Google+

Archive

Posts Tagged ‘EMC’

EMC Symmetrix: BIN file

March 12th, 2010 13 comments

EMC Symmetrix BIN file, largely an unknown topic in the storage industry and practically there is no available information related to it. This post is just an attempt to shed some light as to what a BIN file is, how it works, what’s in it and why is it essential with the Enginuity code.
.

Some EMC folks have capitalized on the BIN file as to the personality it brings to the Symmetrix, while the EMC competition always uses it against them as it introduces complexities in the storage environment with management and change control.

.

Personally I feel a Symmetrix wouldn’t be a Symmetrix if the BIN file weren’t there. The personality, characteristics, robustness, compatibility, flexibility, integration with OS’s, etc wouldn’t be there if the BIN file didn’t exist.

.

With the total number of OS’s, device types, channel interfaces and flags it supports today, sort of making it one of the most compatible storage arrays in the market. The configuration and compatibility on the Symmetrix can be verified using the E-Lab navigator available on Powerlink.

.

So here are some facts about the BIN file

  • Only used with Symmetrix systems (Enginuity Code)
    .
  • BIN file stands for BINARY file.
    .
  • BIN file holds all information about the Symmetrix configuration
    .
  • One BIN file per system serial number is required.
    .
  • BIN file was used with Symmetrix Gen 1 in 1990 and is still used in 2010 with Symmetrix V-Max systems.
    .
  • BIN file holds information on SRDF configurations, total memory, memory in slots, serial number of the unit, number of directors, type of directors, director flags, engines, engine ports, front end ports, back end ports, drives on the loop, drives on the SCSI bus, number of drives per loop, drive types in the slots, drive speeds, volume addresses, volume types, meta’s, device flags and many more settings.
    .
  • The setup for host connection if the OS is Open Systems or Mainframe environments using FICON, ESCON, GbE, FC, RF, etc is all defined in the BIN file. Also director emulations, drive formats if OSD or CKD, format types, drive speeds, etc is all defined in the BIN file.
    .
  • BIN file is required to make a system active. It is created based on customer specifications and installed by EMC during the initial setup.
    .
  • Any ongoing changes in the environment related to hardware upgrades, defining devices, changing flags, etc is all accomplished using BIN file changes.
    .
  • BIN file changes can be accomplished 3 ways.
    .
  • BIN file change for hardware upgrades is typically performed by EMC only.
    .
  • BIN file change for other changes that are device, director, flags, meta’s, SRDF configurations etc is either performed through the SYMAPI infrastructure using SymCLI or ECC (Now Ionix) or SMC (Symmetrix Management Console) by the customer. (Edited based on the comments: Only some changes now require traditional BIN file change, typically others are performed using sys calls in enginuity environment)
    .
  • Solutions enabler is required on the Symcli, ECC, SMC management stations to enable SYMAPI infrastructure to operate.
    .
  • VCMDB needs to be setup on the Symmetrix for SymCLI, ECC, SMC related changes to work.
    .
  • Gatekeeper devices need to be setup on the Symmetrix front end ports for SymCLI, ECC, SMC changes to work
    .
  • For Symmetrix Optimizer to work in your environment, you need DRV devices setup on your Symmetrix.(EDITED based on comments: Only required until DMX platform. Going forward with DMX3/4 & V-Max platforms it uses sys calls to perform these Optimizer changes).

.

Back in the day

All and any BIN file changes on the Symmetrix 3.0, Symmetrix 4.0 used to be performed by EMC from the Service Processor. Over the years with introduction of SYMAPI and other layered software products, now seldom is EMC involved in the upgrade process.

.

Hardware upgrades

BIN File changes typically have to be initiated and performed by EMC, again these are the hardware upgrades. If the customer is looking at adding 32GB’s of Cache to the existing DMX-4 system or adding new Front End connectivity or upgrading 1200 drive system to 1920 drives, all these require BIN file changes initiated and performed by EMC. To my understanding the turn around time is just a few days with these changes, as it requires change control and other processes within EMC.

.

Customer initiated changes

Configuration changes around front end ports, creating volumes, creating meta’s, volume flags, host connectivity, configuration flags, SRDF volume configurations, SRDF replication configurations, etc can all be accomplished through the customer end using the SYMAPI infrastructure (with SymCLI or ECC or SMC).

.

Enginuity upgrade

Upgrading the microcode (Enginuity) on a DMX or a V-Max is not a BIN file change, but rather is a code upgrade. Back in the days, many upgrades were performed offline, but in this day and age, all changes are online and accomplished with minimum pains.

.

Today

So EMC has moved quite ahead with the Symmetrix architecture over the past 20 years, but the underlying BIN file change requirements haven’t changed over these 8 generations of Symmetrix.

Any and all BIN file changes are recommended to be done during quite times (less IOPS), at schedule change control times. Again these would include the ones that EMC is performing from a hardware perspective or the customer is performing for device/flag changes.

.

The process

During the process of a BIN file change, the configuration file typically ending with the name *.BIN is loaded to all the frontend directors, backend directors, including the global cache. After the upload, the system is refreshed with this new file in the global cache and the process makes the new configuration changes active. This process of refresh is called IML (Initial Memory Load) and the BIN file is typically called IMPL (Initial Memory Program Load) file.

A customer initiated BIN file works in a similar way, where the SYMAPI infrastructure that resides on the service processor allows the customer to interface with the Symmetrix to perform these changes. During this process, the scripts verify that the customer configurations are valid and then perform the changes and make the new configuration active.

To query the Symmetrix system for configuration details, reference the SymCLI guide. Some standard commands to query your system would include symcfg, symcli, symdev, symdisk, symdrv, symevent, symhost, symgate, syminq, symstat commands and will help you navigate and find all the necessary details related to your Symmetrix. Also similar information in a GUI can be obtained using ECC and SMC. Both will allow the customer to initiate SYMAPI changes.

Unless something has changed with the V-Max, typically to get an excel based representation of your BIN file, ask your EMC CE.

.

Issues

You cannot run two BIN files in a single system, though at times the system can end up in a state where you can have multiple BIN files on various directors. This phenomenon typically doesn’t happen to often, but an automated script when not finished properly can put the system in this state. At this point the Symmetrix will initiate a call home immediately and the PSE labs should typically be able to resolve these issues.

Additional software like Symmetrix Optimizer also uses the underlying BIN file infrastructure to make changes to the storage array to move hot and cold devices based on the required defined criteria. There have been quite a few known cases of Symmetrix Optimizer causing the above phenomenon of multiple BIN files. , Though many critics will disagree with that statement. (EDITED based on comments: Only required until DMX platform. Going forward with DMX3/4 & V-Max platforms it uses sys calls to perform these Optimizer changes).

.

NOTE: One piece of advice, never run SYMCLI or ECC scripts for BIN file changes through a VPN connected desktop or laptop. Always run all necessary SymCLI / SMC / ECC scripts for changes from a server in your local environment. Very highly recommend, never attempt to administer your Symmetrix system with an iPhone or a Blackberry.

Hope in your quest to get more information on BIN files, this serves as the starting point..

.

Cheers
@storagenerve

EMC Symmetrix File System (SFS)

March 8th, 2010 4 comments

Very little is known about the Symmetrix File System largely known as SFS. Symmetrix File System is an EMC IP and practically only used within the Symmetrix environment for housekeeping, security, access control, stats collection, performance data, algorithm selection, etc.

If there are any facts about SFS that are known to you, please feel free to leave a comment. This post talks about the effects of SFS and not really the underlying file system architecture.

Some facts about the Symmetrix File System are highlighted below.

  • Symmetrix File System (SFS) resides on volumes that have specially been created for this purpose on the Symmetrix
  • SFS volumes are created during the initial Enginuity Operating Environment load (Initial install)
  • 4 Volumes (2 Mirrored Pairs) are created during this process
  • SFS volumes were introduced with Symmetrix Series 8000, Enginuity 5567 and 5568

Characteristics

  • 4 SFS volumes are spread across multiple Disk Directors (Backend Ports) for redundancy
  • SFS volumes are considered as reserved space and not available to use by the host
  • Symmetrix 8000 Series: 4 SFS volumes, 3GB each (cylinder size 6140). Reserved space is 3GB x 4 vols = 12 GB total
  • Symmetrix DMX/DMX-2: 4 SFS volumes, 3GB each (cylinder size 6140). Reserved space is 3GB x 4 vols = 12 GB total
  • Symmetrix DMX-3/DMX-4: 4 SFS volumes, 6GB each (cylinder size 6140). Reserved space is 6GB x 4 vols = 24 GB total, (It’s different how the GB is calculated based on cylinder size on a DMX/DMX-2 vs a DMX-3/DMX-4)
  • Symmetrix V-Max: 4 SFS volumes, 16GB each, Reserved space is 16GB x 4 vols = 64GB total
  • SFS volumes cannot reside on EFD (Enterprise Flash Drives)
  • SFS volumes cannot be moved using FAST v1 and/or FAST v2
  • SFS volumes cannot be moved using Symmetrix Optimizer
  • SFS volumes cannot reside on Vault Drives or Save Volumes
  • SFS volumes are specific to a Symmetrix (Serial Number) and do not need migration
  • SFS volumes are managed through Disk Directors (Backend Ports) only
  • SFS volumes cannot be mapped to Fiber Directors (now FE – Frontend Ports)

Effects

  • SFS volumes are write enabled but can only be interfaced and managed through the Disk directors (Backend Ports).
  • SFS volumes can go write disabled, which could cause issues around VCMDB. VCMDB issues can cause host path (HBA) and disk access issues.
  • SFS volume corruption can cause hosts to lose access to disk volumes.
  • If SFS volumes get un-mounted on a Fiber Director (Frontend Port), can result into DU (Data Unavailable) situations.

Fixes

  • Since the SFS volumes are only interfaced through the Disk Directors (Backend Ports), the PSE lab will need to be involved in fixing any issues.
  • SFS volumes can be VTOC’ed (formatted) and some key information below will need to be restored upon completion. Again this function can only be performed by PSE lab.
  • SFS volumes can be formatted while the Symmetrix is running, but in a SCSI-3 PGR reservation environment it will cause a cluster outage and/or a split brain.
  • No Symmetrix software (Timefinder, SYMCLI, ECC, etc) will be able to interface the system while the SFS volumes are being formatted.
  • The security auditing / access control feature is disabled during the format of SFS volumes, causing any Symmetrix internal or external software to stop functioning.
  • Access Control Database and SRDF host components / group settings will need to be restored after the SFS format

Access / Use case

  • Any BIN file changes to map SFS volumes to host will fail.
  • SFS volumes cannot be managed through SYMCLI or the Service Processor without PSE help.
  • SYMAPI (infrastructure) works along with SYMMWIN and SFS volumes to obtain locks, etc during any SYMCLI / SYMMWIN / ECC activity (eg. Bin Changes).
  • Since FAST v1 and FAST v2 reside as a policy engine outside the Symmetrix, it uses the underlying SFS volumes for changes (locks, etc).
  • Performance data relating to FAST would be collected within the SFS volumes, which FAST policy engine uses to gauge performance.
  • Performance data relating to Symmetrix Optimizer would be collected within the SFS volumes, which Optimizer uses to gauge performance.
  • Other performance data collected for the DMSP (Dynamic Mirror Service Policy).
  • All Audit logs, security logs, access control database, ACL’s etc is all stored within the SFS volumes.
  • All SYMCLI, SYMAPI, Solutions enabler, host, interface, devices, access control related data is gathered on the SFS volumes.
  • With the DMX-4 and the V-Max, all service process access, service processor initiated actions, denied attempts; RSA logs, etc are all stored on SFS volumes.

Unknowns

  • SFS structure is unknown
  • SFS architecture is unknown
  • SFS garbage collection  and discard policy is unknown
  • SFS records stored, indexing, etc is unknown
  • SFS inode structures, function calls, security settings, etc is unknown

As more information gets available, I will try to update this post. Hope this is useful with your research on SFS volumes…

Cheers

@storagenerve

HP Blades Day 2010: Final Thoughts

March 3rd, 2010 1 comment

This is my 5th consecutive post on HP Blades day.  So far no videos have been uploaded, just the coverage of the event and pictures. This post primarily focuses on what I feel we saw at HP in terms of things that will help them, challenges in the market and where all this may go.

There has been at least 6 to 8 hours of video recording on my flip camera; starting tomorrow I will upload these videos only of the most interesting sessions on the blog.

Satellite View of HP Facilities in Houston, TX

The coverage of the event can also be found on Greg Knieriemen’s Infosmack Podcast on Storage Monkeys, here.

.

Positives

This event was a very smart move by HP and as far as I can see they have exceeded their expectations with this event. Though I felt the twitter activity with HP Tech Day (Storage, #hptechday) was much higher than what we saw with this event HP Blades Day (Blades, #hpbladesday). Though the after discussions have taken over the blogging, twitter and the Internet press by surprise with the number of tweets, blogs and press articles written about this event.

Clearly for me this was a good platform to learn, understand and share some visions and technologies related to HP Blade products. I have been a storage focused individual, but only with a shallow knowledge of the blades architecture and infrastructure. This was a great event for myself to understand the depth of these products and take a deep dive into the interworking of converged infrastructure. An Event like this helps understand and connect the dots together with future products and emerging technologies. As this was a non-NDA event, we didn’t have preview to the next generation of HP Blade products.

One thing that is pretty visible and positive is that HP has managed to mobilize resources in the direction of integrating internal resources relating to converged infrastructure. Though its obvious and again visible that at places, they have not been able to fulfill that dream entirely.

There were some awkward moments where the engineering teams were asked to not do a deep-dive on other vendor technologies. The marketing folks spoke about some strategy related to these technologies and painted an overall picture. The mix of people involved with the presentations and demos seem to accomplish the agenda. Marketing pitches by social media and marketing teams along with engineering details by the architecture teams seemed to accomplish their goals.

The highlight of the sessions were a 45 min talk with the CTO of StorageWorks, Paul Perez and the competitive intelligence session that was hosted my Gary Thome and his team to compare HP Blades products with Dell, IBM and Cisco UCS. Discussions around CEE and Virtual Connect were pretty interesting.

HP emphasized the 250 million dollar investment with Microsoft over and over during the HP Blades Day. This proves that they value this partnership heavily and possibly have a roadmap associated in the future with great integration with Microsoft products.

.

Challenges

HP emphasizes a lot on converged datacenters and the products it’s gearing for the next generation. But an integration vision from a convergence management was still lacking, a direction or a strategy on how these pieces of puzzle will be joined together and managed. HP clearly owns all the stacks of the next generation products, but again the orchestration and integration is one thing that is not very clear yet. Say too big and too much to manage!!!

With Networking products and the focus on Virtual Connect, HP seems to be moving in the right direction, but again when it comes to FCoE and CEE (Converged Enhanced Ethernet) the direction is pretty unknown. It’s sort of wait and watch as to where the market goes and drives demands, a lack of vision in real terms. HP clearly has a big competition from Cisco when it comes to the Networking stack.

With Storage products, HP clearly has a very big competition with already proven Vendors and their technologies like EMC, NetApp and IBM. Also technologies that are strong and emerging would largely cause market nuisance or focus disruption for HP.

With the Blade products, HP is a market leader, but truly considers Dell, IBM and Cisco as the biggest threats and sort of prepared to fight against it. Seems the next generation Rack and Blade products might seem to have a lot of integration with storage and networking.

The services story, with the acquisition of EDS, HP made a move in the right direction being the first in the market to do so. With the latest acquisitions from Dell of Perot Systems, from Oracle of SUN Microsystems and by Xerox of ACS, large vendors are all trying to fulfill the services gap. HP clearly has a big competition with IBM and Oracle in the space.

The VCE (VMware, Cisco, EMC) coalition: What are your thoughts. It’s pretty amazing to see HP not mention the word ‘cloud’ these two days. Focus has been virtualization and the partnership with VMware, but really no focus on moving toward utility market and integration of all next gen products for converged datacenters with the underlying virtualization layer. May be the Microsoft partnership may fulfill this.

VMware or Microsoft: They didn’t say this, but seems something is cooking. The partnership with Microsoft and the investment of 250 million dollars will create some friction with VMware, at least my guess. Next gen products may utilize Hyper-V as an underlying virtualization layer rather than using the default VMware Hypervisor.

HP still needs a very strong storage technology in the Enterprise space that is their own and not OEM’d. The truth is, eventually the HP – Hitachi relationship has to come to an end with HP’s new product that may compete in the same market space. This strategy will enable HP to be very unique in terms of the markets they serve, which may include their own in-house storage products for SMB, Midsize and Enterprise customers.

So other lacking things from HP were the Cloud Strategy (if they ever plan to enter that space), FCoE discussions, Procurve and Storage Management as it relates to Insight Software.

It may have been very hard to cover all these platforms in a day and a half with giving all the technology details behind it. Also remember this was a non-NDA session, so we were not preview to all the future products and technologies.

.

Summary

Overall HP did hammer us for 2 consecutive days with HP Blades Technology. Coming out of it, I can truly say, HP had so much focus on datacenter convergence. Their move to hire Dave Donatelli was a smart one many of his strategic moves and direction in the ESSN (Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking) are pretty visible now.

Apart from GestaltIT Techfield Day, HP is still the only OEM to arrange Bloggers Invite Only Event. The ratio of Bloggers to HP Personnel was 1:2, giving everyone a lot of attention.

Now the question is who will be next OEM to do a similar event and what will they do to prove themselves different. Already hearing some buzz in the industry about some the effects of HP Blades Day and some possible events from other OEMs.

But I clearly see an advantage of an event like this and the after effects of it, good move HP Marketing Team! Along with Ivy Worldwide!!

.

Disclaimer: This event is sponsored by HP and hosted in Houston, TX. HP paid all the flight, living and mostly food expenses. This is a bloggers – invitation only event. No products have been given by HP.

Symmetrix: The Journey of 20 Years

December 15th, 2009 6 comments

!! CHECK OUT THE VIDEO: Journey of the Symmetrix !!

So this year will mark the history of the Symmetrix products, 20 years since its inception and the Symmetrix has come long ways. Initially released in 1990, today’s Symmetrix does not come any close to what the product was 20 years ago. The underlying code (Enginuity) is what drives and gives the Symmetrix its personality.

Symmetrix was a compute / storage beast 20 years ago and so it is today.

This post includes the video “Journey of the Symmetrix”  (20 years in the making) created exclusively for this blog post.

To read more about the Symmetrix

Symmetrix Deepdive

Symmetrix product is considered a Flagship product and possibly has the largest share in the Enterprise Storage – Compute market today.

Here is a video I have put together showing my love for the Symmetrix Product. It starts with the Symm that was invented 20 years ago to this last generation Symmetrix V-Max.

Viewable in HD

Some other details on the Symmetrix include generation of the product, some facts, Enginuity code levels and model numbers.

The 8 Generations of Symmetrix

  • First Generation: 1990
  • Second Generation: 1992
  • Symmetrix 3.0: 1994
  • Symmetrix 4.0: 1996
  • Symmetrix 4.8: 1998
  • Symmetrix 5.0: 2000
  • Symmetrix 5.5: 2001
  • Symmetrix DMX (Generation 6.0): 2003
  • Symmetrix DMX-2 (Generation 6.5): 2004
  • Symmetrix DMX-3 (Generation 7.0): 2005
  • Symmetrix DMX-4 (Generation 7.5): 2007
  • Symmetrix V-Max (Generation 8.0): 2009

There are various models within each generation of the Symmetrix and these models have different characteristics. Follow the deepdive section to read more about it.

Some other facts of the Symmetrix include:

  • Introduced in 1990
  • 8th Generation Symmetrix available in the market today
  • 450 Patents
  • Introduction of the first every ICDA: Integrated Cache Disk array
  • First system to support both Mainframe and Open systems environment
  • SRDF Support introduced in 1994 (first in the market)
  • RSF Supported introduced in 1992 (first in the market)
  • BCV support introduced in 1997 (first in the market)
  • In-the-Box Tiering only offered through Symmetrix (DMX-4 onwards), can support FLASH, Fibre and SATA drives
  • Symmetrix (DMX-4) is worlds first PB enterprise system
  • Symmetrix (V-Max) is worlds first multi PB enterprise system
  • USD 3 Billion invested in Symmetrix Multi-vendor Interoperability Matrix support
  • 800 Speed Gurus supporting the Symmetrix Performance and configurations for optimizing environments.

Enginuity Code Levels

  • First Generation: Unknown
  • Second Generation: Unknown
  • Symmetrix 3.0: 50xx, 51xx
  • Symmetrix 4.0: 5265, 5266
  • Symmetrix 4.8: 5266, 5267
  • Symmetrix 5.0: 5567, 5568
  • Symmetrix 5.5: 5568
  • Symmetrix DMX (Generation 6.0): 5669, 5670, 5671
  • Symmetrix DMX-2 (Generation 6.5): 5670, 5671
  • Symmetrix DMX-3 (Generation 7.0): 5771, 5772
  • Symmetrix DMX-4 (Generation 7.5): 5772, 5773
  • Symmetrix V-Max (Generation 8.0): 5874

Symmetrix Models

  • First Generation: 4200
  • Second Generation: 4400, 4800
  • Symmetrix 3.0: 3100/5100, 3200/5200, 3500/5500
  • Symmetrix 4.0: 3330/5330, 3430/5430, 3700/5700
  • Symmetrix 4.8: 3630/5630, 3830/5830, 3930/5930
  • Symmetrix 5.0: 8130, 8430, 8730
  • Symmetrix 5.5: 8230, 8530, 8830
  • Symmetrix DMX (Generation 6.0): DMX800, DMX1000, DMX1000-P, DMX2000, DMX2000-P, DMX3000-3
  • Symmetrix DMX-2 (Generation 6.5): DMX801, DMX1000-M2, DMX1000-P2, DMX2000-M2, DMX2000-P2, DMX2000-M2-3, DMX3000-M2-3
  • Symmetrix DMX-3 (Generation 7.0): DMX3-950, DMX3
  • Symmetrix DMX-4 (Generation 7.5): DMX4-950, DMX4
  • Symmetrix V-Max (Generation 8.0): V-Max SE, V-Max

Disclaimers

I have not been awarded a free V-Max or DMX-4 for my basement. I do not personally own a V-Max or a DMX-4.

As you can see, this post shows my love for the Symmetrix technology and sort of my tribute to the 20 years of Symmetrix technology advancement.