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Posts Tagged ‘Symmetrix’

Administrative Post: New Sections added to the Blog

December 4th, 2009 1 comment

Technology Deepdive

Technology Deepdive

A brief administrative post with no technology discussion.

As an update to the blog, now have added several new sections for better search and classification of posts.

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Events: Event related posts.

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Categories and Tags: Posts based on Technology and Category

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Deepdive: A deepdive section has now been added to the Blog with easy access to technology talk related to a certain topic.

For now there are 3 items listed on the menu: RAID6, EMC and Data Robotics. These topics are the most covered topics so far with a lot of technology talk around it.
RAID6 deepdive is focused on technology implementation of RAID6 by various manufacturers.

EMC Deepdive is broken into three sections: Symmetrix, Clariion and FAST.

While Data Robotics covers Drobo.

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Videos: The videos section is an ongoing work to add more videos as they are produced.

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Downloads: Will include access to some White Papers and Tools for Storage, Virtualization and Networking.

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More content is being added to menu items as an ongoing effort.  Several other sections are being planned and populated for more Storage and Virtualization links to other blogs, tools, news, technologies, groups, communities, etc.

Hope you find this information useful. Hope the Storage Technologist, Admins, Consultants like the deepdive section, where they will be able to read about a certain technology with very easy access.

Thank you for reading the blog.

Cheers

@storagenerve

FAST, miles and miles away!!!

December 3rd, 2009 9 comments

Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST)

Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST)

April 2009, that is when we heard about FAST (Fully Automated Storage Tiering). The hype around FAST is now built; we have all seen a 2 min demo of the product at Vmworld 2009. The industry, the analysts, the bloggers and EMC are all talking about it. EMC has promised this will be an exciting product and could help better integrate and federate EMC products of the future.

But, where is FAST today?

Initially FAST v1 was set to release late Q3 or early Q4. We are almost at the end of Q4. The announcement of FAST came in April 2009 with the release of EMC Symmetrix V-Max systems. The product was announced pre GA. Here is a blog post by Barry Burke (FAST: Fully Automated Storage Tiering) indicating a Q4 release date, but after all FAST is nowhere to be found.

It seems FAST probably got shuffled somewhere in the scheduling, product marketing, technology design and development or ?. A product talked about, written about but rather un-visible at this point. Here is a blog post from Chuck Hollis (Peering into the Storage Crystal Ball) indicating FAST v1 may now not be available until early 2010.

With a 2010 GA date, FAST will be a 9 to 11 month early announcement product technology that was sold and is being sold with the V-Max without an actual product.

FAST v1 will be available for the Symmetrix V-Max platform and then eventually for the Clariion and Celerra platforms. FAST v2 is due to be released in late Q2 2010.

Is EMC trying to bring some additional functionality from FAST v2 to FAST v1 since current test customers are probably not excited about FAST v1. It seems everyone in the industry is looking forward to FAST v2 and the features it may bring together with it. At this point, there is really a lack of excitement around FAST v1. Is FAST in any sort of legal battle today, which is causing additional delays, Chris Evans at The Storage Architect Blog has discussed the topic in the past.

At this point is FAST v1 something that should eventually be combined with FAST v2 before GA. Question remains, do we really need FAST v1 at this stage or can we wait for FAST v2. Will organizations skip the implementation of FAST v1 and directly go to FAST v2. Is the product being delayed intentionally, so the gap between FAST v1 and FAST v2 implementation becomes narrow and customers can rather jump to FAST v2 without FAST v1.

Well anyways, FAST is now over-over-due, 8 months into the announcement, but no product. Along with FAST v1 in early 2010, we will see a new version of Enginuity Code for the Symmetrix V-Max and some other expected enhancements around V-Max.

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Some interesting links to dig more about FAST technology and its functionality.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/22/emc_fast/

http://gestaltit.com/all/tech/storage/stephen/emc-vmax-fast-coming-december/

http://wikibon.org/wiki/v/Peeling_the_Onion_on_EMCs_VMax

http://storagenerve.com/2009/10/20/policy-policy-policy/

http://gestaltit.com/featured/top/gestalt/emc-unified-platform-storage-tiering/

Note: The dates in this blog post are totally based on announcements happened so far and future time lines are based on some industry buzz around FAST. Its impossible to know the exact dates of any product releases without an NDA.

Enhancements to EMC Symmetrix V-Max Systems coming!!

October 14th, 2009 No comments

Enhancements to EMC Symmetrix V-Max system is possibly around the corner (FY09 Q4).

FAST (Fully Automated Storage Tiering) is due this quarter and will be one of the most awaited software release in the enterprise storage space by EMC.

Bundled together with FAST, possibly a new microcode version the enables FAST (its associated features) and other expected enhancements.

Though this will be a major software release and functionality upgrade, I don’t think this would qualify as a 2nd generation EMC Symmetrix V-Max system.

But fully expect EMC to release its FAST v2 and V-Max G2 somewhere around Mid year 2010.


Here are a few new features to possibly expect on the EMC Symmetrix V-Max Systems this quarter.

1. Introduction of FAST v1, which should allow automated data movement within a single Symmetrix V-Max system. Here are some features of FAST as discussed on GestaltIT and by Barry Burke (TSA) on his blog.

2. FAST v1 data movement should possibly be policy driven around factors like time (how old is the data), SLA (promised SLA’s), Tier (from Tier 0 to Tier 1 to Tier 2) and possibly I/O or IOPS based.

3. FAST v1 should allow automated policy based data movement or prompt a user for manual intervention for data movement.

4. Do not expect FAST v1 to come for free, it will possibly be licensed based on the total number of TB’s in the storage subsystem.

5. Expect some integration between the IONIX platform and FAST v1 and possibly some very tight integration with future releases of FAST and IONIX.

6. Expect FAST and IONIX to integrate very tightly with Atmos through API’s and policies. We should expect to see this with FAST v2 and not with FAST v1.

7. So when does EMC retire Symmetrix Optimizer, with FAST v1 probably not, with FAST v2 probably yes.

8. 2TB SATA II drives will be introduced (According to a Keynote from Joe Tucci in NYC), though Joe Tucci didn’t mention what platforms the 2TB SATA II drives will be available on, it seems the V-Max upgrade would be the most logical platform.

9. The 2TB SATA II drive upgrade should make the V-Max 4 PB total storage (2400 drives x 2TB), possibly the single largest storage subsystem at an enterprise level.

10. RapidIO speed upgrade from 2.5 Gbps to 4 Gbps (interconnects between the engines) upgraded either through MBIE (new processors) and / or through microcode upgrades. Edit 10/15/2009 – 12:50 PM: Not sure currently the technology that EMC uses for RapidIO, since Parallel RapidIO supports 250 Mhz to 1Ghz clocking speeds while Serial RapidIO supports 1.25Ghz to 3Ghz.

11. Drive connect speed upgrade from 4 Gbps to 8 Gbps

12. FC and FICON (Host Connects) port speeds upgrade from 4 Gbps to 8 Gbps

13. Interconnect between two separate Symmetrix V-Max Systems (8 Engines each per system) expanding into possibly 16 or 32 (max) engines. The more I think about this concept, the more it makes me feel that there are no added benefits of this architecture, rather it will add more complexities with data management and higher latency. We may not see anything related to interconnects in this upgrade, but remember how the V-Max was initially marketed with having hundreds of engines and millions of IOPS, the only way to achieve that vision is through interconnects. The longer the distance, the more latency with cache and I/O. If Interconnets end up making in this release, limitation on the distance between two Symmetrix V-Max system bays would be around 100 feet.

14. To the point above, another way of possibly connecting these systems could merely be federation through external policy based engines. Ed Saipetch and myself have speculated that concept on GestaltIT.

15. With the use of larger drive size, possibly expect a cache upgrade. Currently the Symmetrix V-Max supports 1TB total cache (512GB usable), which may get upgraded to 2TB total cache (1024 GB usable).

16. New possible microcode version 5875 that will help bring features like FAST, SATA II drives and additional cache into the Symmetrix V-Max.

17. Processors: 4 x Quad Core Intel processors on V-Max engines may not get an upgrade in this release, it should possibly be with FAST v2 as a midlife enhancement next year.

18. Further enhancements related to FCoE support.

19. Upgrade of iSCSI interface on Symmetrix V-Max engines from 1GB to 10GB (is now available with the Clariion CX4 platforms).

20. Really do not expect this to happen, but imagine RapidIO interconnects change to FCoE. Really not sure what made EMC to go with RapidIO instead of Infiniband 40 Gbps (which most of the storage industry folks think is dead) or FCoE with Engine interconnects, but if the engineers at EMC thought of RapidIO as a means to connect the V-Max engines, there has to be a reason behind it. Edit 10/15/2009 12:50 PM: Enginuity more or less doesn’t care about the underlying switching technology, making a switch from RapidIO to FCoE or Infiniband can be accomplished without a lot of pains. Though for customers already invested into RapidIO technology (with existing V-Max systems), it might be offline time to change the underlying fabric, which in most cases is unacceptable.

21. Virtual Provisioning on Virtual LUNs which is currently not supported with the existing generation of Microcode on V-Max systems.

22. Atmos currently is running as a beta release and we should expect a market release this Quarter. Should we expect to see an integration between V-Max and Atmos. I am not sure of any integration today.

23. A very interesting feature to have in the EMC Symmetrix V-Max would be system partitioning, where you can run half the V-Max engines at a certain Microcode level with a certain set of features and other half can be treated as a completely separate system with its own identity (almost like a Mainframe environment). Shouldn’t this be a feature of a modular storage array.

24. Symmetrix Management Console (SMC) and Vmware integration (like VMware aware Navisphere and Navisphere aware VMware). There is already quite a bit of support related to VMware in SMC for provisioning and allocation.

25. Also a much tighter integration between IONIX, FAST, SMC, Navisphere and Atmos may after all be the secret sauce, which would enable workflow, dataflow and importantly automation. Though do not expect this integration now, something to look forward for the next year.

Summary

Though I am still a bit confused on where FAST will physically sit.

FAST v1 can merely be a feature integrated within the Microcode, configurable & driven through policy within the Symmetrix Management Console.

FAST v2 (Sometime Mid 2010) will support in-box and out-of-box (eg: Symmetrix to Clariion to Celerra to Centera) data movement through policy engine.

Ed Saipetch and myself have speculated on GestaltIT on how that may work. Though after some thoughts, I do believe a policy engine can merely be a VM or a vAPP sitting outside the physical storage system in the Storage environment.

To promote the sales of the EMC Symmetrix V-Max systems, Barry Burke in his blog post talks about Open Replicator, Open Migrator and SRDF / DM (Data mobility) are now available at no cost for customers purchasing a new EMC Symmetrix V-Max system, these are some of the incentives that EMC is offering and further promoting the sales of its latest generation Symmetrix technology.

It remains to be seen the path of success FAST will carve for Symmetrix V-Max systems.

Symmetrix V-Max Systems: SRDF Enhancements and Performance

September 10th, 2009 No comments

v-max image 2So this was one of those posts that I always wanted to write related to Symmetrix V-Max and SRDF enhancements that were incorporated with the 5874 microcode.

Yesterday morning had a chat with a friend and ended up talking about SRDF and then later in the day had another interesting conference call on SRDF with a potential customer. So I really thought, today was the day I should go ahead and finish this post.

Back in April 2009 when the V-Max systems were initially launched, Storagezilla had a post on V-Max and SRDF features, he covers quite a bit of ground related to the Groups and the SRDF/EDP (Extended Distance Protection).

Here are the highlights of SRDF for V-Max Systems

SRDF Groups:

  1. 250 SRDF Groups with Symmetrix V-Max (5874) Systems. In the prior generation Symmetrix DMX-4 (5773), it had support for 128 groups. Logically even with 2PB of storage, very seldom do customers hit that mark of 250 groups.
  2. 64 SRDF groups per FC / GigE channel. In the previous generation Symmetrix DMX-4 (5773), there was support for 32 groups per channel.

SRDF Consistency support with 2 mirrors:

  1. Each leg is placed in a separate consistency group so it can be changed separately without affecting the other.

Active SRDF Sessions and addition/removal of devices:

  1. Now customers can add or remove devices from a group without invaliding the entire group, upon the device becoming fully synced it should be added to the consistency group (with previous generation Symmetrix DMX-4, one device add or remove would cause the entire group to invalidate requiring the customers to run full establish again).

SRDF Invalid Tracks:

  1. The “long tail” – last few tracks search has been vastly improved. The search procedure and methods for the “long tail’ has been completely redesigned. It is a known fact with SRDF, that the last invalid tracks take a lot of time to sync as its going through the cache search.
  2. The SRDF establish operations speed is at least improved by 10X; see the numbers below in the performance data.

Timefinder/Clone & SRDF restores:

  1. Customers can now restore Clones to R2 and R2’s to R1’s simultaneously, initially with the DMX-4’s this was a 3-step process.

SRDF /EDP (Extended Distance Protection):

  1. 3-way SRDF for long distance with secondary site as a pass through site using Cascaded SRDF.
  2. For Primary to Secondary sites customers can use SRDF/S, for Secondary to Tertiary sites customer can use SRDF/A
  3. Diskless R21 pass-through device, where the data does not get stored on the drives or consume disk. R21 is really in cache so the host is not able to access it. Needs more cache based on the amount of data transferred.
  4. R1 — S –> R21 — A –> R2 (Production site > Pass-thru Site > Out-of-region Site)
  5. Primary (R1) sites can have DMX-3 or DMX-4 or V-Max systems, Tertiary (R2) sites can have DMX-3 or DMX-4 or V-Max systems, while the Secondary (R21) sites needs to have a V-Max system.

R22 – Dual Secondary Devices:

  1. R22 devices can act as target devices for 2 x R1 devices
  2. One Source device can perform Read write on R22 devices
  3. RTO improved with primary site going down

Other Enhancements:

  1. Dynamic Cache Partitioning enhancements
  2. QoS for SRDF/S
  3. Concurrent writes
  4. Linear Scaling of I/O
  5. Response times equivalent across groups
  6. Virtual Provisioning supported with SRDF
  7. SRDF supports linking Virtual Provisioned device to another Virtual Provisioned device.
  8. Much more faster dynamic SRDF operations
  9. Much more faster failover and failback operations
  10. Much more faster SRDF sync’s

Some very limited V-Max Performance Stats related to SRDF:

  1. 36% improved FC performance
  2. FC I/O per channel up to 5000 IOPS
  3. GigE I/O per channel up to 4000 IOPS
  4. 260 MB/sec RA channel I/O rate, with DMX-4 it was 190 MB/seconds
  5. 90 MB/sec GigE channel I/O rate, with DMX-4 it was almost the same
  6. 36% improvement on SRDF Copy over FC
  7. New SRDF pairs can be created in 7 secs compared to 55 secs with previous generations
  8. Incremental establishes after splits happen in 3 seconds compared to 6 secs with previous generations
  9. Full SRDF establishes happen in 4 seconds compared to 55 seconds with previous generations
  10. Failback SRDF happen in 19 seconds compared to 47 seconds with previous generations

To read more about V-Max systems follow

http://storagenerve.com/tag/v-max

To read more about SRDF systems follow

http://storagenerve.com/tag/srdf