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Dell’s Storage Forum – 2012 Paris edition – Review

November 18, 2012 Leave a comment

During last week (13 – 16 November 2012), Dell hosted their second European Dell Storage Forum , in Paris and some exciting products have been announced.

The common message send during the even is Dell’s vision of Fluid Data , where the goal is make systems to work better better by leveraging the knowledge within the different Dell’s departments/divisions.

Darren Thomas VP and GM for Dell Storage presented on talking about Dell’s journey, key business values, goals and new product announcements.

Dell Compellent

For the Dell Compellent product range the Storage Center 6.3 was announced (planned availability for beta in early 2013 and general availability in Q2 2013) . This new release promises a 100% performance boost !! ( Dell testing performed on dual SC8000 controllers running OLTP workloads using IOmeter with a 100% random 70/30 read/write mix and 4K sector transfer sizes. Testing using pre-release Storage Center code version 6.3.1.161 versus 6.1.2 code) ,  by having just a software update !! How cool , is to be able to download a piece of software and have such massive performance upgrade !? Also notorious is the fact that the Compellent would be the first array with 16Gb FC end to end support.

Bob Fine (Compellent´s Director) said during the press and bloggers session that the updates would be available for free to customers with existing support, without any need for  downtime or rip and replace. This is a very exciting news for all Compellent’s customers out there!

No doubts that the the upgrade to a 64bit version of the Storage Center done earlier this year during the Storage Forum in London,  was the first step to enable such software improvements as we are knowing now.

Dell MD series & Data Protection

Dell’s MD series has now the version 3 of the firmware , and this version introduces iSCSI based async replication, thin provisioning, VMware VAAI support and SSD based caching. From a service continuity perspective data protection enhancements include dynamic disk pools that simplify disk management and improve rebuild performance by distributing data across all drives, decreasing significant recovery time of drive failures.

Having in mind that the MD series products are designed to maintain up to 99.999 percent availability, good pricing model, good perfomance and a very good set of features, this type of product starts to be very attractive to be deployed as a first SAN solution for many customers out there.

Dell Equallogic

The Equallogic line didn’t had any announcement, however for those who have been paying attention some interesting information has been released. The overall direction is to abstract the software that composes the Equallogic OS from it’s hardware, and this opens the way for running Equallogic as a virtual storage appliance . By doing this , one can only imagine a future where we could leverage the same tools and architecture to run the “typical” Equallogic hardware array at the HQ and have a server with local disks attached running Equallogic as a VSA on a branch office. This is purely my take based on the information mentioned during the event, so please don’t take for granted this possible scenarios.

Dell Backup products

Within the  data protection layer , Dell added new products for their portfolio including an AppAssure based appliance (Dell PowerVault DL4000), a Quest based solution (Quest NetVault Backup 9.0) and a CommVault based solution (Dell Powervault DL2300).

I must confess that at this moment it’s somehow unclear to me what’s the strategy of Dell on the backup area due to the fact that they have too many products. I look forward for the coming months to see how products will evolve and perhaps be consolidated .

My view 

There’s no doubt that the concepts of Fluid Data and Working Better Together are working out and have a tremendous potential to go much beyond the current reach , however the challenge will be how to combine the power of all the acquisitions done so far, in a timely way and keeping the dedicated balance of time to market vs product quality .

Dell has indeed an extensive set of IP within the organization and this allows Dell to be in a very interesting position within the market to become a true leader in the area.

It’s definitely a very interesting time to be involved within the IT Storage Industry , and I’m truly excited to see what the future holds in terms of strategy execution of Dell.

If you haven’t been present on a Dell Storage Forum I highly recommend you to do so, since you can have access to a wide range of hands-on-labs , as well as the possibility to brainstorm with several Dell exec’s and IT professionals.

The next Dell Storage Forum will be :

As such, see you soon or wir sehen uns bald !

For more information about the Dell Storage Forum 2012 Paris please check the official website .

Dell Storage Forum 2012 Paris –

November 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Only few days for the start of  second EMEA Dell Storage Forum 2012, in Paris. I’m sure that this will be a very interesting event with several opportunities to attend to hands-on sessions, panel discussions, brainstorm sessions , etc..

One of the best parts of this type of event is the fact that Dell takes it quite seriously , yet quite informal,  way since top executives , engineers are available to discuss ideas one on one . Nothing beats a vendor that actually listens first to the customer and moves into to the sales pitch after…

The second best part of this gathering is the outstanding amount of social media / networking / place your favorite expression here , events.

Here’s a glimpse into the planned events :

  • November 14th , Wednesday, Fluid Forward Think Tank.  Simon Robinson, Research Vice President of 451 Research will be moderating this forum . As usual this is way to discuss the trends , challenges, real-life expericences related to storage . If you can’t be in Paris, this event will have a  live-streaming!  . Twitter stream available with #FluidForward
  • November 14th , Wednesday night ,#StorageBeers! Starting at 9:00pm, right after the Welcome Celebration, at Havane Café. Feel free to drop by to get in touch with some old friends and take the opportunity to make new ones !
  • During the event head down to the Fluid Lounge. Get some extra energy for your smartphone/tablet/laptop/ yourself !, and get in touch with some real nice folks like Barry CoombsFabio RapposelliAndrew Mauro,  Didier Van Hoye , Rasmus Haslund  , Charles GillandersAndreas Erson , Tom Heskestad and  sure… myself as well  – Bruno Sousa.

Take some  time and make sure follow , @DellSF!  The hashtag for the event is #DellSF – so keep  it to your tweets, posts, images, etc . To keep up with the conversation  just take a look @ Tweetchat .

Keep an eye for  Liem Nguyen from CommVault  and also for the fine connoisseur  of fine beers, Hans de Leenheer

Last but not least…in case of any information needed just ask to  Michele Richard  or Alison Krause and check out the Dell Forum webpage  .

 

Au revoir!

Categories: Dell, IT Events Tags: , , , ,

#storagebeers – Paris 2012

November 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Dell Storage Forum 2012 Paris is right around the corner and with that an opportunity for #storagebeers came along.

The purpose of this gathering is to get in touch with fine folks and ladies , and start , to discuss IT Storage related issues. As the time goes and people get more acquainted with each other the number of subjects discussed are mind blowing.

Feel free to drop by and you will find a friendly , informal and , quite, informative event.

And without further chit·chat make sure you book your agenda for November, 14th 21H Havane Café ,Boulevard Auguste Blanqui, 75013 Paris.

Be there or be square ! :)  #storagebeers#dellSF #dsf

And now – An intro to Dell Storage Forum ,London, UK

January 8, 2012 Leave a comment

The year of 2012 starts in high gear mode, and iam truly very pleased to announce that i have been invited to attend the Dell Storage Forum in London between January 9-12 .

I have been monitoring very closely the path of Dell of moving from an IT hardware manufacturer into a company that provides IT services , and given the progress made in the enterprise storage, this event will allow me to learn even more about Dell’s products and strategy .

As usual Dell has this event very well covered within the Social Media , and for that i give my hat to Gina Minks and Alison Krause. To get all the information related to this event from a social media point of view check out this great blog post by Gina, and follow the hashtag #DellSF12 .

The event will be packed of leading IT folks , like :

Dell

Bloggers

I will provide more information during/after the event, so feel free to re-visit this blog any time soon 🙂

Disclaimer:

This is an event sponsored by Dell ,and therefore all  my travel and living expenses to attend the Storage Forum are covered by Dell. However, my independency as an IT profissional/blogger is guaranteed. I will attend the Storage Forum due to the fact that within my professional area Dell plays a vital role and knowledge is power

VMware 4.1 – Dell OpenManage Offline Bundle and VIB for ESXi installation script

September 27, 2011 1 comment

Dear reader,

If you ever wondered how to install Dell Openmanage agents in a VMware host only by executing a simple script, fear no more..It’s possible, it’s quite simple and i will show you how 😉

I recently had to install 7 physical hosts [Dell R515] with VMware ESXi 4.1 Update 1 and for that i come up with a very small and easy script to install Dell Openmanage agents.

For this task i just had to download the Dell OpenManage Offline Bundle and VIB for ESXi , create a local directory [c:\vmware] and run my script.

Please be aware that you need to have installed the VMware Vsphere CLI [ i used version 4.1] and in my case i installed in a 64Bits machine.

The script does the following :

  1. set’s the physical host in maintenance mode
  2. installs the Dell OpenManage Offline Bundle VIB
  3. brings the physical host out from the maintenance mode

To make life easier i have zipped the Dell OpenManage Offline Bundle VIB together with the script and you download it here Dell OpenManage Offline Bundle and VIB for ESXi . Please make sure you rename the file from .doc to .zip [wordpress doesn’t allow to upload zip files] and extract it to c:\vmware and not c:\vmware\vmware .

At the end you should be able to see the hardware status within the vSphere client .

Script contents  # START #

#Set the physical host in Maintenance Mode

cd “C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware vSphere CLI\bin\”
vicfg-hostops.pl –operation enter –server=your_vmware_host_ip –username=root –password=yourpassword

## Install OpenManage Agent – Dell OpenManage Offline Bundle and VIB for ESXi

cd c:\vmware

vihostupdate.pl –install –bundle C:\VMware\OM-SrvAdmin-Dell-Web-6.4.0-1266.VIB-ESX41i_A00.7.zip –server=your_vmware_host_ip  –username=root –password=yourpassword

#exit maintenance mode
cd “C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware vSphere CLI\bin\”

vicfg-hostops.pl –operation exit –server=your_vmware_host_ip –username=root –password=yourpassword

Script contents  # END #

Equallogic Firmware – v5.1.1-H1

August 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Recently Dell Equallogic has released their newest firwmare 5.1.1 and it seems like this new firmware got some problems .

Basically users that had hard-drives with reported soft-errors stopped having access to those drives , and a spare process kicked in leading to performance drop and with one less available hard-drive.

To avoid some confusion the newest firmware is the 5.1.1-H1 (R187334) and the oldest one was the 5.1.1(R185010) .

If you have an Equallogic can you take a look to your current firmware by selecting within the Members tab , the Equallogic Member and select the “Maintenance” tab . You should see something like this :

.

As a side note…If you have this new firmware , within the SANHQ you may see some new attributes… 🙂

Have fun, and make sure you plan a maintenance window for any change on your environment, and that also includes any Equallogic firmware upgrade .

 

 

Dell R515 – H200 raid controller driver for CentOS / RHEL

July 25, 2011 1 comment

I recently purchased a Dell R515 server (awesome server btw!) with a PERC H200 raid controller and due to software support issues i had to run RedHat / CentOS 5.2 .

Based on the Dell Operating System Support Matrix this raid controller is only supported with Redhat / CentOS 5.5 , and this was a a major issue .
After digging around (Google is really your friend !) i was able to fix the problem by creating a device driver to be loaded during the installation of RedHat / CentOS 5.2 , either x86 or x86-64 bits platforms.

In short i had to download the already compiled driver available at the Supermicro support site , remove the signature from the driver and boot the system using the dd as an argument for the installer.

The signature had to be removed otherwise it would only work with RedHat and not with CentOS . For the procedure of removing the signature i followed the excellent post available at the CentOS forum

I have tested the driver with RedHat / CentOS 5.2 x86 and x86-64 bit installers and it works like a charm.

If the driver is loaded you will see that the disk is detected by RedHat / CentOS

and dmesg will output something like

    

The working device drivers can be downloaded here for the x86 and for the x86-64 (please remove the .pdf extension of the files…this is due to file upload restrictions) .

Have fun  !

To make use of the driver follow this instructions :
Installing the driver on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux / CentOS system

Perform the following steps to install RHEL/CentOS (version 5)
using the Driver Update Disk (DDU):

1 Boot normally from the RHEL/CentOS installation media.
2 At the command prompt, type:
> linux dd
3 When the install prompts for a driver diskette, insert the driver update
disk (DUD) prepared earlier and press <Enter>.
4 Complete the installation as directed by the installation program.

– iDRAC –

When you use iDrac Enterprise it’s also possible to mount a driver image to a floppy disk, just like
it’s done for mounting an ISO file .

– Create a Driver Update Disk (DDU) —

Using a USB key:

Copy the driver image file(*.img or *.dd) into a USB key.

Using a USB floppy device :

1. Put a floppy disk into a USB floppy device, and plug the device into a USB slot of the system under test.
use “dmesg” to find out which device this USB floppy is enumerated to (for example, sdb, sdc, etc).

2. Then tranfer the driver image to the floppy:

Use > dd if=<image_file_name> of=/dev/sdx

Here the /dev/sdx is the device name found from dmesg in the above step.

3. Umount the USB floppy device before unplug it (preferred).

Using system floppy disk slot:

Insert a floppy disk into the system floppy disk slot, then at the prompt:

# dd if=<image_file_name> of=/dev/fd0

On most systems, the floppy drive is designated by the /dev/fd0 special file.
It is prefferred to execute the dd command before the floppy is mounted.

Module signature removal procedure :

I just fixed it. The signature should be removed from the kernel module:

— BEGIN
# download mpt2sas-02.00.00.00-1-rhel5.3.x86_64.dd from ftp.supermicro.com

# mount driver disk as loop device
mkdir /mnt/loop
mount -o loop mpt2sas-02.00.00.00-1-rhel5.3.x86_64.dd /mnt/loop

# extract modules.cgz
mkdir -p /tmp/dd/cpio
cd /tmp/dd
gzip -dc /mnt/loop/modules.cgz > modules.cpio
cd cpio
cpio -idumv < ../modules.cpio

# check if the module is signed
cd 2.6.18-128.el5/x86_64
readelf -S scsi_transport_sas.ko | grep module_sig

# remove signature from module
objcopy -R .module_sig scsi_transport_sas.ko

# check if signature was removed
readelf -S scsi_transport_sas.ko | grep module_sig

# rebuild modules.cgz
cd /tmp/dd/cpio
find . | cpio -ovBc > ../modules
cd ..
gzip -9 -S .cgz modules
cp -f modules.cgz /mnt/loop

# unmount driver disk
umount /mnt/loop
–END