Creating Volumes, Initiator Groups and Mapping them in XtremIO 4.0

EMC has recently released XtremIO 4.0 and with that comes an interface change under the configuration tab.  This blog will show you the new look interface and how to create Volumes, Initiator Groups, and how to map them together.

Configuration Tab

As you can see the Configuration Layout has changed.  This new look provides more detail when it comes to Volumes, Consistency Groups, Snapshots, Initiator Groups, Initiators and Schedules.

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Creating a Volume

You have 2 ways to create a volume shown below.  Either right-click Volumes or use the Create Volume button.

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Specify the Volume parameters such as size, Logical Blocks, IO Alerts and VAAI Alerts (Recommended).  You can also add multiple volumes at the same time by select “Add Multiple” on the right side.

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Specify Number of Volumes, Name, Start Index, Size, Logical Blocks, IO Alerts and VAAI Alerts

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Manage the Volume Tags by either selecting an existing one or creating one by selecting “Create Tag” at the end

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Give the Tag a name and decide what object the Tag should be defined under

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Once you have selected your tag click “Finish”.  The Volume will now show up under the Volume Tab

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Initiator Group Creation

You have 2 ways to create an Initiator Group shown below.  Either right-click Initiator Groups or use the Create Initiator Group button.

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Specify Initiator Group Name then select “Add” to add the initiator.

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Add the Initiators for the Initiator Group.  Name each initiator and specify OS Type

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Create and apply any Initiator Group Tags if needed

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The Initiator Group will now show up.  Verify Zoning and Connectivity by going to the Targets Tab and looking at the FC1 and FC2 connections for green check marks.

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Mapping Volumes to Initiators

Go to the Volumes Section and select the Volumes you want to Map. You can Right Click the Volumes or select “Create/Modify Mapping”

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Select the Initiator Groups that you want to map

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Specify a Volume ID and then Finish

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Select the Mapping Tab to see what Volumes are mapped to the Initiator Group

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At this point you can add your storage to your hosts.

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VSI 6.6 is here!!

EMC recently released Virtual Storage Integrator 6.6 and I wanted to share some of the new features that were added. The product continues to improve and this version has added several new features. If you are using EMC storage (especially XtremIO) then you need to be using VSI!

This release includes the following new features:

  • Support for the following EMC RecoverPoint data protection functions:
    • Manage RecoverPoint credentials
    • Configure the RecoverPoint system
    • View Consistency Groups
    • Configure Consistency Groups
    • Manage VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager credentials
    • View protection groups
  • Support for the following operations on EMC VNXe1600 storage:
    • Configure storage access
    • Manage credentials
    • Provision VMFS datastores and RDM disks for FC and iSCSI
    • Extend VMFS Datastores
    • View VMFS datastores and RDM properties
  • Support for the following operations on EMC vVNX storage:
    • Configure storage access
    • Manage credentials
    • Provision VMFS datastores and RDM disks for iSCSI
    • Provision NFS datastores
    • Extend VMFS and NFS datastores
    • View datastores and RDM properties
    • Enable compression and deduplication on NFS datastores
  • Support for the following operations on EMC XtremIO storage:
    • Scheduled space reclamation
    • Create, view, and mount snapshots
    • View capacity metrics without “zeroed” space
    • Set properties on multiple hosts
  • Support for the following operations on EMC XtremIO 4.0.x storage:
    • Multi-cluster management from a single XMS

RecoverPoint for VMs 4.3 – New Features and Changes

RecoverPoint for VMs 4.3 has been released with a lot of new features and changes.  This blog will outline all of them with the hope of doing some demos in the future.

Multi-cluster support

RecoverPoint for VMs 4.3 now supports up to three copies (including the production copy) per consistency group and up to three vRPA clusters per RecoverPoint for VMs system, enabling concurrent local and remote replication.

VC licensing

RecoverPoint for VMs licenses are now per vCenter Server (as opposed to per vRPA cluster), enabling multiple vRPA clusters connected to a single vCenter Server to share the same license.

Deployment Automation with REST API

Enterprise users and service providers can use the new REST API to perform the following system deployment actions automatically:

  • Download RP4VMs OVA image files.
  • Import OVA image files via vCenter wizard.
  • Configure vRPA networking (including IP address and connectivity to ESXi).
  • Open web interface and configure vRPA cluster in DM flow.
  • Pair between two clusters using credentials.
  • Receive operation status.
  • Register vCenter plug-in.
  • Install ESXi splitter without rebooting the ESXi.

Orchestration

  • Disk provisioning of copy VMs

When creating consistency groups users can now select the type of VMDK to use for the copy VMs. Possible options are thin, thick, or same as source. Default is same as source.

  • Expansion of VMDKs

VMDKs can now be expanded without loosing the journal or causing a full sweep for the entire consistency group in cases where users want to add additional space to protect the VMDK.

  • Exclusion of VMDKs

VMs containing VMDKs that are shared or non-persistent can now be replicated, as such VMDKs can now be excluded from replication.

  • Automatic replication of VMDKs

VMs can now also be configured to include newly added VMDKs from replication automatically.

  • Adding a VMDK without journal loss

Replication sets can now be added to a consistency group without causing journal loss or a full sweep.

  • Replicating VM hardware changes

Each production VM’s hardware resources (such as CPU, memory, etc.) can now automatically be replicated to its copy VM during image access.

Start-up sequence

Users can now define the power-up order of VMs in a consistency group (and consistency groups in a group set) as image access is enabled when testing a copy, failing over, or recovering production. VMs can also be marked as critical to stop the start-up sequence if that VM doesn’t power up.

  • User prompts

You can now define messages that must be acknowledged by RecoverPoint for VMs administrators before and after each VM’s power-up.

  • User scripts

You can now save and run scripts before and after powering on VMs by defining an external host per vRPA cluster in a RecoverPoint for VMs system.

  • Networking enhancements

All of the networking details of the VMs in a RecoverPoint for VMs system, or the VMs at a copy in a RecoverPoint for VMs system, can now be imported and automatically applied, or exported for future use.

Application-consistent bookmark support via VSS

Application-consistent bookmarks can now be created on every VMware-based virtual machine in its own consistency group that uses VSS and is running Windows 2008 or 2012 R2.

Scale and performance improvements

RecoverPoint for VMs 4.3 supports increased scale and performance, including the following scale improvements:

Parameter 4.2 4.3
Maximum number of vRPA clusters connected to a vCenter server 2 4
Maximum number of VMs that can be registered in the

inventories of all vCenters connected to a vRPA cluster

1024 5120
Maximum number of protected VMs in a vCenter 300 1024
Maximum number of protected VMDKs per vRPA cluster 1024 2048
Maximum number of protected VMDKs per ESXi cluster 2048 4096
Maximum total number of ESXi hosts with a splitter 16 32
Maximum number of ESXi clusters connected to a vRPA cluster 2 4
Maximum number of Consistency Groups per vRPA

cluster

64 128
Maximum number of VMs per Consistency Group 16 128
Maximum number of replica sites per RecoverPoint for

VMs system

1 2
Maximum number of replica copies per Consistency

Group

1 2
Maximum capacity of a single VMDK 2TB 10TB
Total max capacity of a replicated VM 8TB 40TB
 
 

Getting started wizard

A wizard is now automatically displayed after the initial installation of a RecoverPoint for VMs system to guide users through the process of licensing and registering their RecoverPoint for VMs system and enabling support. This wizard is also displayed when adding the first license using the main RecoverPoint for VMs Management > Administration > Licenses screen.

Recovery activity reports

For each recovery activity a detailed report can now be displayed including the final status of each step, as well as the overall status, of the recovery activity.

EMC Storage Analytics (ESA) supports RecoverPoint for VMs

Zerto 4.0 VPG Test Failover

This is Blog 4 in the Zerto Replication 4.0 Series.  This blog will cover the Virtual Protection Group (VPG) Test Failover.

Current Setup

  • Production Cluster of 2 hosts
  • DR Cluster of 1 host
  • ZVM has been deployed at both sites on Windows 2012 R2
  • VRAs have been installed at each site
  • Sites have been paired
  • VPG’s have been created

VPG Test Failover

Login to the Zerto Interface and go to the VPG Tab.  Make sure the “Test” option is selected and click Failover

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Failover Test window will pop up. Select you VPGs that you want to test and select next.

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Review the Execution Parameters

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Start the Failover Test

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Go to the Monitoring Tab to observer the failover tasks.

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The screenshot below shows the steps that are taking place at the target vCenter.

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Once the Failover Test procedure has completed you will be able to bring up your VMs at the target location and begin your testing

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Once you have completed your testing go back to the Monitor Tab.  Go to the tasks and select the red “Stop” button to end the testing.

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The Stop Test window will pop up and ask for the “Result” and “Notes”.  Select Stop to stop the test.

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See the screenshot below to see the Teardown of the testing

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Once the testing has been taken down it will show “Completed” under Monitoring.

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My next blog will cover the VPG Failover process.

XtremIO 4.0 New Features and Changes!!

XtremIO 4.0 has been released as of 6/30 and I wanted to share the New Features and Changes that are stated in the release notes.  I will be doing several blogs on XtremIO including the new interface and RecoverPoint Integration!!

New Features and Changes in Ver. 4.0.0-64

This section describes the following new features and changes that are introduced in this software version.

They include:

  • Hardware Enhancements
  • Replication – Native RecoverPoint Integration
  • Non-Disruptive Online Cluster Expansion
  • Snapshots
  • Multiple Cluster Support
  • GUI Enhancements
  • Tags
  • Improved Data Collection and Reporting
  • RESTful API Enhancements
  • OpenStack
  • Enhanced Microsoft® Support
  • Serviceability Features
  • Improved Resiliency
  • Security Enhancements

Hardware Enhancements

This version provides the following new features and changes:

  • 40TB, double-density X-Bricks: The system incorporates stronger hardware (CPU and RAM), providing the equivalent performance on larger X-Bricks.
  • New cluster configuration: Customers can deploy up to 8 X-Bricks in a cluster (20TB clusters in current version, 40TB cluster will support 8 X-Brick configuration in Q3)

Replication – Native RecoverPoint Integration

This version provides the following new features and changes:

  • RecoverPoint for XtremIO provides the best RPO in the All-Flash market (60 seconds using pre-defined RPO).
  • RecoverPoint can scale, according to the number of X-Bricks, by adding more RPAs.
  • The solution uses an innovative unique replication technique that leverages snapshot shipping and utilizes external CPUs for replication. It provides:
    • A better design to support the high performance I/O characteristic of all-flash arrays.
    • More resources are allocated for BW reduction and efficient transfer of snapshots (SCSI DIFF), resulting in more savings in BW costs. They include:
      • Compression
      • Deduplication
    • Further data saving is enabled on the snapshots stored at the target site. Any snapshot is deduplicated and compressed inline while data is written at the target snapshot.
    • Snapshot shipping enables immediate RTO at the target site and offers hundreds of point-in-time copies for recovery. It allows multiple tries for the administrators to select the best copy for a failover.

Non-Disruptive Online Cluster Expansion

This version provides the following new features and changes:

  • An XtremIO cluster can be expanded non-disruptively, while the cluster is online and serving data, adding agility to the data center. An XtremIO Storage Array can grow both in capacity and performance as more workload is consolidated into the system. This enables customers to start with a smaller cluster and expand it according to the workloads growth.
  • The added capacity and performance is available for consumption during the expansion process.
  • The following table shows the available expansion paths. (6 and 8 X-Brick clusters are supported only with the 20TB X- Brick type.) 

XIO 4 Release

 

 

 

 

Snapshots

This version provides the following new features and changes:

  • XtremIO offers unrestrictive immediate refresh capabilities. Any Snapshot can be refreshed with any Snapshot, allowing unlimited flexibility.
  • XtremIO supports read-only Snapshots for immutable point-in-time copies.
  • Coupled with the ability to retain large numbers of high-performance, space efficient Snapshots, administrators gain the agility to leverage Snapshots for improving business and administrative operations.
  • Application integration XtremIO:
    • Provides better protection for applications using Consistency Groups to enable application consistency:
      • Supports crash consistent snapshotting for applications.
      • Support application aware Snapshots using VSS, UNIX Scripts or AppSync.
    • Allows restore and refresh of the entire Consistency Group.
  • Local protection, using the XtremIO Scheduler XtremIO:
    • Allows setting local protection policies to protect from logical data corruption.
    • Allows a short RPO for crash consistent Snapshots.
    • Enables the user to set retention policies for copies.
    • Allows immediate Recovery Time Objective in case of a logical corruption.

Typical use cases include:

  • Protection against logical corruption
  • Backup
  • Off-host processing – near-real-time analytic, BI and DW
  • Test and Dev

Multiple Cluster Support

This version provides the following new features and changes:

  • The system allows monitoring and configuration of up to 8 clusters, using a single XMS.
  • Clusters can be seamlessly added to an XMS or removed from it.
  • Multiple-X-Brick support:
    • Improves the ease of management of a large scale XtremIO deployment.
    • Provides a single aggregated view of all managed clusters, including performance information and cluster health status and easy navigation to individual clusters.
    • Enables programmatic access to multiple clusters.

GUI Enhancements

This version provides the following new features and changes:

  • Full support for all of the newly-added features
  • New GUI layout for multi-cluster support
  • A new configuration module and flows to support:
    • Object tagging
    • Writable and Read-only Snapshots
    • Consistency Groups management
    • Snapshot Scheduler
    • Snapshots Refresh and Restore capabilities
  • New Inventory management, allowing the user to view and manage the cluster hardware and different components
  • GUI bundle to allow working with local version of Java, in case of compatibility issues and for Mac OS

Tags

This version provides the following new features and changes:

  • A new object, to group a set of objects together, for ease of management
  • Support of all of existing and new objects of the XtremIO system such as Volumes and Initiators
  • Ability for any object to be a member of more than a single tag
  • Reporting and filtering on the Tag level, providing accurate aggregated information and statistics and easier operation on a large environment
  • Better alignment of the operation with business (for operation and reporting)
  • Supporting hierarchy, name and color coding

Improved Data Collection and Reporting

This version provides the following new features and changes:

  • XtremIO provides a better visibility of cluster performance and capacity usage over time.
  • Data is retained for up to two years and has variable granularity, according to the data age. The lowest sample granularity is 5 seconds.
  • The system is very simple to use. Performance and capacity analysis can be carried out via the XtremIO GUI, and there is no requirement for additional/external tools for analysis.
  • Reporting can be enabled at any desired level, including:
    • Objects (Initiator, IG, Volumes, etc.)
    • A set of objects
    • Cluster or a set of cluster reports
  • Users can choose and define their desired level of aggregation, based on business needs, using Tags. Metrics are also tracked per Tag.
  • The system provides both real time and historical numbers:
    • Enabling users the ability to compare current performance with historical data
    • Providing full flexibility of the time horizon of analysis
  • Information can be consumed at any form:
    • Data can be analyzed and presented by XtremIO GUI.
    • Data can be freely exported and consumed in CSV format.
    • External programs can consume data via XtremIO APIs (RESTful API and CLI).
  • Reports can be enabled for a user, or made publicly available for all cluster users.
  • With the newly-introduced user-generated customized templates feature, users can create report template and share them with other users.

RESTful API Enhancements

This version provides the following new features and changes:

  • The new (Ver. 2.0) RESTful API supports the new functionalities of XtremIO Ver. 4.0 (e.g. Tags, new Snapshot operations, etc.)
  • XtremIO RESTful API Ver. 2.0 has full backward computability with Ver. 1.0.
  • The RESTful API enables full automation, orchestration and monitoring of XtremIO cluster or clusters.

OpenStack

This version supports the OpenStack KILO release.

Enhanced Microsoft® Support

This version provides the following new features and changes:

  • VSS
    • XtremIO supports Microsoft Volume Shadow copy Service on Windows® 2012 and Windows® 2008.
    • XtremIO enables administrators to create application aware Snapshots on Windows environment with supported VSS writers such as SQL, SharePoint and Exchange.
  • Microsoft ODX
    • Offload copy operation to the XtremIO array in Microsoft environment, enables accelerating copy operations compared to host-based copy operations.
    • The system leverages XtremIO’s in-memory copy technology to establish faster ODX copies.
    • The system Expedites Windows 2012 in-guest or Hypervisor level copy

Supported use cases include:

  • Any manual copy operation
  • Database cloning for Test and Dev
  • Database backups to alternate systems
  • Deployments from templates
  • VM copying/cloning for Hyper-V cloud deployments

Serviceability Features

This version provides the following new features and changes:

  • New WWN (WWPN/WWNN) format for newly-installed systems
    • Encoded PSNT (Cluster serial ID) information
    • Using XtremIO unique vendor specific ID (OUI)
    • Enabling forecasting of the WWN before deployment, based on the PSNT (available in the order), and therefore allowing pre-zoning even before the cluster is deployed
  • Improved installation and upgrade flows
    • Configuring the whole cluster through a single Storage Controller
    • Connectivity validation and health checks, such as BBU connectivity test
    • Support for fresh install for XMS only
  • GUI Support tab
    • Enabling one-click easy access to EMC Global Support resources, applicable for the specific cluster configuration and version

Improved Resiliency

This version provides the following new features and changes:

  • Two simultaneous SSD failure support
  • Dual SAS connectivity (Active/Passive connection from each Storage Controller to the DAE)
  • Protective power-off
    • Allows powering off the Storage Controller if it does not impose any risk to cluster service.
    • Prevents users from interrupting cluster service by mistake.
    • Allows power-off of a cluster only when the cluster is not servicing I/Os.
  • Emergency Shutdown
    • Pressing the Power buttons of any two Storage Controllers in a cluster for 5 seconds shuts down the cluster.
    • Blinking DAE LEDs indicate that it is safe to turn off the PDU.
  • Improved Performance during HA events

Security Enhancements

This version provides the following new features and changes:

  • The Inactivity Timeout feature logs the user out of the cluster management (from CLI and GUI) when the Inactivity Timeout threshold is reached.
  • Users can log out from GUI sessions without closing the XtremIO application.
  • The login banner (available for GUI or CLI sessions) can be configured with customized login message to comply with enterprise policy.
  • Login audit events.
  • iSCSI VLAN support.
  • IPV6 support.
  • SNMPv3 encryption and authentication for SNMP traps support.