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EMC Symmetrix: VCMDB and ACLX


VCMDB: Volume Control Manager Database

ACLX: Access Control Logix

VCM: Volume Control Manager device (where the database resides)

VCM Gatekeeper: Volume Control Manager Gatekeeper (database doesn’t reside on these devices)

SFS Volumes: Symmetrix File System Volumes

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If you work with EMC Symmetrix systems, you know the importance of VCMDB. Introduced with Symmetrix 4.0 and used in every generation after that, VCMDB stands for Volume Control Manager Database). Also in the latest generation of systems the VCM device is at times also referenced as VCM Gatekeeper.

VCMDB is a relatively small device that is created on the Symmetrix system that allows for hosts access to various devices on the Symmetrix. VCMDB keeps an inventory of which devices have access to which host (HBA’s). Without a VCMDB in place, host systems will not be able to access the Symmetrix. The VCMDB should be backed up on regular intervals and would be helpful in a rainy day.

The VCMDB device size grew along with new generations of Symmetrix systems that got introduced, primarily a means to keep a track of more supported devices (hypers / splits) on these platforms. With the introduction of Symmetrix V-Max, the VCMDB concept is now a bit changed to ACLX (Access Control Logix). Access Logix is being used on the Clariion systems for years now.

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Here are a few things to consider with VCMDB

  • On the older Symmetrix systems (4.0, 4.8, 5.0 and 5.5), the VCMDB (device) is mapped to all the channels, host
  • In these systems the VCMDB access is typically restricted by Volume Logix or ACL (access control lists)
  • With the Symmetrix DMX, DMX2 Systems – Enginuity Code 5670, 5671 the VCM device only requires to be mapped to the Management stations
  • Management stations include SYMCLI Server / Ionix Control Center Server / Symmetrix Management Console
  • At all given times on the DMX, DMX2 platforms, the VCMDB would need to be mapped to at least one station to perform online SDDR changes. Alternatively this problem of not having device mapped to at least one host can also be fixed by the PSE lab
  • Mapping VCMDB to multiple hosts, channels may make the device venerable to crashes, potential tampering, device attributes and data change
  • You can write disable VCMDB to avoid the potential of the above
  • With these systems, the host can communicate to the VCMDB via Syscalls
  • The VCM Edit Director Flag (fibrepath) needs to be enabled for management stations to see VCM device
  • The database (device masking database) of the VCMDB resides on the SFS volumes. This feature was introduced with DMX-3 / DMX-4 (5772 version of microcode). A 6 cylinder VCM Gatekeeper device is okay to use with these versions of microcode.
  • Starting Symmetrix V-Max systems, the concept of ACLX was introducted for Auto Provisioning etc.
  • VCM volumes are required to be mirrored devices like SFS volumes

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Various different types of VCMDB

Type 0, Type 1, Type 2, Type 3, Type 4, Type 5, Type 6

  • Type 0: Symmetrix 4.0, 32 Director System, 16 cylinder device size, Volume Logix 2.x
  • Type 1: Symmetrix 4.8, 64 Director System, 16 cylinder device size, ESN Manager 1.x
  • Type 2: Symmetrix 5.0/5.5, 64 Director System, 16 cylinder device size, ESN Manager 2.x
  • Type 3: Symmetrix DMX, supports 32 fibre/ 32 iSCSI initiator records per port, 24 cylinder device in size. Enginuity 5569, Solutions Enabler 5.2, Support 8000 devices
  • Type 4: Symmetrix DMX/DMX-2, supports 64 fibre/ 128 iSCSI initiator records per port, 48 cylinder device in size. Enginuity 5670, Solutions Enabler 5.3, Supports 8000 devices
  • Type 5: Symmetrix DMX/DMX-2, supports 64 fibre / 128 iSCSI initiator records per port, 96 cylinder device in size, Enginuity 5671, Solutions Enabler 6.0, Supports 16000 devices
  • Type 6: Symmetrix DMX-3, DMX-4, supports 256 fibre / 512 iSCSI initiator records per port, 96 cylinder device in size, Enginuity 5771, 5772 Solutions Enabler 6.0, Supports 64000 devices

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Notes about various Types of VCMDB

  • Type 3 of VCMDB can be converted to Type 4 VCMDB (code upgrade from 5669 to 5670 to 5671)
  • Solutions enabler 5.2 and Solutions Enabler 5.3 can read/write Type 3 VCMDB
  • Solutions enabler 5.3 can read/write Type 4 VCMDB
  • VCMDB device is recommended to be a certain size, but it is okay to use a larger size device if no choices are available.

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Converting various types of VCMDB using SymCLI

  • If the device cylinder size is equal with a conversion you are attempting, the following will help you convert your VCMDB from type x to type y.
    • Backup the device
    • symmaskdb –sid <symmid> backup –file backup
    • Check the VCMDB type using
    • symmaskdb – sid <symmid> list database
    • Convert from type 4 to type 5
    • Symmaskdb – sid <symmid> convert –vcmdb_type 5 –file Covertfilename

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To initialize VCMDB for the first time on a Symmetrix System

Within Ionix Control Center

  • Click on the Symmetrix array you are trying to initialize the VCMDB
  • Select Masking then VCMDB Management and then initialize
  • Select a new backup and create a file name
  • Create a file name with .sdm extenstion
  • Click on Activate the VCMDB
  • VCMDB backups are stored at \home\ecc_inf\data\hostname\data\backup\symmserial\
  • Also it will be viewable within Ionix Control Center at Systems/Symmetrix/VCMDB Backups/

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With SymCLI

  • To query the VCMDB database
    • symmaskdb –sid <symmid> list database
    • To backup and init an existing VCMDB database
      • symmaskdb – sid <symmid> init –file backup

More technical deep dive coming soon on various other topics…including ACLX.

Cheers
@storagenerve

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  • mohanb58

    ***# With the Symmetrix DMX, DMX2 Systems – Enginuity Code 5670, 5671 the VCM device only requires to be mapped to the Management stations
    # Management stations include SYMCLI Server / Ionix Control Center Server / Symmetrix Management Console***

    Devang, what do you mean when you say that the VCM device only requires to be mapped to the Management stations?
    We have our Symm's running on Enginuity 5771/73 on DMX3's and 4s resp.,
    and when I look out for the VCM devices, they're there/mapped to all the FAs, did a symcfg list -addr -fa all.

    Thanks.
    mohan.

  • mohanb58

    and yes, it's a type-6 VCMDB

    mohan.

  • http://storagenerve.com storagenerve

    Hi Mohan,

    Initially with the Symmetrix 5000/8000 series of systems the VCM device would need to be mapped to all the host channels, it would be write enabled etc.

    With the Type 6 devices now, you only map the VCM device to your Symmetrix Management Station, your SYMCLI server and if you have an IONIX Control Center server. Using Syscalls the symmetrix will not manage to interface the VCMDB that resides on the SFS volumes and maintain and manage to do its required functions.

    In short having a requirement to map all the FA's to the VCM does not exist any more. If FA 12b and FA 4b has your management stations connected to it, you will only need to map the VCM device to those two FA ports.

    Thanks
    Devang

  • mohanb58

    Thanks Devang,..i got it :)

    Regards,
    Rohan.

  • mohanb58

    Devang,
    did you say “Using syscalls the symmetrix will not manage to interface the VCMDB..?”
    The Symmetrix would use syscalls to interface the VCMDB,right?

    Thanks.
    mohan