Dell EMC

16 posts

Connecting your Dell EMC systems to SRS, the easy way!

Dell EMC uses Secure Remote Services (SRS, formerly known as ESRS) to enhance the tech support experience for their products. There’s two sides to this support: connect home, and connect in. Connect home is your device itself dialing back home to Dell EMC to report various things such as errors, automatic support uploads, etc. If either of this results in a Service Request at Dell EMC, a engineer can then use SRS to dial in / connect in and have a look at the faulty system. The latter saves you from having to host a Webex session.

Dell EMC likes to have all Dell EMC systems connected to SRS, again for two reasons. First of all, it reduces the time spent by engineers in troubleshooting an issue. If an engineer can dial in himself, without having to negotiate a Webex session with the customer, that means more SRs per engineer per day and lower support costs for Dell EMC. Secondly, it will result in faster incident resolution, and thus a happier customer. The support engineer can look up the state of a defective drive independently, and order new parts while the customer is sleeping. Win-win!

As such, Dell EMC motivates us partners to connect all new systems to SRS. I have been doing that for some years now, but noticed I was using an antiquated approach. It turns out many of the new systems have REST API-based methods to register themselves with SRS. Here’s how!

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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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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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XtremIO X2: easier scaling, fewer cables and metadata aware replication

Storage Field Day 14 VMAX and XtremIO X2The Dell EMC High-End Systems Division talked about two systems. First about the VMAX All Flash, and later about the XtremIO X2. This post is about  the latter one. The XtremIO X2 builds upon the foundation of the original “old” XtremIO, but also does a couple of things differently. This post will explore those difference a bit, and will also talk about asynchronous and synchronous replication.

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VMAX All Flash: Enterprise reliability and SRDF at <1ms latency

Storage Field Day 14 VMAX and XtremIO X2Back in October we visited Dell EMC for a few Storage Field Day 14 presentations. Walking into the new EBC building we bumped into two racks. One with a VMAX all flash system and another with a XtremIO X2. Let’s kick off the Storage Field Day 14 report with VMAX All Flash. There’s still a lot of thought going into this enterprise class storage array…

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