SSY-V: livestop only with password with v10 PSP4 and above

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For all DCIE the livestop command is a very powerful and often used command to bring the SSY-V software back on track. The livestop command restarts the management services of SSY-V without affecting the storage virtualization layer, so I/O still can pass the system. Formerlay wirh SANmelody or SANsymphony the virtualization layer and the management layer were backed by two different services, so one was able to restart one of them without the other. With SSY-V DataCore merged both functions into a single service making the restart of the management a bit harder to do.

Livestop is normally required by the DataCore support whenever you open a case and something is wrong on the management layer. Unfortunatley in some of our installations livestop is rather common because we heavily use the Powershell to gather information about the DataCore environment to use them in ICINGA/Nagios. Although Datacore offers tons of perf counters but the ones we need aren't native available so we have to calculate them by getting data with powershell and combine them to get what we want.

The powershell implementation seems to have some kind of memory bug because after a while (and this can be only a few days), the management services denies access via powershell. I already wrote about this problem here.

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What's new in SANsymphony-V 10 PSP3/4

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With PSP3 released mid August 2015 and PSP4 probably coming within this week DataCore added once more some new features. The two PSPs foolow quite short after each other. The reason for this is that PSP3 adds some minor features but critical bugfixes and PSP4 adds bigger features but depended on certification from VMware so it was a planned short period of time between PSP3 and PSP4. Normally both PSPs would have been merged together.

As PSP3 is quite "old" and there are several articles around the features and bugfixes I will mainly focus on PSP4. Regarding the new features, there are currently 4 major announcements:

 

  1. Support for VMware vVols
  2. New support relay for uploading support bundles to DataCore
  3. Isolation of "bad performing" disks
  4. Frontend port overload monitoring

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SSY-V: A time out has occurred while recording performance data

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Two of my customers complained about an error after recent DataCore SSY-V updates that fill up their event logs in the DCS GUI.

The error is:

WARNING: A time out has occurred while recording performance data. This could be a result of insufficient processing resources on the selected recording server. Reduce the amount of counters configured in the recording session or select a recording server with sufficient processing resources

I checked all settings but no performance recording was active. To be more specific, not even a recording server was configured. In one environment I'm pretty sure there was never such a recording configured.

Concerned about unneeded I/O on the DCS or any buffer overflow I talked to DataCore support and they told me that this is a known issue with recent SSY-V versions and that this problem is probably coming from formerly configured recordings that are not properly imported in the new config. These error messages are annoying but not harmful at all so you can simply ignore them until the problem is fixed within a new PSP. By the way, even with PSP4 update 1 the problem still exists.

Hope PSP5 that is planned to be available within the next few days the problem is solved.

Datacore vDisk design

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With server virtualization becoming more and more mainstream and new hypervisor versions supporting several TBs of maximum LUN size, one could think that vdisk design is getting more and more unimportant. This should be especially true with SDS like DataCore's SANsymphony-V as these software products pool all available physical disks into a central pool from which all vdisks are created. At a high level a pool is only a simple RAID0 across all available disks so all data will be distributed evenly across all these disks. So why not simply create a single huge vdisk and put the maintenance effort on a real low level? Beside the fact that this woul put all your data at risk if you have a problem with this single vdisk there are some more facts to consider.

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DataCore iSCSI best practice guide

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It's been a while since my last blog entry on this page. Don't worry, I'm still alive and will keep this blog updated but other things were more important the first weeks of the year so I disregarded my blogging a bit.

Back on track I will give you a short information about a "new" best practice guide from DataCore. For a long time DataCore was a bit close-lipped regarding iSCSI configuration recommendations. Obviously they focused on FC installations and handled iSCSI as a "should work right out of the box" setup. I remember opening a case and asking support about jumbo frames a two or three years ago. This case is still open.....

But in the meantime DataCore did their homework and created a perfect guide for iSCSI implementations. The main sentence still is "everything should work out of the box" but the details followed by this main sentence are quite detailed. They talk about jumbo frames, receive side scaling, latencies etc. in this 10 page document and it's worth reading it for all DCIE who are about to install iSCSI based SSY-V solutions.

For all other guys like admins this guide is also a must-read and gives you some valuable background information on iSCSI protocol.

You can get the guide at https://datacore.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1626 (you will need a support login to view or download this guide).

SSY-V: unable to connect to the GUI

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After upgrading one of our customer's DataCore SSY-V installation from Windows Server 2012 to 2012 R2 running SSY-V 10 PSP1 we encounter strange GUI logon problems every now and than. The storage virtualization stack keeps running so access to the disks and mirroring is still functional but management is impossible.

A few weeks ago, 5 days after the OS upgrade our ICINGA monitoring systems send error messages that several checks we use to monitor the DataCore environment failed. The simple error message from the checks was "waiting for a controller to become available". We use ICINGA in combination with DataCore's Powershell commands to get performance stats and several other information. An agent on the DCS starts these Powershell scripts, logs on to one of the DCS and sends the output back to the ICINGA node. Quite simple but very useful.

We then tried to connect from a central management system to the DataCore environment to see if there is really a problem. The SSY-V GUI started but was unable to connect. The connection timed out. We tried several times but without success.

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SSY-V: speed up disk removal from pool

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Sooner or later there will be the requirement to remove a physical disk from a DCS disk pool. The default way to remove such a disk is to idetify the disk (this is probably the most challanging moment in the whole process), right click on the disk and select "Remove from disk pool"

 

remove pooldisk01

 

DC then automatically starts to move used SAUs to other disks in the pool. During this removal process, the disk will stay in the pool and looks like any other disk but if you look at the details of the disk you will see:

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DataCore SANsymphony-V 10 PSP2 released

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Yesterday DataCore released PSP2 for SSY-V 10 bringing (on the paper) some new cool features. These are:

 

  • OpenStack Integration in Cinder
  • Deduplication/Compression
  • Veeam Integration
  • Advanced Monitoring
  • Advanced iSCSI stack
  • Improvement of flash usage
  • some general improvements

 

From all these new features, deduplication and the Veeam integration were on my wish list for a long time. On last Monday there was the partner webinar where the new features got explaind a bit more in detail to the partner community. As expected, deduplication and the Veeam integration were the most interesting features headed by deduplication by far :-)

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