Storage Cluster Controller on Linux

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FUJITSU's Storage Cluster needs a quorum system to avoid split-brain scenarios like any other cluster based setup. This function is provided by the Storage Cluster Controller (SCC) software, a part of the SF Agent. 

The SF Agent is already supported for a long period of time on Windows and Linux operating systems but the SCC was only supported on Windows OS. This required a dedicated VM or even worse, a physical hardware with a Windows Server operating system. The SCC is only a minimal agent that uses two plain text files for configuration and operation. So no obvious reason why only Windows is supported as OS.

With latest update to SF Agent (version 16.6 from Dec 2017), the SCC is now also supported on Linux operating systems. This can reduce implementation costs especially if you run the quorum on dedicated hardware as a Windows server OS is not required anymore. But keep in mind that SF Agent is only supported on RedHat Enterprise Linux 6 and 7 and Solaris 10/11.

Fujitsu StorageCluster Walkthrough Part 1

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Fujitsu's StorageCluster feature is a very interesting piece of technology. Not only because it offer synchronous mirroring with transparent failover in a native way without the need for additional software like DataCore's SANsymphony, IBMs SVC or FalconStors NSS but rather because it is very versatile. You can mirror between every ETERNUS DX system as long as it is generation S3 or higher and runs firmware V10L20 or higher. For example, you can mirror between a DX100 S4 on the first site and a DX600 S3 on the second site. This is possible because all ETERNUS DX systems share the same firmware and only the hardware it runs on is more ore less powerful. This is a real hardware invest protection. The second very interesting feature is the lack of capcity based licensing. Synchronous mirroring (Fujitsu calls it StorageCluster) is licensed on system level, so once you bought the license it doesn't matter how much storage you put into your system. This is a very important fact in times where capacity grows more and more.

Although the StorageCluster is a nice feature especially in the DACH or EMEA region (we love synchronous mirroring) there is pretty few information about it on the internet. If you ever think about implementing this feature you shouldn't rely on community posts, blog articles or even a documentation from Fujitsu themselfes. Don't ask me why but there is not even an official documentation for this feature on the web as far as I know. You can find some information about SC in some whitepapers and some presentations but a dedicated walkthrough paper you probably won't find. Perhaps the reason is because the product is not that popular and Fujitsu is definetly not that common as systems from HPE or Dell/EMC but I'm pretty sure that is is not because the products are bad. Absolutely not, FTS's storage products are very stable, perhaps not that feature rich, but absolutely reliable, easy to setup and maintain (most of them :-) ) and very flexible.

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Fujitsu StorageCluster Walkthrough part 2

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Welcome back to part 2 of my ETERNUS StorageCluster Walkthrough. Part 1 covered some basic topics. Part 2 will be a technical part where I wil show you how to implement the solution.
For better understanding I will do that in a kind of step-by-step guide but not in very great detail. SC isn't extremely easy and you should have a solid understanding of base technologies in the ETERNUS storage systems. So please don't try to implement SC as a complete newbie.

Let's start....

Step 1: software installation

The software installation is quite simple. If you already have ETERNUS storage systems you probably have SF Cruiser already installed. The installation itself is always the same no matter if you have Express, Basic or Standard Edition of SF Cruiser. Simply take a Windows Server host (2008R2 or higher, I would recommend using Server 2012 R2 or 2016), join it to an AD (or leave it standalone, it's only important for the accounts you can use to logon to the application), put in the installation media (you can get latest version from http://www.fujitsu.com/global/support/products/computing/storage/download/esf-mediapack-trial.html) and start the installation. Take care about the groups that must exist on the system for authentication reasons.
After setup is done, connect to SF Cruiser (https://name-of-your-sf-server:9855), login with administrative credentials (see group membership) and start adding your ETERNUS systems

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