EMC World 2008 Day 2

Published On: 2008-05-21By:

Yesterday was an very busy day.  I didn’t have time to think, much less put together a post about it.  I hit every session which I was looking for including the always hard to get into Navisphere Manager Hands-on workshop.

The session I probably got the most out of was the session on what’s new in the FLARE version 26 which was released a few months ago.

FLARE 26 now supports Active/Active presentation of the LUNs.  What this means is that in the event of a fibre cut on either the front end or the back end the host machine (Server) will no longer need to trespass the LUN to the other SP.  The LUN can simply send the IO request to the other SP.  The non-preferred SP will then forward the request to the preferred SP automatically for completion.  Upon the preferred SPs connectivity coming back online the requests will then be sent to the preferred SP.  The newest version of PowerPath is required for this to work, or the native multipathing driver such as the Windows 2008 driver must support ALVA.

The support for supporting a broken connection between the host and the storage is from ALVA.  The support for handling the request when the connection is broken between the SP and the DAE is an EMC only extension of ALVA.

FLARE 26 also includes RAID 6 support.  When comparing RAID 6 with RAID 5 on the same system read performance will typically be better as the data is spread across all the drives in the RAID 6 array.  Unlike a lot of other systems the EMC CLARiiON array spreads the parity sectors of (RAID 5 and) RAID 6 across all the drives in the RAID Group.  So because there is an extra drive in the array a 4+2 RAID 6 RAID Group will give better read performance that a 4+1 RAID 5 RAID Group.  When doing a full strip write the write speed between a RAID 5 and RAID 6 array will be basically the same.  When doing smaller writes a RAID 5 array will have a faster write time than a RAID 6 array because RAID 6 has the extra parity to account for.  The rebuild times for rebuilding after a failed drive will be about the same between a RAID 5 and RAID 6 array which have suffered a single drive failure.  If the RAID 6 array has to recover from a dual drive failure it will take longer to recover than the single drive failure as the data must be recalculated from the two parity bits rather than from a single parity bit.  However the odds of a dual disk failure are slim. 

Just like with RAID 5 within the CLARiiON the RAID 6 supports the proactive hot spare.  This is where when the system sees that a drive is going to fail it will automatically copy the data from the failing disk to a hot spare and mark the disk as bad.  As the data does not have to be rebuilt this is a very quick operation.

FLARE 26 now supports a Security Administrator role.  Members of this role have no access to the storage settings it self.  They can only create accounts within the Array.

A very important change is that the SPs can now be setup to sync thier system time to a networked NTP time server.  This will force the time on the SPs to be the same.  Until now the times could end up getting a little off which could make tracking down event information very hard to do as the log entries would have different times on each SPs log file.

FLARE 26 now supports replication over the built-in iSCSI ports on the new CX3 line of systems.  This is a great change as before you had to use the iSCSI ports on a FC-IP switch to do this replication.  This includes SAN Copy, MirrorView, etc.

MirrorView /S should only be used for connections within ~100 miles as beyond that you start to get to much latency between the arrays.

Starting later this year (Q3 or so) there will be an extension to MirrorView /S called MirrorView /SE (Cluster Enabler) for Microsoft Cluster Service.  This will give you the ability to use CLARiiON to setup a geographically disbursed cluster.  In other words you can have servers in two different cities setup in a Windows Cluster.

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EMC World 2008 Day 1 (Last post of the day)

Published On: 2008-05-20By:

I find myself with a little extra time between my last session of the day, which was a SQL 2008 Session, and the Grant Opening Reception, so I figured that a blog post was in order.

 The SQL 2008 session was a what’s coming in SQL 2008. Most of the information was stuff that I already knew and have covered here in some form or another: FILESTREAM, new data types, etc.  There was a new piece feature which was presented.  The new feature it called the Remote Blob Storage Architecture.  It’s not actually part of the SQL Server but the SQL Native Client (the SQL 2008 SQL Server driver).  the RBSA is an API which lets the application write the file directly to the file system within the context of a SQL Server transaction.  This way if the transaction is rolled back the file is deleted automatically as part of the client transaction rollback.

 This is the first that I have heard of it, so I’ll have to find out more about and post about it.  The only thing that Google can find is an MSDN forum thread from March 2008.  There was some very ruff VB.NET code presented as an example.  I’ll try and get my hands on that, clean it up a bit and see what I can figure out.  As soon as I do I’ll get it posted.

If anyone has any additional information about the RBSA please feel free to post it.  I’m sure that I’m not the only one who would like to see more information about it.

I’ve got 5 or 6 sessions tomorrow, but they are more focused on VMware and the EMC CLARiiON product line.  So be sure to check out tomorrow if you are interested in those.


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EMC World 2008 Day 1 (Keynotes)

Published On: 2008-05-19By:

Here are some of the key points from the keynotes from EMC world.

Gartner says that by 2011 there will be 1337 Exabytes.

 179 Exabytes of information has been created so far this year.

In the next two years we will see a trend moving further away from using Tape for backup and recovery.  It will still be used for long term archiving, but day to day restores will come from disk.

During the raw data into useful information is becoming more and more of a challenge for IT departments and business units. 

What I’m gathering from the keynotes is that the amount of data is exploding.  I see this as a great thing for us DBAs as, the bulk of data that companies have is going to be stored within the database.  I know that the company which I work for (Awareness Technologies) creates about 110 Gigs of information per day.  Now with our products policy we keep this data for 14 days (unless the customer pays us to keep the data longer).  This means that we have about 1.5 Terabytes of information within our data center that our customers are looking at on a daily basis.  This much data, with such a high data change rate is just a crazy amount of data change.

Sites with high data change rates have specific challenges some of which I will be talking about (specifically how they relate to Microsoft SQL Server) on 6/11/2008 at 12:00 PM PST when I present a geekspeak session “geekSpeak: Spatial Data in SQL Server 2008 with Denny Cherry”.  I’ll post the link to this webcast when I get it.

Since my laptop battery is dieing I’ll have to wrap this up for now.  Check back later for more.


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EMC World 2008 Day 1 (The first post)

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While waiting for the first keynote to start I figured that this would be as good a time as any to write a quick post.

 I just got out of the first session of the morning.  I decided to catch the VMware VI3 session which went over the new features of ESX 3.5.

 It was a very good session packed with great info about the new features of VMware ESX 3.5 which came out a few months ago.

3.5 introduces the Storage Vmotion.  It’s similar to the regular Vmotion which moves VMs from one host to another, but it’s designed to move a VMs storage from one disk (LUN, array, etc) to another disk within the same host without taking the VM down.  In prior versions of VMware to move a VM from on disk to another you would need to power the machine down and then move the machine.  It can now be done as a live operation.  It does temporally double the memory and CPU requirements of the guest OS, and it is a CPU and disk intensive operation and should be done off hours, but it’s a great way to move from a full disk to an empty one.

 Another great technology which I was introduced to is the VDM or Virtual Desktop Manager.  As I understand this technology it allows you to take a single Windows XP guest OS, and allow many people to connect to it.  The VDM places a connect pool in front of the Windows XP guest OS and as people connect to it, it takes a snap of the guest OS, and lets the new user use the snap.  This allows many people to use a single Virtual Machine without increasing the amount of disk space required, and reducing the IO requirement of your Windows XP (or Vista) guests on the host.

As the Keynotes proceed I’ll try and go over what they are talking about.


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