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EMC Clariion FLARE Code Operating Environment


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The Clariion Environment is governed by FLARE Code and the Symmetrix / DMX by Enginuity Code. FLARE Code was developed internally at EMC (Data General) and so far to my knowledge (certain portions) have been outsourced to EMC India for development purposes.

I have posted a detailed blog on EMC’s Enginuity Operating Environment in Dec 2008.


FLARE: Fibre Logic Array Runtime Environment


Clariion name comes from Data General, where they designed the first 16bit minicomputer called NOVA. Later NOVA was called NOVAII. NOVAII became AVIION (letters rearranged). CLARiiON is a simple derivative of that naming convention. AVIION name still exist with AX100, AX150 and AX-4.

 

EMC Engineering is the crown of EMC, inventing new technology and pushing the envelope in terms of defining future products, technologies and markets. That is exactly what has happened with acquisition of Data General by EMC. They have really taken the Clariion products, rebranded them with tons of features and user interfaces to make it the flagship product. If you asked anyone at EMC about 3 to 5 years ago about their flagship product, the answer would have been Symmetrix, ask them now? Clariion has dominated the SMB and the Mid Tier Enterprise market making it the cash cow at EMC.

Unlike the Enginuity Code, the FLARE Code is customer self upgradable. This Code sits on the first 5 drives of the Clariion SPE or DAE (depending on the model), the drives that are marked with numbers (0 to 4) and do not remove stickers.

With a Code upgrade, the FLARE Operating Environment gets loaded onto the service processor and this can be performed while the machine is running. The funny part is, a Clariion service processor is merely a PC running Microsoft Windows XP 32 Bit (which might have changed with CX4 to possibly a Windows XP 64Bit Version). In short when you reboot your Clariion service processors, Windows XP will start and load the FLARE Operating Environment from the first 5 drives and bring the system online.

With these first 5 drives, do not to configure any user-host LUN Space on them. Best bet, get 5 x 73GB 15K drives and only use it for FLARE Code operation. The total space the FLARE Code occupies is 6GB per disk if its release 19 and lower and for releases 24 and above its 33GB per disk drive. Also along with the Flare Operating Environment on the first 5 drives is stored the PSM LUN (Persistent Storage Manager), Flare Database LUN and Vault Data (Save Area for write cache in case of a catastropic failure of SP). Do not move your drives around on the Clariion. Also do not insert a different drive type when replacing the first 5 drives.

From the Data General days with the Clariion, the FLARE Operating Environment is pretty open; in sense the customer can perform all sorts of changes without any restrictions (unlike the Symmetrix and DMX) where a lot of it is done through Hardware BIN file changes. Upgrades in terms of hardware, software, etc can all be performed by the customer themselves making it a neat product to work on.

As new FLARE Code releases hit market, customers can download those FLARE Code upgrades from EMC’s Customer Website (Powerlink) and self install it (I believe if you have purchased Clariion from Dell, you have to obtain FLARE Code through Dell).

The service processors run the Flare Operating Environment along with the first 5 drives. During a Non Disruptive Upgrade (NDU), the FLARE Code is loaded on one SP at a time and then reboot is performed. In short if your failover and redundancy is setup correctly you will not have any outages. It is highly recommended you perform these changes during quite times or possibly take your SQL and Oracle databases down before performing this upgrade. Also a good practice would be to get EMC Grabs out of the host that are connected to this Clariion and verify that they are new FLARE Code compatible.

If you are new to Clariion Environment, it is highly recommended you perform the pre-installation steps or read release notes before performing an upgrade or get professional assistance. It is very normal for customers to go through multiple code upgrades during the 3 to 5 year life cycle of these machines.

These Service processors also sent you service alerts through an email or sms system for proactive replacement and failing components example: failing drive, failing SP, backend issues, data sector invalidates, etc. The replacement of these parts should be carried out by an EMC trained and qualified engineer.

It is common knowledge, you can enter Engineering mode on FLARE Code using keys Ctrl + Shft + F12 and using the engineering password. The Engineering mode will allow you to perform certain functions not allowed in a normal Admin or User mode.

Initially with the FC series of Clariion, there was no web interface into the Service Processors, which has been added with the CX series of machines. With release 26 new features enhancing customers to perform a lot of maintenance work themselves has been added including performing SP Collects, etc.

FLARE Code version information is as follows.

For the sake of this blog we will limit our explanation only to CX, CX3 and CX4 platforms.

Generation 1: CX200, CX400, CX600

Generation 2: CX300, CX500, CX700 including the iSCSI flavors

Generation 3: CX3-10, CX3-20, CX3-40, CX3-80

Generation 4: CX4-120, CX4-240, CX4-480, CX4-960      
(last three digits are the number of drives it can support)

The FLARE Code is broken down as follows (Please see the color coded scheme below).

1.14.600.5.022 (32 Bit)

2.16.700.5.031 (32 Bit)

2.24.700.5.031 (32 Bit)

3.26.020.5.011 (32 Bit)

4.28.480.5.010 (64 Bit)


The first digit: 1, 2, 3 and 4 indicate the Generation of the machine this code level can be installed on. For the 1st and the 2nd generation of machines (CX600 and CX700), you should be able to use standard 2nd Generation code levels. CX3 code levels would have a 3 in front of it and so forth. 

These numbers will always increase as new Generations of Clariion machines are added.

 

The next two digits are the release numbers; these release numbers are very important and really give you additional features related to the Clariion FLARE Operating Environment. When someone comes up to you and says, my Clariion CX3 is running Flare 26, this is what they mean.

These numbers will always increase, 28 being the latest FLARE Code Version.

 

The next 3 digits are the model number of the Clariion, like the CX600, CX700, CX3-20 and CX4-480.

These numbers can be all over the map, depending what the model number of your Clariion is.

 

The 5 here is unknown, its coming across from previous FLARE releases. Going back to the pre CX days (FC), this 5 was still used in there. I believe this was some sort of code internally used at Data General indicating its a FLARE release.

 

The last 3 digits are the Patch level of the FLARE Environment. This would be the last known compilation of the code for that FLARE version.

 

Again if you are looking at the CX and the FLARE Code Operating Environment it is pretty strong, powerful, lots of features a customer can use and does blow away a lot of other manufacturers in the same market space.


Hope this information was useful in your endeavor while searching for Clariion Flare Code Operating Environment information.

 

  • Adrians

    EMC vault packs are actually quite complicated; if you want more info email me – adrians@vmguest.com

  • JC

    Does this apply to VNX too?

  • Kvijay221

    first five disks of an array are O.S.If my guess is right there shoud be some raid group on these disks.if it is right tell me what raid group it shoud be & does it contains redundancy of os.. ?

  • Saurabh Srivastava

    5 here indicate that this is a normal code bundle

  • Mkitson

    CX3-20 Flare version “3.26.20.5.020”  Can anyone tell me how down level this is?

  • wipchawm

    Hi, following is the answer to the queries:-

    1. With Engineering mode enabled, Host can be registered or De-registered, Replication Fractures can be done and other admin tasks like these.
    2.  Not true, EMC has different Flare codes for different models.
    3. Following are the contents of the Vault drives:-
    a) Boot Partition ( Primary
    b) Utility Partitionc) Repositiory
    d) PSM Lun

  • bomfunk80

    Almost. Current revision is CX5-Bundle-05.31.000.5.720
    5th generation, code family 31, 720 stands for sub release 7xx patch 20

  • bomfunk80

    this is a really old release from 2008.
    latest rev. is 03.26.020.5.032 from early 2011.
    I will be surprised if there comes something new.

  • Dhakshinamoorthy B

    Hi Devang,
    1.We are using EMC Celerra NX-4 (Backend is clariion AX4-5F8). first five drives contain falre os. what will happen if i destroy the raid group? SPs will boot?

    2. EMC support person took two windows xp embedded machines through emcremote. i know those machines are SP.we have one more storage VNX5300. which OS version running for SP in VNX like windows XP in clariion?