Archive for the ‘Storage’ Category

Moshe Yanai (ThinkStorage XiV)

December 14th, 2008 No comments

Today while browsing apparently reached the blog of Moshe Yanai (The Legendary Storage Man).

With more than 30 years of experience under his belt this man is a true Storage Industry Leader.

With him and his team of Engineers, he designed the first ICDA (Integrated Cache Disk Array) back in 1990’s. Took EMC from a Memory selling company to being one of the greatest Storage Company’s today.

Moshe use to be a tank commander in the Israel Army and during those days came up with the idea of a cache based disk array. He approached IBM back then and HP and no one was ready to buy into his ideas. Until EMC a memory company stepped in and gave Royalty to Moshe for developing and selling these ICDA systems (Moshe got a cut for every Symmetrix that was sold). Moshe truly took the Symmetrix line of products very far. If he would still have been with EMC, we wouldn’t have possibly seen the development of fiber based disk array’s like the DMX, DMX2, DMX3 and DMX4’s.

But he is in true sense a storage master and visionary that came up with the brilliant idea.

You can read Moshe Yanai’s Blog here

EMC Symmetrix and DMX Serial Numbers

December 13th, 2008 2 comments

You always wondered how EMC comes up with these serial numbers for your Symmetrix and DMX Machines.

If your machine serial number starts with HK (it means it was manufactured in Hopkinton, MA) and for most of the international customers if it starts with CK (it means it was manufactured in Cork, Ireland).

With the DMX Series of machines, EMC has introduced two new manufacturing centers (TN and SA).

There are still machines starting with HK and CK that will be shipped internationally and vice versa.

  • The serial number HK would always have a 1 following it.
  • The serial number CK would always have a 2 following it.
  • The serial number TN would always have a 2 following it.
  • The serial number SA would always have a 2 following it.

Here is the Symmetrix and DMX Serial Numbering Convention.

  • Symmetrix 3.0, 1/2 cabinet: HK18160xxxx
  • Symmetrix 3.0, 1 cabinet: HK18150xxxx
  • Symmetrix 3.0, 3 cabinet: HK18140xxxx
  • Symmetrix 4.0, 1/2 Cabinet: HK18260xxxx
  • Symmetrix 4.0, 1 cabinet: HK18250xxxx
  • Symmetrix 4.0, 3 cabinet: HK18240xxxx
  • Symmetrix 4.8, 1/2 cabinet: HK18360xxxx
  • Symmetrix 4.8, 1 cabinet: HK18350xxxx
  • Symmetrix 4.8, 3 cabinet: HK18370xxxx
  • Symmetrix 5.0, 1 cabinet: HK18450xxxx
  • Symmetrix 5.0, 3 cabinet: HK18470xxxx
  • Symmetrix 5.5, 1 cabinet: HK18550xxxx
  • Symmetrix 5.5, 3 cabinet: HK18570xxxx

The DMX Serial numbers still need more research because its hard to find a trend with the numbering convention on it.

  • DMX800: HK18790xxxx
  • DMX1000-S: HK18740xxxx
  • DMX1000-P: HK18746xxxx
  • DMX2000-S: HK18770xxxx
  • DMX2000-P: HK18776xxxx
  • DMX3000: HK18788xxxx
  • DMX3000-M2:HK18789xxxx
  • DMX3: HK19010xxxx
  • DMX4: HK19110xxxx

It is very important that you Service processor Serial Number is exactly similar to that of the Symmetrix / DMX Serial Number (As defined in the BIN FILE). If both these serial numbers are different, your basic symcfg discover commands will fail.

Your actual hardware Symmetrix / DMX Serial Number can still be different than the Serial number defined in the BIN file, since the BIN file serial number takes precedence.

The find your Symmetrix / DMX Serial Number look at the front and back of the Symmetrix on the top, the number should begin with HK or CK or TN or SA.

To find your Symmetrix / DMX Serial Number from the service processor, run E7,CF or you can also try to run symcfg discover or syminq from the service processor via SYMCLI located C:\Program Files\EMC\Symclibin. One option before running this, you can delete the file located on the service processor called symapi_db.bin located C:\Program Files\EMC\Symapidb. During the symcfg discover process, this file will be recreated. The logs if this operation fails can be found at C:\Program Files\EMC\Symapilog.

It is very important you do not change your Symmetrix / DMX Serial number since the FA WWN are determined using the last two digits of your actual Serial Number. If you change this, all the WWN’s will change causing your FA’s, Disk WWN etc to all change. As far as my knowledge, this can only be changed through a BIN FILE change.

Concentration of Storage Machines based on Geographic Locations

December 11th, 2008 No comments

So when I created this blog using Blogger, I had a chance to review Google Analytics (data for the visitors is collected and analyzed). The beauty of it is you can track your visitors based on geographic locations, concentrations and importantly what data the user wants to read. Based on this we are now able to find where most of the Storage is located in the world. Also Analytics, Lijit and Feedburner will give you search terms used by your users to reach to your site, which does tell you, what your reader reads, what info he is interested in and if he likes what he reads based on the time he spends on the page.


So based on all the visits, here is a very important piece of information related to Storage Concentrations in the World.


The most concentration of Storage machines is possibly on the East Coast of US. Following that is the Bay Area in California and then Dallas Metro. Other states do seem to have a fair share of Storage Machines but I believe the above 3 would be where we might have at least 20 to 30% of all the storage worldwide. States like Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Hawaii and Alaska seem to have the least concentration of Storage in the US.


Internationally, a lot of hits seem to come from UK, around the London Metro. Most of the storage related hits are from Western Europe, including Sweden, Norway, UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. This is another large chuck of the business for the Storage OEM’s.


After that area, the most EMC, STK, Hitachi related hits come in from South East Asia, India topping the list – Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, New Delhi (I believe that would be because of outsourced Storage Administration there), next is Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines and China. In China the most concentration is around Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.


Another important area for Storage concentration is in Middle East, a ton of keyword searches from Dubai (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. Believe it or not, Iran and Iraq is where they have Symmetrix and Clariions as well.


Next in the list is beautiful Australia, but hits for symcli and clariion related searches are limited to Canberra, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. I have been to Australia several times, and a ton of EMC concentration is around Sydney and Melbourne, with some large banks in Melbourne housing data to some world renowned US based companies located in Sydney, it’s one of the big EMC markets.


Lastly on the list is South America, with most of the hits limited from Brazil and Venezuela. I seldom see hits or storage related key word searches coming in from Africa, if any it would be limited to South Africa and Botswana.  


Again you think of the visits above and you wonder, if we ever travel internationally, isn’t it pretty much limited to these geographic areas. I believe at this time, the rest of the world where we don’t see a big activity is where we need to create storage awareness.


Since the blogs I write are about multiple OEM’s, hits are relative to those technologies. I am sure this data will be good for EMC, NetApps, HDS, 3Par, PillarData, SUN Storage and other Storage folks to develop market strategies based on geographic locations.


If marketing guys need any data, please feel free to email me. Be more than glad to share. 

DMX, DMX2 and the Early days of Symmetrix

December 10th, 2008 No comments

It’s getting pretty late here in Atlanta. Travelling to this part of the US for two days for business visit to win some business. Had a long good day, couple of meetings at the office, flew in Atlanta, had dinner, some drinks and now this blog……. hope I can finish it……


I am really not sure if the title of this blog is exactly what this blog is about, but I think it is quite closer….


So from the Symmetrix (SCSI based Disk Arrays), EMC moved aggressively to release the all Fiber based disk array, now called Symmetrix DMX (Direct Matrix Architecture). While the DMX was a major move or an upgrade from SCSI – 40Mbps Disk I/O to a new speed of 2048Mbps Disk I/O.

Early in the days the major bottle neck use to be around the Disks speeds. With the I/O’s per second reaching 2 Gbps on the DMX1 and DMX2, the disk drives now work at the same speed as the fiber directors I/O’s per second. The DMX was a notch above with atleast 40 times better performance than its predecessor Symmetrix.

The backend of the DMX Symmetrix came from the acquisition of Data General. The DMX800 was one of those hybrid boxes that got EMC Symmetrix engineers really confused about how to use the DG Clariion backend on a Symmetrix Enterprise Level System and they created the DMX800 (oh believe it or not, I have had customers telling me they have ghost like issues on that box).

A Clariion architecture to be implemented with a Symmetrix Enginuity Code is a DMX800 (don’t get me wrong, I am not talking bad about the Clariion, we are comparing the enterprise level machine code running on a really strong mid tier machine). EMC Symmetrix Engineers learned a lot from it and then came the DMX1000 and DMX2000. With the early success, EMC went to work on a much larger config of the DMX3000. As much as the DMX3000 is more or less the same technology as the DMX1000 and DMX2000, the memory requirements, power requirements, device numbers, address spaces, memory, algorithms, data structures, productive laptop (Service Processor) required for handling the memory and address space on Symmwin were much different. The Enginuity Code was now able to handle drives (volume addresses) much more than the older Symmetrix 5.5 and the new DMX1000 and DMX2000.

So during that time came the Enginuity code 5669 on the DMX800 and the DMX1000. Ask the Symmetrix engineers what happened? Every day the drives would drop, loops would drop causing backend issues, it was a support and engineering nightmare in real sense.  These were the good old days of EMC making tons of money, but again as the call volumes went up and they starting selling more boxes internationally, it got EMC to start creating product support labs in Sydney, Australia and Bangalore, India on top of Hopkinton, MA and Cork, Ireland.

Almost after a year of the DMX, EMC now was at a point of releasing the DMX2 which in essence would be 2 times more faster than then its predecessor, the DMX. The DMX processors per director were of speeds of 500 Mhz Power PCs. With the DMX2 now each director was configured with atleast 1Ghz Power PC chips.

This was more a data-in-place upgrade like they offered on the Clariions back in the day. This would be a change of all directors throughout the box. The only drawback was this was an offline change and customers get scared away from the offline events. With the DMX2, now it would support the 73GB – 15K disk drives, Single memory board going up to 32GB and the largest memory configs being supported upto 256GB.

Also with the DMX1000, DMX2000 and DMX3000 and the 5670 code came a native support for RAID5 (3RAID5 and 7RAID5) on top of Mirroring (M1/M2), RAID S (3+1 and 7+1), BCV and DRV devices. Now with the support of RAID5, EMC all of a sudden started competing in the market between the mid tier and the enterprise applications. Enterprise customers requiring data storage for mid tier applications and non critical applications started using RAID5 along with some customers using it for critical business continuance backups.

Raid5 was a big boon for system administrators and storage administrators, which in essence they were all used to across all their other storage platforms and systems. Now with almost a similar protection level, you could lose a member device of a Raid5 and still be fully functional, like losing a mirror. There are still drawbacks of losing another member in the same Raid group or losing a mirror whose partner is already down. The concepts of BCV’s would come in to play in these situations.

Anyways, the DMX is where EMC made a big impact into the storage market. EMC used to be a 6 Billion company in 2004 to being about 13 Billion in 2008. A lot of it has to do with the software acquisitions but their move to get into the fiber based storage market has put them to being the storage industry solutions provider company over the past decade.

The internal transformation of EMC under its existing management from being a Hardware Storage Company to being a Hardware/Software Storage Company to being a Storage Solutions company has kept EMC as a leader in this industry……