Archive for the ‘EMC’ Category

Who is going to receive the medals below for Top VMware Virtualisation blogs 2015?? Time will tell and all will be revealed soon enough but all voting must be completed by March 16th and results will be announced on a special broadcast March 19th.


Top vBlogs Medal

Top vBlogs Medal


Eric Siebert over at vSphere-land site started producing Top 10 Virtualisation blog lists all the way back in 2008.  The concept to me is a fantastic one. It is an acknowledgment and recognition to the VMware Virtualisation top bloggers for their contributions by the very people that benefit from the hard work put into their blogs, you the public. If you find yourself a regular researcher to all things vSphere/related product suites and technologies then you will have come across the many excellent blogs out there. The content pages are filled and fueled by their passion for VMware technology. Please recognise this work by taking a couple of minutes to cast your vote on the 2015 Top vBlogs. There are a number of sub-categories as well to keep things interesting.

Look forward to the results as my vote is cast!




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EMC Symmetrix Federated Tiered Storage (FTS) is a VMAX Enginuity feature introduced under Enginuity release 5876. It has been out some time but after attending the VMAX tech summit EMEA conference recently in Cork it was clear it is now playing a larger role with Symmetrix VMAX3 (100K, 200K, 400K models). Before finding out where something is going I thought it may be useful to explain what it is, how to configure it and when to use FTS from a VMAX2 (10K, 20K, 40K models) perspective.

What is FTS?

FTS simply put is the ability to present storage from external Storage Arrays to a Symmetrix VMAX which can be used as disk space and is subject to the same rich Data Services that native VMAX physical storage benefits from.  These capabilities include local and remote replication, FAST-VP, VAAI, Virtual (Thin) Provisioning  and migration services. Now that is useful from a number of perspectives and I will delve in to that later on.  This was introduced with 5876 enginuity.

Note: With the introduction of Enginuity 5876.82.57, only VMAX/20K or VMAX 40K systems supported FTS. With the introduction of Enginuity 5876.159.102, VMAXe/10K systems also support FTS.

The Storage arrays must of course be on the supported list.

Front End adapters need to run a special emulation called DX (for Da eXternal) and this enables the adapters to function the same as DA’s but are mapped to external storage instead of Back-End storage. DX ports must be configured in pairs across both directors in the same VMAX engine. Both ports on a processor are automatically configured as DX ports. 7G and 8G would be a valid example pairing. This is illustrated below (diagram from tech note  referenced at the bottom of the doc);


Before delving into how to configure FTS there a number of points that should be noted;

  • External luns called e-disk devices can be presented in two ways , as encapsulated devices (preserving existing data) or as externally provisioned devices (raw capacity and existing data is removed).
  • e-disks are unprotected locally by the Symmetrix. Protection is relied upon by the external array.
  • There are restrictions on  encapsulated devices that are geometry limited (raw capacity of e-disk does not match Symmetrix device size) and these can be found in the Array Controls CLI Product Guide.
  • For VMAX 2nd generation systems  the FTS Tier for FAST-VP does not need to be the lowest Tier in a FAST-VP policy it can be set to any as of 5876.159.102. Also 4 tiers allowed in a FAST-VP policy if FTS is in use.
  • Currently FTS is only supported on VMAX3 with protectpoint (Data Domain encapsulated edisks) which enables the VMAX to backup directly to a Data Domain system. FTS on VMAX3 will be revisited here at some point which may be timed with the release of a future VMAX3 capability or integration point! 

How to Configure FTS

Configure DX Directors

DX directors must be configured by EMC Customer Engineer by setting the selected FA ports emulation to DX. The rest of the FTS tasks are completely user configurable.

 Configure Target Array

  • Ensure ALL external LUNS that are intended to be virtualised are presented to all external array ports
  • Ensure external array is located within the same DC as the VMAX array


Best practice is to have dual fabric implementation with 1 DX port from each DX Director pair connected to one fabric with the other two ports connected to second fabric for redundancy. Ideally a DX director pair would be zoned to two storage ports on the same external disk array controller . This way loss of a fabric would not mean loss of connectivity to any controller and vice versa. See example below for directors 7G and 8G;

Fabric A:

Zone 1: 7G:0, Controller A, Port 0

Zone 2: 8G:0, Controller B, Port 0

Fabric B:

Zone 3: 7G:1, Controller A, Port 1

Zone 4: 8G:1, Controller B, Port 1

Note: Retrieve DX port WWN using ‘symcfg list -dx 7g -v -sid ‘

Verify Connectivity to external storage

Using Solutions enabler this can be achieved with two commands;

Determine DX directors configured

symcfg -sid <SID> list -DX all

Validate connectivity to external storage controller ports

symsan -sid <SID> list -sanports -DX all -port all

Verify connectivity to luns on external array on a paticular port

symsan -sid  <SID> -dir 7G -p 0 list -sanluns -wwn

 Add e-disks to disk group used by Thin Pool and create pool devices

An external disk group is not mandatory for adding e-disks to Thin Pool but is cleaner in terms of separation of TDAT devices from external disk devices by specifying disk group when creating TDATs. External diskgroups start at disk group 512 so can be clearly identified (although it is quite clear using the command ‘symdisk -sid <SID>  list -dskgrp_summary -external’ as well 😉 )

Create external diskgroup

symconfigure -sid <SID> -cmd “create disk_group external_dg disk_location=external;” commit -nop (latest external dg number assigned)

Note: Next available disk group number above 512 is assigned

Add external devices

symconfigure -sid -cmd “add external_disk wwn= to disk_group=513, encapsulate_data=NO;” commit -nop

Create Thin Pool

symconfigure -sid <SID> -cmd “create pool VP_external, type_thin;” commit -nop

Create TDATs

symconfigure -sid <SID> -cmd “create dev count=8, size=18414, emulation=fba, config=unprotected, attribute=datadev in pool VP_External member_state=enable , disk_group=513;” commit -nop

Create TDEVS

symconfigure -sid <SID> -cmd “create dev count=16, size=18414, emulation=fba, config=TDEV, binding to pool= VP_External;” commit -nop

Verify TDAT and TDEV device creation

symcfg -sid <SID> show -pool VP_External -thin -detail -all

Note: The FTS specific fields show Disk Location is “External”, Dev Configuration will be “Unprotected” and Disk technology is “N/A”. The disk technology is n/a because it is on fact an external lun

 When to use FTS

  •  The most straight forward use case is utilising FTS to incorporate an external array as another Virtual Provisioning pool of storage from a pure capacity perspective.
  • Also as indicated previously FTS can be defined to be a 4th Tier of Storage (not necessarily the lowest) for FAST-VP
  • FTS can be used for Migration purposes as a mechanism to move data from an external array to another Symmetrix array with Remote Replication (SRDF) or indeed locally with LUN migration or via LocaL Replication (Timefinder Clone).
  • Any array integrated with Symmetrix VMAX via FTS benefits from the rich data services which the Symmetrix extremely highly respected reputation was built on. XtremIO is a system which can simultaneously be accessed directly or through the VMAX with FTS. Luns presented through the VMAX could then be remote replicated!

Hopefully some readers are still with me. It was a long post but Federated Tiered Storage is a technology to me which is not well known so it may save some folk rummaging for detail on it. It was a topic I was meaning to revisit for some time and now I think is as good a time as any with the release of Protectpoint. Mark May did a post on this Protectpoint is well worth reading here.

Usual disclaimer folks

References   (Master Solution: Federated Tiered Storage Solutions)  (Technical Note: Design and Implementation Best Practices for EMC Symmetrix Federated Tiered Storage)  (Solutions Enabler Array Controls guide)



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EMC Elect 2015

Today EMC Elect Class of 2015 has been announced. I am delighted to say I have made the cut! This is not a Technical Certification but is a designation for that calendar year to acknowledge influence, participation, knowledge sharing and engagement with the EMC Community. The image below and the EMC Elect FAQ page can help clarify this even better.

EMC Elect Who-What

The top 3 reasons the judges used for selection criteria were

  • Regular engagement on the EMC Community Network
  • Great conversations on Twitter
  • Strong technical presence via blogs and at industry events

On my first blog post I mentioned that there was a bit of coaxing for me to get this blog off the ground. I had a call recently from Mark Browne to discuss EMC Elect and what it meant as well as discussions we had in EMC World last year around the community in general. I love our chats we discuss all sorts but during it I did acknowledge how a blog would really help my cause on getting unique content out “there” as well as a medium to expedite what I felt was lacking at the moment a local user forum and conduit for customers to find out whats good as well as feedback what is not! I will be consulting with EMC Elect colleagues initially and then seeking out assisting from “you”. Two main objectives will be to see is there an appetite for this and if so what content would benefit most.

I would like to thank the folk who nominated me and the judges who stuck their neck out in selecting me. The goal will be to not let you down and enhance the program with me being in it rather than out of it 😉


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Hello World

Well I’ve finally decided to take the plunge into the world of blogging! I have done some serious procrastination on this front but with some coaxing (more on that later today) I have decided now is as good a time as any to give back.

Those that know me would acknowledge that I am quite active on twitter and linkedin sharing other bloggers and vendors content as well as positively interacting on discussions but this site will be my musings from my own day job and technology passions which the IT Community at large can hopefully benefit from. This site may not be for everyone but if only a handful get use out it then it will be worthwhile!

For those that don’t know me you can read about me here.

I am a definite rookie at blogging so please feel free to provide feedback you think will benefit me. I better figure out what to post now…

Like most personal technology blogs my views are my own and not that of my employer, see disclaimer.

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