already know – data is growing faster than ever and is only going to get worse on and exponential scale.  Of this data growth around 90% is unstructured (file) data.  So what are you going to do to manage all that filesystem growth?  EMC is hoping you buy some of their stuff of course!

Overall the event was very well organized and executed.  To give you a rough idea of the scale of the event there were:

          Over 6000 EMC customers present

          Over 1000 EMC Partners

          Participants came in from 103 Countries

          500+ sessions

Sessions were done on a first come first sever basis which worked really well compared to the last VMworld event I attended where you had to pre-register then stand in line for every session.  Due to the size of the venue and the session rooms only 1 of the many sessions I attended was even close to out of space.  As much as I’d love to go into detail about the sessions there were over 500 of them so I won’t even try.  Let just say there was something for everyone regardless of your area of interest.  With all the new products that EMC has launched in the past few months the VNX line of mid-range storage is arguably the biggest.  Many of the sessions I attended were centered on this new line of arrays.  Other sessions of interest for me were around Avamar/DataDomain and the new Isilon product line.

When we weren’t getting our EMC learn on it was dinner with customers, vendor after parties and losing my posterior at the Black Jack tables.  The highlight of the week would have to be the Chad’s World (Chad Sakac) presentation/party on Wednesday night followed by a live performance by The Fray later that night.  The Chad’s World presentation in the main hall was a full on production full of live “Face Melting Demo’s”, customer testimonials, FREE BEER and drinking games (no lie)!  I wish I could tell you about the performance of The Fray but I didn’t get a chance to make it due to other engagements.  From what I heard it was a killer concert though. 

Outside of the sessions, the vendor/sponsor hall was awesome.  I’m not sure how many total booths there were but it took hours to go through them all.  Anything and everything pertaining to technology was present.  Whether it be security, virtualization, backup, storage….. whatever your area of interest – there was something there for you.  Not to mention it was a great place for food, drinks, prizes and give-aways.   EMC even hired a world champion trick shot (pool) guy for one of their booths that was incredible to watch.

This having been my first EMC World and first trip to Vegas I give the entire experience a score of 9 out of 10. It would have been a 9.5 or 10 if I hadn’t lost $300 gambling.  From a reseller standpoint some of the information in the sessions was review just due to the amount of internal education we get directly from EMC as a partner.  Looking at it from a customer standpoint though, it is an incredible way to really find out about what EMC has to offer and how to better utilize EMC products you may already have.

As a follow-up to this I’ll be posting some various links as I get them so you can get more information on the event and the products.


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