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Vaulting on EMC Symmetrix V-Max Systems

May 6th, 2009 1 comment

In this blog post we will cover the Vaulting technology related to the EMC Symmetrix V-Max and the DMX-4 technology. Vaulting is a key feature added on DMX-3 series of machines, which was further extended into the DMX-4’s and now the Symmetrix V-Max Systems. With power outages or major power fluctuations or other critical environmental conditions (temperature, water, fire and environmental hazards) in data centers, the vaulting technology saves all the data during the shutdown of the machine offering additional safety features with the customer’s data in transit (channels, cache – memory, etc).

 

Vaulting wasn’t available on the Symmetrix 3, 5 & 8 series of machines neither on the DMX nor the DMX-2 technology. With those machines, as a power hit, power fluctuation or environmental issue would be sensed; the BBU (battery backup unit) power would kick in keeping the machine in an online state for 3 minutes. During this time, all the I/O to and from the host is aborted; anything sitting in the cache is de-staged and written to disk drives. At that point, the entire machine goes into a DD (dead) state leaving itself offline (powered on but non-operational) or turning itself off if it’s a power outage.

 

With the DMX-3, DMX-4 and V-Max systems, since the number of cabinets has expanded; it becomes crucial that the data be saved before the Symmetrix turns itself offline or off. The concept of BBU has now changed to SPS (Standby Power Supply) modules that are locally attached to DAE’s (in Storage cabinets) and also in the System bay, that will keep the Symmetrix running for 5 minutes. During this time, the Symmetrix cuts off all I/O from the host, then lets the cache in the machine sync for consistency and then de-stage all the data from the cache – memory to the vault drives.

 

With the DMX-4 and V-Max as the memory is mirrored, it copies all the mirrored memory data to vault drives, creating literary two copies of the same data. In the later part of the blog post we will discuss what the rules of vaulting are and how is this technology deployed within the customers EMC Symmetrix storage environment.

 

The official definition of vault operation as referenced by EMC is: The vault operation is triggered when the Symmetrix system is powered down or transitioned offline or when environmental conditions initiate a vault situation.

 

During a power up procedure after the shutdown (vaulting), the hardware initializes and restores all the data in the cache – memory from the vault drives which verifies its integrity. Before another vault operation can be initialized, the SPS (Standby Power Supply’s) will have to be charged, which might take hours.

 

EMC Hopkinton Manufacturing (remember those HK serial numbers, they stand for HopKinton)

The picture as published by Boston Globe

 

 To read the blog post on EMC Serial Numbers, please see here

 

 The following are the Vault requirements within the V-Max Systems 

  1. Each director pair (2 – odd / even) on the V-Max system will require 200GB of vault space, that is 40 x 5GB chucks of dedicated vault data space
  2. The vault drives are M1 devices with not Raid or mirroring protection
  3. The vault drive cannot to be used by any host and is reserved for the Symmetrix
  4. Vault drives cannot be configured by Timefinder/Snap, virtual or dynamic sparing
  5. The data space created by the vault drives will be almost equivalent to the size of the cache – memory installed on the machine
  6. As mentioned in the previous blog post on enterprise flash drives, EFD’s cannot be used for vaulting operations
  7. For permanent sparing, 5 vault drives per loop are essential.


    One Correction as pointed byBasRaayman@StorageNerve Regarding vaulting/EFD’s on #V-Max. According to @storageanarchy this can be requested via RPQ: See http://bit.ly/5Lvrg 

    As referenced by TSA on his site, I quote “……You cannot order a DS8K with only SSDs (both Symmetrix DMX-4 and V-Max can be RPQ’d as flash-only configurations, although using HDDs for vault drives is more cost-effective).”

Enterprise Flash Drives (EFD) on EMC Symmetrix V-Max Systems


EMC has been a pioneer it its Flash Drive (EFD) Technology. With the V-Max Systems EMC has taken another leap in the Flash Drive technology to support larger and denser drives. Typically with EMC Symmetrix V-Max systems you will see support for 73GB, 146GB, 200GB and 400GB EFD’s.

 

 

The following are some of the characteristics and benefits of using Enterprise Flash Drive (EFD) with EMC Symmetrix V-Max Systems.

  1. 30X IOPS compared to traditional disk drives
  2. 98% less power consumption per I/O compared to traditional disk drives
  3. 60% lighter in weight than traditional disk drives
  4. 4GB interface available with Flash Drives
  5. No spindles, no mechanical failures
  6. Used for very high I/O, throughput and data hungry applications like Stock & Currency Trading, Algorithmic Trading, Data modeling, Real Time data needs, etc
  7. No special software required to manage the EFD technology on EMC’s
  8. Same looks feels of external casing of the EFD like the Traditional drives, fits in the same enclosure as a standard fiber channel drives
  9. Drives are seen by the storage and host as traditional fiber channel drives (73GB, 146GB, 200GB, 400GB)
  10. The above drives are also supported on the DMX-4 Series of machines
  11. Flash Drives are classified as Tier 0 in the customer’s ILM tiering
  12. Mirroring, Raid 5, Raid 6 is supported on Enterprise Flash Drives now, all members of the Raid group have to be on Enterprise Flash Drives
  13. Flash drives support MetaLUN technology and all the member volumes of a metalun have to be on flash drives for it to work
  14. Flash drives cannot be configured as Vault devices in V-Max or prior DMX series machines
  15. A hot spare of a flash drive have to be configured as another flash drive.
  16. Also the Symmetrix File Systems (SFS Volumes) cannot reside on Flash Drives
  17. EMC certified erasure services are not supported on Flash Drives. The Flash drives have to be scrubbed through EMC based appliances services. 

A nice blog post by Mark Peters at ESG about the SSD Technology

One Correction as pointed byBasRaayman@StorageNerve Regarding vaulting/EFD’s on #V-Max. According to @storageanarchy this can be requested via RPQ: See http://bit.ly/5Lvrg 

As referenced by TSA on his site, I quote “……You cannot order a DS8K with only SSDs (both Symmetrix DMX-4 and V-Max can be RPQ’d as flash-only configurations, although using HDDs for vault drives is more cost-effective).”

EMC Symmetrix Management Console (SMC – For Symmetrix V-Max Systems)


The Symmetrix Management Console is a very important step towards allowing customers take control of their Symmetrix V-Max Systems. With the new Symmetrix V-Max comes a new version of Symmetrix Management Console allowing customers to manage their EMC Symmetrix V-Max Systems through a GUI web browser interface with tons of new added features and wizards for usability. 

The Symmetrix Management Console was developed back in the day as a GUI to view customers Symmetrix DMX environment, over years it has evolved more to be a functional and operational tool to interface the machine for data gathering but also to perform changes. EMC Solutions Enabler Symcli is a CLI based interface to the DMX and V-Max Systems, but the SMC complements the CLI by allowing customers to perform more or less similar functions through a GUI. The looks & feels of SMC also resemble ECC (EMC Control Center) and customers sometime refer it as a ECC-lite (SMC). 

symmetrix-management-console-in-action

EMC Symmetrix Management Console in action monitoring EMC Symmetrix V-Max Systems

Some of the important features and benefits of the SMC for V-Max are listed below:

1)    Allows customers to manage multiple EMC Symmetrix V-Max Systems

2)    Increase customer management efficiency by using Symmetrix Management Console to automate or perform functions with a few set of clicks

3)    The Symmetrix Management Console 7.0 only works with Symmetrix V-Max systems

4)    The Symmetrix Management Console is installed on the Service Processor of the V-Max System and can also be installed on a host in the SAN environment.

5)    Customers can now do trending, performance reporting, planning and consolidation using SMC

6)    SMC will help customers reduce their TCO with V-Max Systems

7)    It takes minutes to install. Windows environment running a Windows Server 2003 along with IIS would be the best choice.

8 )    The interface the customers work on is a GUI. It has the looks and feels of ECC and the Console also integrates with ECC.

9)    New Symmetrix V-Max systems are configured and managed through the Symmetrix Management Console.

10) SMC also manages user, host permissions and access controls

11) Alert Management

12) From a free product, SMC now becomes a licensed product, which the customers will  have to pay for

13) It allows customers to perform functions related to configuration changes like creating and mapping masking devices, changing device attributes, flag settings, etc

14) Perform replication functions using SMC like Clone, Snap, Open Replicator, etc

15) SMC enables Virtual Provisioning with the Symmetrix V-Max arrays

16) Enables Virtual LUN technology for automated policies and tiering.

17) Auto Provisioning Group technology is offered through wizards in SMC

18) Dynamic Cache Partitioning: Allocates and deallocates cache based on policies and utilization.

19) Symmetrix Priority Controls

20) From the SMC, customers can now launch SPA (Symmetrix Performance Analyzer), this is more on the lines of Workload Analyzer which is a standard component of ECC Suite. This allows customers to view their storage & application performance & monitoring. SPA will can be obtained as a Add-on product from EMC based on licensing.

virtual-lun-technology-in-smc1

Virtual LUN Technology in works using a wizard

21) The SMC gives the customer capabilities for Discovery, Configuration, Monitoring, Administration and Replication Management.

22) SMC can be obtained from EMC Powerlink or through your account manager from EMC if you have an active contract in place with EMC for hardware/software maintenance or if your systems are under warranty.

Highly recommended management tool for SAN Admins and yea it’s not free anymore for V-Max Systems.   

To read the previous blog post on Symmetrix Management Console, as it relates to Symmetrix DMX-3 and DMX-4 machines.

A nice technical post by Steve Todd on V-Max and Symmetrix Management Console

A post by StorageZilla on Auto Provisioning Groups with SMC

Note: Both the pictures in this blog post have been derived from EMC’s Symmetrix Management Console Data Sheet.

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 9

April 29th, 2009 No comments

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The end result

Continuing the blog posts on Storage Resource Analysis (SRA), this will be the final series post. This post focuses on the end result of running an analysis in our Storage environment.

 

To read the previous blog posts on Storage Resource Analysis (SRA)

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 1: Storage Resource Analysis and Storage Economics

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 2: The IT – Storage World of 2009

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 3: The IT – Storage Budgets of 2009

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 4: Some Fundamental Questions

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 5: Facts about your Data

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 6: Inconsistencies in Storage Environments

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 7: The Technical Case

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 8: The Business Case

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 9: The End Result

 

In this blog post we will try to wrap up some important things we discussed in the previous blog posts.

Here is how Storage Analysis of your Infrastructure help you

1)      Reduce CAPEX

2)      Reduce OPEX

3)      Reduce Total Cost of Ownership

4)      Not spend CAPEX for implementation

5)      OPEX savings should pay for analysis by achieving efficiency and higher utilization

6)      Immediate ROI

7)      Make sure your numbers are not some arbitrary numbers; they have to be real dollars, not a 5 year plan to consolidate your assets, remember the word Immediate ROI.

8 )      Understand how much you will be paying at a front end of the deal, understand how much you will be paying as an ongoing cost, understand how much upgrades will cost, understand how many resources you will need to deploy (hardware, software, licenses, training, manpower), understand how reporting works, etc

9)      Gain operational efficiency

10)   Process should be agent less

11)   Should work Cross platform (EMC, HDS, NetApp, 3Par, IBM, HP)

12)   Data should be collected during business hours, it should be light weight, more or less not require change controls.

13)   Data should be collected possibly from the least numbers of places (host) but get a full representation of the host environment as well as storage environment.

14)   Don’t try to analyze your environment based on what someone else is using, rather see what best fits your environment based on your business processes, rules and needs. Do not just evaluate an OEM operational tool; idea is to look beyond it.

15)   PB’s of storage should be analyzed within hours, not months.

16)   Minimum Training

17)   Maximum Drill Down for Reports

18 )   Reports for various folks within an organization like Storage Operators, Storage Admins, Host Admins, Storage Managers, Infrastructure Managers, CIO’s Office.

19)   Check how your Configurations are setup in your environment

20)   Check how your tiering is setup in your environment

21)   Check for inconsistencies

22)   Check for reclamation

 

So the above might help you get much closer to your possible goals of 2009, “DO MORE WITH LESS”.

 

Storage Analysis is not something you should run once, but as an organization establish a team of engineers who are responsible around increasing efficiency and utilization of your storage environment. Don’t forget your storage is between 30 to 35% of your IT budgets. Better efficiency will help you save millions on the front end (CapEx) and millions on backend (OpEx).

 

The “PRACTICE OF STORAGE ECONOMICS”, which seems to be a big thing every OEM is jumping on to these days, should be followed within your organization.

 

It has to be made a Practice, not just a onetime reclamation exercise. Best example, we live in our house and how often do we clean it, repairs, ongoing work to make it better every time. Storage is the same way, it needs work. 

 

Experience

We have been talking to a large manufacturer here in the US. They have in excess of 10 PB of Storage. During our initial meeting with them about Storage, they mentioned how they have been able to successfully implement a plan in their organization for Storage Reclamation which has helped them reduce millions of dollars in Storage purchases. Also on the other hand, due to the Storage economics practice, they have managed to increase their operational efficiency in storage and thereby reduce their OpEx, again savings which would account for millions.

Really happy talking to these customers, that they are not driven by an OEM to just purchase new storage, but rather their internal practices help them achieve what they target for.

 

What are your experiences with Storage and have you implemented a Storage Economics practice within your organization?