Reassign Isilon node IP addresses; go OCD!

A while ago I installed two new Isilon H400 clusters. With any IT infrastructure, consistency and predictability is key to a trouble-free experience in the years to come. Cables should be neatly installed, labeled and predictable. Wiring in the internal network cables, it helps if the nodes 1 through 4 are connected to switch ports 1 through 4 in order, instead of 1,4,2,3. While some might consider this OCD, it’s the attention to detail that makes later troubleshooting easier and faster. Like a colleague said: “If someone pays enough attention to the little details, I can rest assured that he definitely pays attention to the big, important things!”.

So I installed the cluster, configured it, then ran an isi status to verify everything. Imagine my delight when I saw this:

Isilon nodes before reassigning node IPs

Aaargh!

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Data Domain migration and retaining your system name and IP addresses

DD3300Several of our Data Domains are end-of-life and need to be replaced with new hardware. In most of the cases it’s a small site with a small Data Domain that only holds roughly 1 month of backups. In these cases we just install a new Data Domain next to it, reconfigure our our backup software, and that’s it. After a month, the old backups have expired and you can switch off the old Data Domain.

For the slightly larger sites, there’s more than one backup client/server writing to the Data Domain. There are Oracle RMAN backups, SQL dumps, etc. Plus the retention of backups on the Data Domain is much, much longer. In these cases you want to perform a proper Data Domain migration which retains the name and IP address of the old Data Domain, so you don’t have to touch all the clients. Here’s how you do that, and a DDBoost gotcha you should be aware of!

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Isilon node loses network connectivity after reboot

Isilon H400 chassis with serial cable attachedIn my previous post I described how to reformat an Isilon node if for some reason the cluster creation is defective. After we got our new Gen 6 clusters up and running, we ran into another peculiar issue: the Isilon nodes lose network connectivity after a reboot. If we would then unplug the network cable and move it to a different port on the Isilon node, the network would come online again. Move the cable back to the original port: connectivity OK. Reboot the node: “no carrier” on the interface, and no connectivity.

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Reformat an Isilon node and try again!

Isilon H400 chassis with serial cable attachedWhile installing a new Dell EMC Isilon H400 cluster, I noticed node 1 in the chassis was acting up a bit. It allowed me to go through the initial cluster creation wizard, but didn’t run through all the steps and scripts afterwards. I left the node in that state while I installed another cluster, but after two hours or so, nothing had changed. With no other options, I pressed Ctrl + C: the screen became responsive again and eventually the node rebooted. However, it would never finish that boot, instead halting at “/ifs not found”. Eventually, it would need a reformat before it would function properly again…

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PSA: Unity VMware VMFS replication limit hit at 64 sessions

Our company recently replaced a lot of VNX storage by new Dell EMC Unity all-flash arrays. Since we are/were primarily a VMware hypervisor house, we decided to go ahead and create the new LUNs as VMware VMFS (Block) LUNs/datastores. This however resulted hitting us a weird and unexpected replication limit at 64 sessions.

 

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Data Domain DD3300: Bye LACP, Hello DDBoost Interface Groups!

DD3300I recently deployed a  new 32TB Data Domain DD3300 system. The initial configuration is easy and familiar enough. Connect to the system via the serial cable, setup iDRAC, and run the initial configuration wizard. Afterwards the rest of the configuration can be performed via SSH and/or the GUI.

While continuing with the configuration, I noticed I could not create an aggregate Ethernet interface. No LACP or Etherchannel! So what if my Ethernet interface goes down, for whatever reason?

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Zerto facilitates IT resiliency with a single VM replication platform

Zerto IT ResiliencyBack at Storage Field Day 16 in Boston, Zerto presented their VM replication software. It’s a block level, continuous hypervisor based replication, using a journal to log I/O in a VCR-like fashion. This enables you to rewind to any point in time that’s covered in the journal, and recover your VMs to that exact state. Zerto’s plans are a bit grander than “just VM Replication” though… they aim to cover the complete IT Resiliency market.

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NVMe and NVMe-oF 101 with SNIA: queues everywhere!

SNIA dictionaryDr. J. Metz talked with us about NVMe at Storage Field Day 16 in Boston. NVMe is rapidly becoming one of the new hypes in the storage infrastructure market. A few years ago, everything was cloud. Vendors now go out of their way to mention their array contains NVMe storage, or is at the very least ready for it. So should you care? And if so, why?

SNIA’s mission is to lead the storage industry worldwide in developing and promoting vendor-neutral architectures, standards and educational services that facilitate the efficient management, movement, and security of information. They do that in a number of ways: standards development and adoption for one, but also through interoperability testing (a.k.a. plugfest). They aim to help in technology acceleration and promotion: solving current problems with new technologies. So NVMe-oF fits this mission well: it’s a relatively new technology, and it can solve some of the queuing problems we’re seeing in storage nowadays. Let’s dive in!

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CloudIQ is looking out for your storage system’s health

A few week ago we visited Dell EMC in Boston for Storage Field Day 16. Susan Sharpe presented CloudIQ to us. If you’re unfamiliar with CloudIQ: it keeps track of your storage system performance, health, capacity and notifies you in case of any anomalies. If you’ve got a Dell EMC Unity storage system, you can already use it for free. And it’s also being actively developed, so expect many new features to come into production over time!

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I’m shipping up to Boston for Storage Field Day 16

Taking the train to AMS for Storage Field Day 16Yes, I’m sorry about the title too. But also glad to announce I’m shipping up to Boston for Storage Field Day 16 this week! Just ignore the fact I’m not on a ship but on a train for now, and all should be well… Next stop is AMS, then a direct flight to BOS. It’s going to be a slightly shorter, two-day Storage Field Day this time around. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to receive a lot less content!

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