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Windows vs Mac (My Lenovo Thinkpad vs a Mac Book, can i really upgrade to a MAC)

December 12th, 2008 No comments

What a day……..got back home late last night from Atlanta, had to go to office early morning today for some meetings. Wrapped up all by 4 PM and left to go to Boston at 6 PM. With the northeast storm system moving in, by the time I got to the hotel atleast after a 6 hour nasty rain / ice drive….

 

So I got a call about 2 weeks ago from the EVP of Sales and Marketing at the company asking to see if there was anything we can do to get him a MAC rather than him using an IBM Thinkpad (now Lenovo). It was really the first time I heard that from someone who has been a Windows fan for years or rather a request from one of the top Execs at the company.

Oh….the reason people come to me to ask about a new laptop / desktop is because I head the IT Operations: have responsibilities for Security, Networking, Applications, Software’s, Databases, Hardware (Servers, Desktops, Laptops). So I have been a big fan of IBM Thinkpad laptops, every laptop we buy is absolutely an IBM now Lenovo Thinkpad T Series.

Last weekend I was travelling to NC to meet up with my family. During the visit, I helped my Uncle fix atleast 4 of his PC’s in his Office, and he went to tell me all the problems he has been having with it.

My cousin in NC has been using a Thinkpad T 41 for 5 years now and it’s really time for her to upgrade her laptop. So she just wanted to buy a Mac book and nothing else. We went to the apple store to purchase the 13 inch Mac book. Once we brought it home, I got to play with it for couple of days to setup stuff, etc, it was great!!!!

I have been a windows person myself for the past 7 years since I entered the computer industry. All we run at the office is a windows based environment. Never thought there would be anything else good and better than this. I just upgraded my T43 to a T500 (I believe it’s a replacement model for a T61). I love it (or maybe I loved it the first couple of months). All my home Desktops and laptops are windows based.

So now past weekend my wife tells me, if we could look at purchasing a Mac book for her rather than upgrading her PC, I conservatively said, let’s think about it. She bought an iPhone about 8 months ago and she loves it. I had a chance to play with it earlier in the days when she purchased it (or we used our Amex Platinum Points to buy it).

My Lenovo Thinkpad T500 is great, but about couple of weeks ago (I have it only for 2 months now), I started having this issue with it where it would freeze up and the only way to recover it would be to restart it. The last several days, it has been so bad that I have restarted my laptop atleast 14 times.

After all these reboots, at least one think I learned is that my outlook is freezing it up for some reason. How can you run your pc and work without running your email program. Tried installing windows patches, tried installing office patches, but nothing.

I am really getting very frustrated at this point and really want to look at purchasing a MAC book. Will have to give my T500 back to the company. Also will possibly get my wife a Mac book for Christmas this year. But the challenge I have is everything we have it windows based, there are several programs like Microsoft money etc I use that are absolutely not available on a Mac platform. But I think initially with running parallels or bootcamp, I will be able to get around it. Most of the other programs we use at office all have MAC versions like blackberry, office, etc, so I believe overall we should be okay. It will be challenging to do Windows Administration using a MAC though, but with remote desktop life might be easy.

Anyways, I think it’s time for me to wish myself good luck and see if this is really feasible to upgrade myself to a MAC book………

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……

DMX, DMX2: Model numbers, basic differences, 3 Phase, Single Phase, Drive counts, Drives per loop

December 9th, 2008 7 comments

I have had many engineers and customers ask me about the basic differences on DMX and DMX2 machines. Based on some data I had put together a while back, here are the major differences on a DMXxxxx vs a DMXxxxx-P2 vs a DMXxxxx-M2-3, etc. 

The number of drives per loop: the lesser the drives on a single loop the better the performance. There are two different versions of drives per loop: one being the 9 drives per loop and the other one being 18 drives per loop. 

Following are all 18 drives per loop

 

DMX1000:   

Low Performance, 
1st Generation DMX, 
18 drives per loop, 
Single Bay with Single Phase power, 
144 drives max. 

 

DMX1000-M2:           
High Performance, 
2nd Generation DMX, 
18 drives per loop, 
Single Bay with Single Phase power, 
144 drives max.

 

DMX2000:                 
Low Performance, 
1st Generation DMX, 
18 drives per loop, 
Dual Bay with Single Phase power, 
288 drives max. 

 

DMX2000-M2:           
High Performance, 
2nd Generation DMX, 
18 drives per loop, 
Dual Bay with Single Phase power, 
288 drives max.

 

DMX2000-M2-3:        
High Performance, 
2nd Generation DMX, 
18 drives per loop, 
Dual Bay with Three Phase power, 
288 drives max. 

 

DMX3000-3:              
Low Performance,  
1st Generation DMX, 
18 drives per loop, 
Triple Bay with Three Phase power, 
576 drives max . 

 

DMX3000-M2-3:        
High Performance, 
2nd Generation DMX, 
18 drives per loop, 
Triple Bay with Three Phase power, 
576 drives max.

 

Following are all 9 drives per loop

 

DMX1000-P:              
Ultra Performance, 1st Generation DMX, 
9 drives per loop, 
Single Bay with Single Phase power, 
144 drives max. 

 

DMX1000-P2:            
Ultra Performance, 
2nd Generation DMX, 
9 drives per loop, 
Single Bay with Single Phase power, 
144 drives max.

 

DMX2000-P:              
Ultra Performance, 
1st Generation DMX, 
9 drives per loop, 
Dual Bay with Single Phase power, 
288 drives max.

 

DMX2000-P2:            
Ultra Performance, 
2nd Generation DMX, 
9 drives per loop, 
Dual Bay with Single Phase power, 
288 drives max. 

 

DMX2000-P2-3:         
Ultra Performance, 
2nd Generation DMX, 
9 drives per loop, 
Dual Bay with Three Phase power, 
288 drives max. 

 

Machines are categorized as a DMX and DMX2, The ones above with a P2 or M2 are DMX2. 

The new generation of DMX machine’s now available in the market are: DMX-3 and DMX-4. This blog article only talks about the DMX and the DMX2’s. 

 

Clariion FC & IP Series Hardware Components

December 8th, 2008 No comments

Greetings from the gambling city of NJ: Atlantic City. 

A nice day here, pretty cold but full of beautiful Christmas lights around here……..

I had posted a blog about all the hardware components on a CX series Clariion, apparently didnt realize hadnt posted anything about a FC & IP series machines. 

Some of the famous Clariion FC and IP models are

FC4700, FC5700, FC5300, IP4700

There are various Components in an EMC Clariion FC series of machines that are FRUs. 

Disk Drives
DAE’s (Disk Array Enclosure)
SPE’s (Service Processor Enclosure)
LCC (Link Control Cards)
LCC Cables
DAE Power Supplies
SP (Service Processor)
Battery
SPE PS (SPE Power Supplies)