Archive for the ‘EMC’ Category

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 “” 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 “” 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.

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.


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. 

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:


          2 x RPSE CRR Array Based Licenses

          4 RecoverPoint Appliances


          2 x RPSE CRR Array Based Licenses

          4 RecoverPoint Appliances


          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.

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! ) 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.

Avamar Gen 4 Hardware Now Available

April 24, 2011

A new generation of Avamar hardware had recently been released.  Generation 4 of Avamar is now available.  There have been some significant changes with this latest generation.  Perhaps the most obvious change is the new node sizes that are available.  Avamar is now available in 1.3TB, 2.6TB, 3.9TB and 7.8TB nodes.  Nice round numbers right? J  There are a few caveats to this new node sizing however.  RAIN configs (multi-node systems)  can only be built out with the 2.9TB or 7.8TB nodes.  This is a departure from past generations of the Avamar product where RAIN configs could be built with basically any of the nodes that were available.  For mid and large size customers this probably won’t cause any issues but it may make Avamar a bit too pricey for smaller customers to get their foot in the door on Avamar.  The 1.3TB and 2.6TB as well as the two larger nodes can all still be used in single node systems just like before. 

Another change that may affect some is the death of the 1×2 configuration.  This configuration had its place in some solutions where a full RAIN was just too larger and a single node system wasn’t enough.  I don’t see this being a huge problem for most as in my experience we sold very few of this type of configuration.  On top of that, with the release of the larger nodes, a single node system can handle almost 8TB of data.

A few more minor changes that are worth noting:

  • All Gen 4 nodes now use a RAID 1 configuration internally
  • A spare node is no longer required for RAIN configuration (I’d still have one though)
  • The underlying OS is now SLES Linux instead of RHEL Linux
  • Hardware for the 1.3, 2.6 and 3.9TB nodes is the DELL R710
  • Hardware for the 7.8TB node is the DELL R510

For anyone with existing Gen 3 Avamar systems – don’t worry – the 1TB, 2TB and 3.3TB nodes are still available as upgrades for your existing systems.

Thanks for reading!

Finally – RecoverPoint Replication Licensing Made Simple

February 27, 2011

Replicated SAN/NAS arrays is certainly nothing new.  In fact it is pretty much the standard nowadays for most IT departments.  Replicating EMC arrays has never really been complicated but there were several options for doing it.  If you had a Symmetrix then it was SRDF, if you had a Clariion it was MirrorView and if you had a Celerra you had Celerra Replicator.  Of course if you had a Celerra with backend block enabled you probably needed Celerra Replicator and MirrorView.  Of course in place of those replication technologies you could use RecoverPoint which was the ultimate – if you could afford it.  Fun right?

MirrorView and Celerra Replicator were pretty straight forward, you license each array with the software and you’re off to the races.  No need to worry about how many TB’s of data you had nor any “crap I’m out of capacity” surprises midway through the year.  RecoverPoint on the other hand was licensed…..well…..completely the opposite of everything else.  Now I certainly understand this per TB licensing for RP, EMC is in the business of making a profit after all and there is really nothing that can compete with what RP can do.  None the less RP licensing could get expensive quickly for larger environments.

Several months ago there started to be rumblings that eventually EMC would eventually have RecoverPoint as it primary means of replication for its arrays.  That naturally generated lots of questions around how exactly that would happen and of course – how pricing would be handled.  Now that the new VNX line has been release along with the new software bundles its become much more clear.  As I have mentioned in previous blogs, RecoverPoint is now licensed per array and on top of that the pricing is very attractive.

For VNX customers all the replication technologies are bundled into one remote replication software bundle which gives you MirrorView, Celerra Replicator and RecoverPoint.  This bundle needs to be licensed on both arrays.  To take advantage of RP you still need to purchase RP Appliances at an additional cost but you don’t have to worry about how much data you are replicating.  From what I’ve seen the “max capacity” is currently 300TB which shouldn’t be a problem for most non-enterprise type accounts.

For Celerra and Clariion customers the software licensing for MirrorView and Celerra Replicator is the same as it always was but now you can license RP on a per array model.  If you already have RP (per TB) there is an upgrade path with associated discounts.  If you are adding RP, the same still holds as with VNX, you have to license both arrays and you need to buy the appliances.

So if you had considered RecoverPoint in the past but wrote it off due to costs concerns, now is a great time to revisit the product with your reseller.  Especially for the smaller arrays like the CX4-120 and NS-120, pricing is VERY reasonable.

New EMC VNX Changes Software Licensing Model

January 25, 2011

The new recently revealed EMC VNX line of storage arrays was a big deal for EMC and storage in general.  Essentially the replacement for both the Clariion and the Celerra storage lines, VNX carries over some things from it’s predecessors but also makes some welcome changes.  In particular I’m talking about software licensing.  Anyone who’s ever dealt with purchasing or configuring an EMC array know’s what a challenge it can be at times.  Well EMC must have heard the screaming, and in my opinion, they have just made life easier for a lot of people.

For the most part all of the software and tools that were available on the Clariion and Celerra lines are all still available.  The differences are in how they’re “packaged”, how they’re licensed…. and most importantly how much less they cost.  The easiest way to do this is going to be to just list everything out….. so here you go:

VNX Software Options

Base Software (comes with every array whether you want it or not)

  • Unisphere Manager, Compression (File), De-Duplication (File), Virtual Provisioning

Additional Base Software

  • VNXe 3100 – Snaps
  • VNXe3300 and VNX – Compression (Block), SAN Copy

FAST Suite

  • VNXe – n/a
  • VNX – FAST VP, FAST Cache, Unisphere Analyser, Unispher QoS

Security and Compliance Suite

  • VNXe – VEE, File Level Reporter
  • VNX – VEE, FLR, VNX Host Encryption

Local Protection Suite

  • VNXe – Snap
  • VNX – SnapView, SnapSure, RecoverPoint/SE (CDP)*

*ALL RecoverPoint/SE now licensed Per Array!!!  –  FINALLY

Remote Protection Suite

  • VNXe – Replicator
  • VNX – MirrorView, Replicator, RecoverPoint/SE (CRR)

Application Protection Suite

  • VNXe – Replication Manager
  • VNX – Replication Manager, Data Protection Advisor for Replication

*Replication Manager now licensed per Array!!!! – No more worrying about the # of host and high costs

Total Protection Pack Suite

  • VNXe 3100 – n/a
  • VNXe3300 and VNX – Local Protection Suite, Remote Protection Suite, Application Protection Suite

Total Efficiency Pack Suite

  • VNXe- n/a
  • VNX – All suites

Total Value Pack Suite

  • VNXe – all 3 VNXe suites
  • VNX5100 – Protection Pack + Security and Compliance Suite

As you can see there is still a lot to choose from but the change to “per array” licensing and significant cost reductions across the board are going to make these arrays very viable for a larger segment of the market.  If you’re in the market for a new storage array you’ll be doing yourself a disservice by not at least taking a good look at what EMC has to offer……especially the “EMC is just too expensive” crowd.

Native FcoE Connectivity Now Available on Clariion Arrays

November 21, 2010

FCoE or Fibre Channel over Ethernet has been a long awaited cabability for the EMC Clariion Platform.  For many IT shops who have been considering upgrading to something like a Cisco Nexus infrastructure this is great news.  Now in addition to 1Gb iSCSI, 10Gb iSCSI, 4Gb FC and 8Gb FC Ultra Flex Module you can add FCoE to the mix.  This of course give you the capability to run both your SAN and your IP traffic over the same link.  Clariion customers now have the choice of either 8Gb FC and FCoE or 1GbE/10GbE iSCSI as base configs for new Clariion arrays…..and of course existing arrays can be upgraded to the new technology with a simple Ultra Flex port upgrade.

So here are some of the details you’ll need to know about the new Ultra Flex FCoE modules:

  • Sold in pairs
  • Max of 2 modules for the CX4-120 and CX4-240 and a max of 4 modules for the 480 and 960
  • Suppoort for Cisco Nexus and Brocade CEE
  • FCoE performance should equal roughly 90% of what you’d see from 8Gb FC
  • Can only be installed in empty Ultra Flex ports. **Existing modules can NOT be replaced**
  • Support for Optical or TwinAx (copper) SFP+
    • EMC sku – CX-MXGFCOEOPA – for optical connectivity
    • EMC sku – CX-MXGFCOETWA – for TwinAx connectivity
    • Each module has 2 port and is sold in a pair (4 ports total per sku)
  • Currently support: Windows 2003/2008, Linux (SLES 10,11 / RHEL 5,6), ESX 3.5, 4.0, 4.1
  • Customer Installable
  • 2 full coordinated reboots required during installation

From a cost standpoint the modules are very reasonable wether ordering as part of a new array or upgrading your existing array.  Talk to your EMC reseller to get more details.