On EMC Elect, Snow Days and Mr. Spock


347028-graphic-EMC Elect 2015-hires.jpgThis week started absolutely fantastic. I was returning from a great weekend in Wilmington, NC excited to know that I was now able to say that I was EMC Elect for 2015! This is my first time being a part of EMC Elect and I am excited, and honored to be a part of it. Most of the past year I have been blogging about EMC’s VMAX, and other topics. I have been active on twitter, LinkedIn and EMC community forums as well. In short, I like sharing things about technology as it pertains to storage, and the datacenter as whole. You can read about the program here: https://community.emc.com/community/connect/emc_elect  I will continue to share with the community in 2015 and hope to add more stuff soon!  Hint: I’ve been meddling with a VMAX3 in our labs and am doing a presentation at Varrow Madness next month on it!

After enjoying and celebrating my Elect status, I sat down on Monday, and started typing up my blog entries and well to be perfectly honest, I had a little bit of writers block. Monday turned into Tuesday, Tuesday turned into a snow Day, Wednesday seemed promising, but Thursday even more snow. Now granted, I grew up in Michigan and can handle the snow. I love driving in it with my Jeep, but it just makes everything all weird in North Carolina. You see, there is this certain ‘bread and milk’ craziness that goes on when there is even an inkling of snow coming to the area. Neighbors freaking out before the storm warning me that Walmart is packed and I should run out and get my bread and milk before the lines get long…and Neighbors freaking out after the storm frantically shoveling their driveways after the storm. If they would only wait until about 24 hours, they would discover that snow really doesn’t stick around all that much. My driveway is perfectly clear…and I don’t own a shovel. Oh and bread and milk? Really? That’s what you’re thinking about? Anyways, I digress.

color_nimoy_headshotAnd then Friday hit. As everyone was worried about what color a dress was (crazy internet thing) I learned of Leonard Nemoy’s passing at 83 years. I grew up with Leonard Nimoy from episodes of Star Trek, Awesome Star Trek movies about transparent aluminum and Khan. His voice roles in Transformers as Galvatron and Sentinel Prime catered to my inner child’s dreams of discovering how awesome the transformers were. His work on the Fringe TV series was pretty nerdy too. You could say that Leonard Nimoy embodied the inner nerd in most of us and I thank him for that. His final tweet a few days ago was : “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP” Thank you Mr. Spock. Here is a toast of Romulan Ale to you. Live long and Prosper.


Posted in EMC, EMC Elect, Greater Good, random, varrow, VMAX | Leave a comment

VMAXHumpday, 12/17/2014 – VMAX3 Unisphere Overview, a First Look


Hello!  Welcome to my semi-regular-weekly blog about VMAX.  Today I wanted to do a quick overview of my initial impressions of the new Unisphere and VMAX3.  I decided to create a video today.  I basically spent 10 minutes on the VMAX3 before looking at this and recording, to excuse my over-use of transitional words such as ‘Umm’ and ‘stuff like that’.

Also, if you need a good refresher on why Enterprise Class Storage is still very relevant, you should go over to @thejasonnash ‘s blog @ http://jasonnash.com/2014/10/14/the-vmax3-why-enterprise-class-is-still-very-relevant/  I briefly reference it in the video.



Posted in EMC, VMAX, VMAX Hump Day | 2 Comments

VMAXHumpday, 12/10/2014 – How to Expand a Striped Meta in Unisphere Online!


Hump Day!!! Whaaaaaat?

I originally took the summer off in what was my regular VMAX humpday posts…and then a little more time from blogging due to general life getting in the way…well no excuses, I should probably remedy that right now.

Recently I have been involved in several large scale implementations of VMAX’s for customers and a common theme that comes up to those that are new to VMAX is operational tasks that happen after I leave the site and customers actually have to manage an array.  One of those most common questions I get is: “Well, I’m glad you set this all up with the exact sizing that I need, but what happens if I want to expand a lun?”  or “In VNX, I just have to right click on a LUN and expand the size, is there an option to do this in VMAX?”  Well the short answer is that you can expand a LUN online, however the process to do so is not as easy as it is in VNX.  Below I will explain how to do this, break down why we do this in this way and hopefully make it a little less complicated.  I will demonstrate how to do this in Unisphere.

Before starting anything, I like to break down the components to give a little background and terminology.  Here are some terms that I will mention in this post:

Meta Member – A virtual volume that is no larger than 240GB and used / striped or concatenated together to form a Striped Meta.

Striped Meta – Meta volumes are used in VMAX to make volumes larger than 240GB’s and/or address performance considerations.  Normally striped metas are formed in 4,8 or 16 members to meet size or performance needs.  My general rule of thumb (yours may vary!) is to form Meta Luns starting around 100-150GB at 4 members, and as I reach 1TB, I start expanding them out to 8 members and beyond.  I can go into the reasoning in more detail, but it will go well beyond this blog post.

BCV-TDEV – BCVs can be detached from the active data storage at a point in time and mounted on non-critical servers to facilitate offline backup or parallel processing. Once offline processes are completed, these BCVs can be either:

  • discarded
  • re-attached (re-synchronized) to the production data again
  • used as a source to recover the production data

Why is this important to expanding a LUN?  Well a BCV is used to make a mirror of the production data while the LUN is expanded and re-striped and then mirrored back to the newly formed LUN.  This is why VMAX is cool…it protects and re-stripes.  It is also why the process takes a while to accomplish.

Alright, now that we have some terminology out of the way, let’s get to it!!

Continue reading

Posted in EMC, varrow, VMAX, VMAX Hump Day | Leave a comment

VMAXHumpday, 5/21/2014 – TDATs, TDEVs, Thin pools, oh my!


Welcome to this week’s VMAXHumpday!  Hope you are having an awesome week!  Today I would like to talk about TDATs, TDEVs and Thin Pools!  Or as some people call them, the Lions, Tigers and Bears of VMAX!  OK…I Just made that up, but they can be scary if you don’t understand them.  I will do my best to explain. Continue reading

Posted in EMC, VMAX, VMAX Hump Day | Leave a comment

VMAXHumpday, 5/14/2014 – One CLI Command to Rule Them All


I wanted to type up a quick post today on my absolute favorite command in the CLI.  This is my ‘One CLI Command to Rule Them All’….or the ‘How much space should I tell my pointy haired manager this VMAX array has?’.

It is pretty simple.  You want to display all the space in your thin pools, in TB.  Total, Usable and Free.  This particular VMAX I am on has quite a few pools.  So what you need to do is go into your Unisphere Server or a server that has gatekeeper access to the array, and solutions enabler installed and type:

symcfg -sid 1234 list -thin -detail -pool -tb.

Note: replace 1234 with your VMAX sid…and I’m doing this in TB.

Check out what is displayed below:



So, check out my big red arrow.  Total GBs should say Total TBs if you use the TB switch.  I’m guessing whoever added the TB option in symcfg programming forgot to change it here.  Hopefully it is fixed in a future release!  …and EMC is watching my blog :)

That’s all for now…a short and sweet VMAXHumpday to show you how to report thin pool capacity…and my favorite command ever.


Posted in EMC, VMAX, VMAX Hump Day | 2 Comments

VMAXHumpday, 5/7/2014 – EMCWorld Special Edition – Storage Provisioning Future!


What would VMAXHumpday be during EMCworld without finding a really cool presentation and talking about it?  First of all, I am not at EMCWorld this year do to me slinging data around datacenters using the power of the force…wait, Open Replicator and some other stuff but I’m sure there is a ton going out there this week.  What is cool is that if you are not at the conference, you can watch a few good sessions online at www.emcworld.com.  This version of VMAXHumpday I’ll step a little bit away from tech tips and talk about an awesome presentation I watched online.

So the session I watched was Technology Preview – Hybrid Cloud by Barry Burke. (@StorageAnarchy from EMC CTO and SVP of Enterprise/Midrange) talking about the Hybrid Cloud and solve a Rubik’s cube puzzle, and basically answer what do users want? The answer is “Simple” and “Simple” ain’t easy.  He basically talks about how it takes 23 steps to provision storage today on a VMAX and how we need to move towards automation in the future to meet and define application objectives. Continue reading

Posted in Conferences, EMC, varrow, VMAX, VMAX Hump Day | Leave a comment

VMAXhumpday, 4/30/2014 – Masking Views 101 pt2


Happy VMAXhumpday!  Hope everyone is just doing fine.  Is it almost May already?  I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for Summertime now!  Can’t wait to be out on the beach, sitting in the sand…dreaming about storage…..*record screech* Whaaat whaat?  No way.  I like storage but I’m not one of those geeks (although I will admit to reading a book about Unix shell scripting once-upon-a-time).

Anyway, last week I talked to you about masking views and I mentioned that some of these things can be cascaded.  What does cascaded mean?  Well it applies to two different areas on a VMAX.  One being storage groups and the other being initiator groups as I covered before in last week’s post.

For Storage Groups – This offers a way to combine multiple groupings of child storage Continue reading

Posted in EMC, VMAX, VMAX Hump Day, vmware | Leave a comment

VMAXhumpday, 4/23/2014 – Masking Views 101 pt1


Happy VMAX Humpday!

Today I will be covering something a little less technical but equally important and thrilling as my previous mini-series on Open Replicator.  I will talk about Masking views.  If you are experienced in VNX, just starting out with VMAX or have never seen a VMAX before, it would be nice to know how a VMAX can present itself to your hosts right?

So the basic concept here is that you have the following components which are formed together into a masking view in order to see storage on your servers (I’ve got pictures too!):

Storage Groups – This is where it gets confusing if you are a VNX customer.  Storage groups on a VMAX mean something entirely different.  On a VMAX, these are only the Continue reading

Posted in EMC, VMAX, VMAX Hump Day | 1 Comment

VMAXhumpday, 4/16/2014 – Open Replicator pt. 2


Well, last week my Open Replicator post went over pretty good and I realized that I really needed to do another Open Replicator post…  This time it’s STONE COLD PULL Open replicator time.  Oh, and to throw something a little more different in?  Why not just do a VMAX to VMAX pull.  Oh this is gonna get fun!  Remember when I told you that control devices and remote devices are a good thing to keep track of?  Well here we go!

I like to use both Unisphere and the command line where it is appropriate.  Because I’m only migrating two servers in this example, and I need to get my new devices to talk to VMAX ports 8H1 and 5H1 (I originally zoned 8H1 and 5H1 on the new VMAX to the same on the old for OR purposes).

Continue reading

Posted in EMC, VMAX, VMAX Hump Day | 2 Comments

VMAXhumpday, 4/9/2014 – Open Replicator pt. 1

VMAX Hump Day!

What day is it Mike?  Whhhaaaaat whaaaaat?!?!?  Yes it is VMAX Hump Day! Or in the twitterverse #VMAXhumpday.  Yep.  I did it.  I created a hashtag. I actually created a couple…and sometimes late at night when I’m feeling the fresh beats, I throw out my best on the mic on #VMAXrap.

Anyway, let’s get down to it.  Every week I want to bring you something fresh.  Something new.  Some of the stuff here is what you are gonna find in EMC documentation but I hope to put it in a way that is easy to understand so you don’t have to have a rocking Unix beard to understand.  It’s also going to fun!  Any ideas or suggestions you want me to do, please let me know.  Throw it in the comments below or hit me up on twitter @SANGeek.  These are going to be quick tips…no in depth reviews or walk-throughs so if you are a VMAX novice or been into it for a while I hope this provides some value.

For this humpday I want to talk about Open Replicator.  Open Replicator is simply a way to push data or pull data from VMAX to VMAX or VMAX to VNX or VMAX to a supported array.  What is the common thing you see here?  Yes you need a VMAX and you need appropriate licensing to do some or all of the functionality.  I’m not here to talk about licenses though.  Those are boring.

In order to copy stuff, you need to have a few common things.  One being connectivity between the arrays.  It is not required but I find it a lot better/faster if both arrays are sharing the same switch or have hefty ISLs between them.  Woops, sorry…  ISL – Inter switch link.  Yah a pipe that connects between two switches and provides data transfer.

Next, you have what is called a control device.  A control device is basically where you are controlling the Open Replicator session from.  So when you are running commands from Unisphere for VMAX or CLI the terminology still stays the same.  Finally you need a remote device.  Now remote device is kinda confusing because if you are pushing or pulling it can be your source or target.  So you got to understand this, otherwise you don’t want to copy a blank disk onto a full disk.  That could make your day really bad if you are still backing up to tape! :)

So you have push. It does exactly what it sounds like.  You push from the control device to the remote device.  So if you are going from Old VMAX to a nice new shiney VNX you would create a text file something like this (I’ll do some Unisphere stuff in a while…but IMHO CLI is MUCH faster):

#Control Device  #Remote Device


So what does this file do?  Well it will push Symdev (Your Control Device or Migration Device from VMAX to the VNX wwn shown here.

A command you would use then would be:

symrcopy –sid XX create –push –cold –pace 2 –name test_or –f test_or.txt -nop

So…to break it down you have:

  • ‘symrcopy’ which is the executable if you have solutions enabler installed,
  • ‘-sid XX’ your Symmetrix serial,
  • ‘create –push –cold’ self explanatory,
  • ‘-pace 2’ pace at which it runs,
  • ‘name’ naming the session, and
  • ‘-f test_or.txt’ the file you created with the devices you want to migrate.
  • ‘-nop’ Don’t prompt me…I know what I’m doing!  (although if you are a beginner…you may not want to include this).

So what does that do?  It validates the config…assumes you have all the devices setup correctly and creates the session for you.  It does not do anything until you activate it.  Now there are some fundamental steps I left out here like setting in this case the cold control device to ‘not ready’ and adding both control and remote devices to appropriate storage groups on the VMAX and VNX but it’s getting late right now and I can show you guys in action a little bit later how everything pulls together.

Now…you want to query the session to make sure what you are about to copy is OK.

You would do:

symrcopy query –f test_or.txt

which will display for you a bunch of information.  Most importantly your control and remote luns, etc.

Now you want to activate!

symrcopy activate –f test_or.txt

Sweet!  It’s copying.  Now this cold copy is an offline copy meaning that servers will be powered off during the OR session.  You can do hot sessions, etc but I wanted to start with the basics first.

So while it’s running I find the best command to run so you don’t have to keep typing (because I’m lazy) is:

symrcopy query –det –f test_or.txt –i 20

which basically shows a little more detail, transfer rate and refreshes the command every 20 seconds (the ”-i 20′ part).

Now when the status say all copied!  Then all you need to do is re-zone your server to the VNX, point the new migrated lun to it, and boot it.  If all stars align, and you aren’t running a windows 2000 server or something funky you should be good!  Congrats.  You just cold migrated a lun.

Here is an example of the query command when it is all done (blue’d out to protect the innocent):

Next on #VMAXhumpday, I will get into a little more detail and hopefully show some more examples.

Hope you enjoyed!



Posted in EMC, VMAX, VMAX Hump Day, VNX | Leave a comment