HP 3PAR StoreServ7200 - Part I

In December 2012 HP introduced the new midsize model of their 3PAR storage family: the StoreServ7200. The 3PAR systems are not new on the market but costs and complexity kept of most of the customer from using them in their environment.
With the mid-size targeted StoreServ7200 HP now offers the 3PAR technology to SMB customers, giving them an option to the EVA storage family.
The EVA family is quite easy to use and offers good performance to an acceptable price so the 3PAR has to catch up in these areas to make the StoreServ7200 a real alternative to the EVA systems.

This article will have several parts, starting with this first part about installing, configuring and licensing. The second part will be all about management and finally the third part will be probably about performance tuning and everything else.
 
Let's start and first go back some weeks in time. Mid of November last year there was a partner information day (HP StorageDays) where the new StoreServ7000 family was introduced under NDA.
HP told something about the new features, why there has to be a change in the way storage systems work etc. etc. Most of it was marketing stuff but the new 3PAR has awaken interest to me.
 
A few weeks ago my company had the chance to get one of these new 3PAR mid-sized systems for demo purpose and to get familiar with the new technology. Two weeks ago, the StoreServ7200 along with a X3000 NAS gateway arrived....
Let the games begin....

My first look on this storage system was quite disillusioning.... two standard server boxes and that's all. Opening the first box I saw a 4U disk drive cage populated with 12 (24 disks max) 2TB MDL SAS disks, two power cords and two SAS cables.
The second box contained the controller enclosure, 2U, 12 (up to 24 disks max) 2,5" 300GB SAS drives and the two controller nodes.
The controller enclosure looks like a standard P2000 SFF system in front view. Looking at the back side, there are the two controller nodes both euqipped with two 8GBit FC ports, SAS uplinks for drive expansion cages and a single slot for additional I/O cards (iSCSI).
Most obvious difference to the know HP storage products is the yellow colored cover. The color yellow was adopted from 3PAR and will be used for all new HP storage products.

Installing both enclosures in a standard 19" rack is dirt simple, the mounting kits are easy to use and should be installed in the rack within a few minutes.
Power supplies are redundant for each enclosure, the controller only supports two power supplies, the drive cage supports up to four with two populated by default. Each PS has a On/Off switch so you can safely attach power without an unwanted bootup of your disks.
Cabling FC is also simple, just attach the first port of each controller node to fabric1 and the second ports to fabric2. After powering-on you will see that only two of the FC ports will get link. This is okay, we will talk about this a bit later.
Cabling the expansion drive cage to the controller node is very well documented by the cabling guide you can get from the HP support site. Don't wonder about the huge size, in this guide there is every single possible combination shown for both, the 7200 (two controller nodes) and the bog brother 7400 (up to four controller nodes).
Last but not least, you have to connect the two management LAN interfaces to your management network.

So for the hardware installation, this is all you need. Time to power up the system.....

HP tried to simplify the installation process for the StoreServ7000 so there are now only a few steps you need to take before you can start using your new storage. BTW, you still can't buy the StoreServ7000 without HP's installation service so you can also let HP do the work for you and just sit back and relax. But for all of you that want to know how to setup a StoreServ7000 system manually, here is what to do:

1.) Setup the Service Processor

The Servcie Processor is a management system that you need to base configure your 3PAR system. It will also be used for log collection, remote support and problem identification.
You can order the 3PAR with either a physical Service Processor (a 1U HP server with preinstalled software) or you can use a VSP (Virtual Service Processor). The VSP is a preconfigured VMware Virtual Machine in OVF format that you can simply upload to your vSphere environment and start it up.
In our case we will use a VSP but the procedure for a pSP is quite the same.
For the VSP the first thing you need is the OVF image. This image is on one of the 8 DVDs you get with the controller enclosure. Get it, upload it and that's nearly all. Just keep in mind that you need a DHCP server in this subnet and you have to use the same subnet as the controller nodes are attached to.
This is important, VSP/pSP and controller nodes have to be on the same subnet, at least for the installation. Why? First, you can't change IP settings for the VSP because you can't logon to the VM. It is set to DHCP by default so this is the only way to get network access.
Second, you won't give the controller nodes IP addresses. To let the VSP find the controller nodes for basic configuration the VSP uses broadcast and that's why the nodes and the VSP have to be on the same subnet.
Grap the DHCP address assigned to the VSP from the vSphere client.

2.) Get a Windows Server 2008R2 system up and running

You will need this system to use the SmartStart program that comes with the 3PAR and guides you through the initial setup.

3.) Use the SmartStart DVD

Start SmartStart DVD on the Windows system mentioned in step 2.

3par installation 1

Click on "Set up the Service Processor".

3par installation 2

Insert the temporary IP address your VSP got from the DHCP server.

Enter all required information like permanent IP information (the VSP still has to be on the same subnet as the storage nodes will be) you want to use for the VSP, NTP server and enter passwords for the setup and the SPOCC (this is the administrative web GUI of the VSP) and finish installation.

Your VSP will be rebooted and comes up with the new network setting.

4.) Set up the storage system

Setting up the storage system is also quite easy. You have to start the wizard and enter the IP address of your VSP. As the connection is established, a browser window opens and shows you another setup wizard.

3par installation 3

Click Next to proceed

 

3par installation 4

Enter the 7-digit serial number of your storage system. You can get the number from a sticker right beside the power supply of the controller enclosure.

Click Next.

Now the VSP tries to discover the storage nodes by broadcasts. That's why you need to have VSP and storage nodes physically on the same subnet. If the discovery fails, check if you are on the same switch, the same VLAN etc.

If your system is found, the next step is to specify the name of your SP. By default, your VSP is called SP00000 and that's what you have to enter here.

Click Next.

Enter IP address information for the storage nodes (you will only have to specify a single IP address although you have two management interfaces. There will be only one management port active at the same time and if this port fails, the IP information will be transferred to the second management port). Specify NTP server or use the information provided by the VSP.

Assign passwords as requested for the user 3paradm and click Next.

The wizard will now configure your storage nodes.

5.) Install the management console

Skip step 3,4 and 5 in the SmartStart GUI as we can do these steps in a more convenient way with the management console.

3par installation 5

Click on "6 Install the Management Console" and in the right pane on "Install the HP 3PAR Management Console".

An installer wizard opens and guides you through the installation of the Java based management console.

After installation succeeded, you can start the console.

6.) Starting the Management Console

Click on the shortcut icon on your desktop.

3par installation 6

Enter required information

3par installation 7

Use the 3paradm account and password you provided during step 4.

The logon will take some time (thanks to Java :-) ) but finally.....

3par installation 8

... you are logged on to your 3PAR system ready to be used.

 

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