Archive for April, 2010

EMC F.A.S.T – Details and Architecture Considerations

April 30, 2010

If you have or are looking at an EMC Clariion you may have heard about the relatively recent release of F.A.S.T for the Clariion line.  F.A.S.T stands for Fully Automated Storage Tiering which basically means the ability to move data between different tiers of disks (FC, SATA and FLASH).  EMC F.A.S.T is currently in stage 1 which infers that there will be a stage 2……and there will be.  Since stage 2 is an unknown number of months away let’s concentrate on what F.A.S.T stage 1 really gets you.

At the end of the day the idea is to have SATA, FC and EFD’s in your array and then let the array monitor the disk activity and move the data to the most appropriate type of disks.  If you have a part of a database that is cranking out 5000 IOPS it gets sent to the EFD’s while file data like your user’s shopping lists and porn videos will end up on SATA.  What F.A.S.T does is monitor your disk performance using a tool many of you may already have on your arrays, Navisphere Analyzer.  Once the array has a load on it and enough data gathered (usually around 5 days) F.A.S.T can start doing it thing.

You have two choices when it comes to the migration of a LUN, automatic or manual.  Under automatic mode F.A.S.T will identify a LUN that should be moved and do the migration for you.  Under manual mode F.A.S.T will simply make recommendations as to which LUNs should be moved.  You then have a choice to schedule the migration at a later date and time or do it right then.  To summarize the product in a sentence, ”F.A.S.T it automatically analyzes Clariion NAR data for you.”  Could you do all of this manually? Absolutely.  Would you?  That is the question. 

There are a few things to be aware of with F.A.S.T stage 1.

  • Only FC LUNs are analyzed.  If you have LUNs that reside on SATA and EFD’s F.A.S.T will not make recommendations or migrations for you.  This restriction will hopefully be lifted in future versions.
  • Migrations are done on a LUN level (sub-lun level coming soon)
  • F.A.S.T requires an enabler be loaded on the array first
  • A Windows server is required for the F.A.S.T software (can be a virtual machine)
  • If you are adding F.A.S.T to an existing array FLARE 29 is required

From a SAN design perspective adding F.A.S.T doesn’t really create any major challenges.  The biggest challenge may be financial in that you need to make sure that you have enough free space on the various tiers of storage to move your LUN’s around.  That being said the biggest benefit of F.A.S.T may also be financial in that you can maximize the use your storage infrastructure.

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EMC Clariion – Get Me Connected

April 25, 2010

The Clariion family of arrays includes the CX4-120, 240, 480, and 960.  As you would guess the higher the number the higher the number of disk drives supported hence the more powerfull the array.  Nothing earth shattering I know. What is a common denominator when it comes to questions about the different arrays?  “What kind of connectivity options are available?”.  We get this question weekly it seems like but when it comes to answering it I always find my self scrambling and looking through various charts and EMC documents.  Why?  Because I killed to many brain cells with my buddy Bud Light?…….well maybe there is some truth to that……but realistically, there are just a lot of options available.  Today you basically have 4 connectivity options available to you:

  • 4 Gb Fibre Channel
  • 8 Gb Fibre Channel
  • 1 Gb iSCSI
  • 10 Gb iSCSI

Since I was in the process of creating a cheat sheet for myself I figured why not post it to my blog and hope someone else can benefit from it as well.  So below are the various choices you have for the CX4-120, 240 and 480 (I left out the 960 intentionally).  All number are per array so divide by two if you need per storage processor.

CX4-120

  • Base Config:  4 x 4Gb FC + 4 x 1Gb iSCSI
  • Option A:  4 x 4Gb FC + 8 x 1Gb iSCSI
  • Option B:  12 x 4Gb FC + 4 x 1Gb iSCSI
  • Option C:  4 x 4Gb FC + 8 x 8Gb FC + 4 x 1Gb iSCSI
  • Option D:  4 x 4Gb FC + 4 x 1Gb iSCSI + 4 x 10Gb iSCSI

CX4-240

  • Base Config:  4 x 4Gb FC + 4 x 1Gb iSCSI
  • Option A:  4 x 4Gb FC + 8 x 1Gb iSCSI
  • Option B:  4 x 4Gb FC + 12 x 1Gb iSCSI
  • Option C:  12 x 4Gb FC + 4 x 1Gb iSCSI
  • Option D: 12 x 4Gb FC + 8 x 1Gb iSCSI
  • Option E:  4 x 4Gb FC + 8 x 8Gb FC + 4 x 1Gb iSCSI
  • Option F:  4 x 4Gb FC + 8 x 8Gb FC + 8 x 1Gb iSCSI
  • Option G:  4 x 4Gb FC + 4 x 1Gb iSCSI + 4 x 10Gb iSCSI
  • Option H:  4 x 4Gb FC + 8 x 1Gb iSCSI + 4 x 10Gb iSCSI
  • Option I:  12 x 4Gb FC + 4 x 1Gb iSCSI + 4 x 10Gb iSCSI

CX4-480

  • Base Config:  8 x 4Gb FC + 4 x 1Gb iSCSI
  • Option A:  8 x 4Gb FC + 8 x 1Gb iSCSI
  • Option B:  8 x 4Gb FC + 12 x 1Gb iSCSI
  • Option C:  16 x 4Gb FC + 4 x 1Gb iSCSI
  • Option D:  16 x 4Gb FC + 8 x 1Gb iSCSI
  • Option E:  8 x 4Gb FC + 8 x 8Gb FC + 4 x 1Gb iSCSI
  • Option F:  8 x 4Gb FC + 8 x 8Gb FC + 8 x 1Gb iSCSI
  • Option G:  8 x 4Gb FC + 4 x 1Gb iSCSI + 4 x 10Gb iSCSI
  • Option H:  8 x 4Gb FC + 4 x 1Gb iSCSI + 8 x 10Gb iSCSI
  • Option I:  8 x 4Gb FC + 8 x 1Gb iSCSI + 4 x 10Gb iSCSI
  • Option J:  16 x 4Gb FC + 4 x 1Gb iSCSI + 4 x 10Gb iSCSI
  • Option K:  8 x 4Gb FC + 8 x 8Gb FC + 4 x 1Gb iSCSI + 4 x 10Gb iSCSI

The Apple iPad gets WYSEr

April 12, 2010

A few weeks ago I blogged about the WYSE Pocket Cloud software for the iPhone.  Overall I really liked the capabilities the WYSE product and how it performed better than every other RDP solution I had seen for the iPhone.  As you are no doubt aware the Apple’s latest toy, the iPad, was recently released.  Not far behind that release, WYSE released its latest iPad ready version of the Pocket Cloud.  You can read more about it here:  http://www.crn.com/mobile/224201173;jsessionid=ZGV0Z0E4MRGQRQE1GHPSKH4ATMY32JVN

The Pocket Cloud for iPad will allow you to run a virtual Windows 7 session from your iPad.  This will solve a few minor issues that have come up in all of the reviews I’ve read about the iPad.  For one – multi-tasking.  Since the iPad OS is essentially the same as the iPhone or iPod Touch you can’t really run multiple apps at one time (not yet anyway).  With a full Windows 7 session running through the WYSE app you can not only multitask but run all of your Windows apps with ease.  Secondly – flash content.  The iPad will not run flash but in theory you could run flash based apps and content through your Windows session.  Now, how well this will work is yet to be seen but we’ll see.

Now, I haven’t actually been able to test the latest version of WYSE Pocket Cloud myself on the iPad since I still have to wait for the 3G iPad to be released at the end of this month, but it’s on order already.  As soon as I get it you can bet that the WYSE software will be the first thing loaded.  Stay tuned for hands on review and possibly a demo video.

Generating NAR Data from Your EMC Array

April 1, 2010

Many time we need to have performance data from a clients array.  If you have the full version of Navisphere Analyzer you can do this yourself but in many cases Navi Analyzer is not available.  If you are trying to troubleshoot performance problems or design a new array based on existing performance data you may need to provide a “NAR” file to EMC or your EMC reseller.  This is not something you will probably do often and in fact you may never need to do it.  There is not a lot of info on the web on how to gather this information so I created a short 5 minute video to walk through the process.  Click below to check it out.