Archive for the ‘ Storage ’ Category

EqualLogic Array Firmware Upgrades Are Non-Disruptive


Eager readers want to know if EqualLogic array firmware upgrades are non-disruptive, so we tested it in our mighty remote environment!

Bottom line:  The firmware update process halts I/Os during cut-over from one controller to the other.  This takes something like 27 seconds (26969 ms).  As most operating systems have a disk timeout value of 30 seconds or longer, no one really notices.


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Replacing a Motherboard in a NetApp FAS 3140 Storage System

I’m located in a fairly rural area, far away from our friendly local NetApp service engineer.  I recently had some hardware issues with a FAS 3140 storage system.  After opening a ticket on NetApp’s support site, and trying various things to get it working, NetApp suggested that we replace the motherboard.  They gave me the option of doing it myself.  I like doing things like this, so I said sure.  Read more for a discussion of how it went…

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NetApp Certified Data Management Administrator (NCDA) – Passed NS0-154 Data ONTAP 8.0 7-Mode Administrator Today

I passed the new style (single exam) NS0-154  NetApp Certified Data Management Administrator (NCDA) test today.  I had the good fortune to take some instructor led courses for this from Fastlane – Data ONTAP 8.0 7-Mode Administration (DOT87M) and Accelerated NCDA Boot Camp Data ONTAP 8.0 7-Mode (ANCDABC87).  They were good preparation.  The exam was 75 questions, 90 minutes.  I passed it with a 99% (missed one) and it took me maybe 20 minutes.


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Fastlane Accelerated NCDA Boot Camp Data ONTAP 8.0 7-Mode (ANCDABC87) in El Segundo, CA

I recently had the pleasure of attending an Accelerated NCDA Boot Camp Data ONTAP 8.0 7-Mode class in El Segundo, CA, April  March 04-08, 2011.  We purchased the training from Fastlane, one of NetApp’s authorized training partners.  The class was hosted by Microtek in El Segundo, CA.  If you get a chance to go to one of these, do it!  NetApp says:

netappPrepare for success when taking the NS0-154 NetApp® Certified Data Management 7-Mode Administrator Exam. Through lectures and labs, you will learn the essential features and functions of the Data ONTAP® 8.0 7-Mode operating system including network-attached storage administration and storage area networks configuration. This course, paired with the Data ONTAP 8.0 7-Mode Administration course, will enable you to become a certified NetApp data administrator.

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Data ONTAP 8 7-Mode: What is it? Why aren’t you running it?

netappI have used a lot of different storage systems from a lot of different vendors.  Typically I prefer fibre channel based storage area networks for their block I/O and high performance.  I never paid much attention to NetApp, since they traditionally did Network Attached Storage (NAS).    Recently I started working in a NetApp shop, and our filers do a little bit of everything, Fibre Channel Protocol (FCP), iSCSI, and NFS.  I’m getting to like my NetApp filers.  One feature I particularly like is that all NetApp filers, small or large, run one common operating system, Data ONTAP.  Unlike most vendors, the NetApp product line is *NOT* cobbled together from various incompatible acquisitions  (e.g.  Dell is not Clariion, is not EMC…)  Once you learn ONTAP, you can work on pretty much anything NetApp.  One of the large “hidden” costs of implementing a storage area network (SAN) are the people costs.  Specialized SAN equipment takes people with specialized training, and having one common operating system makes for considerable savings.  Read on for more on Data ONTAP…

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Fastlane Data ONTAP 8.0 7-Mode Administration (DOT87M) class in Columbia, MD

I recently had the pleasure of attending a NetApp Data ONTAP 8.0 7-Mode Administration class in Columbia Maryland, March 07-11, 2011.  We purchased the training from Fastlane, one of NetApp’s authorized training partners.  The class was hosted by System Source in Maryland.  If you get a chance to go to one of these, do it!  NetApp says:

netappLearn about Data ONTAP® 8.0, the next generation data storage operating system from NetApp® that combines the stability of Data ONTAP 7G with the cutting-edge scalable clustering of Data ONTAP GX. Explore basic administration of a storage system running Data ONTAP 8.0 7-mode, the successor of Data ONTAP 7G. By diving deeper into administrative techniques, you will acquire the knowledge to become a successful storage administrator.

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NetApp Data ONTAP Cookbook v3.1

A friendly NetApp person recently shared this document with me.  It basically is a cheat sheet for common ONTAP commands and best practices.  (Data ONTAP is NetApp’s operating system for their filers.)

One of the things I particularly liked was the chart named “Disk right-size and max disk per aggregate matrix” on page 8.  This is exactly what we have been struggling with on our new FAS3140’s.  It’s not clear to me (as a relative NetApp newbie) how many disks to properly build RAID groups and aggregates with.  NetApp says that optimal RAID group size uses the least amount of parity drives, has the most data disks, and doesn’t not harm performance by creating short RAID groups.  However, they usually don’t come right out and plainly tell you how many disks of what size should make up a RAID group and aggregate.  This chart makes it a snap.  (Click here or on the image below to go to the PDF…)

Data ONTAP 7G Cook Book v3_1_pg1

Run the iometer benchmark on Linux

I recently updated my quick HowTo for iometer, and added a section on running iometer on a Linux host.  It’s actually pretty easy to run iometer disk benchmarks on Linux hosts.

Iometer running on Linux

Iometer running on Linux

Will a cheap solid state disk make your old laptop faster? Yes.

I have an older HP Compaq tc4200 Tablet PC.  I like it.  If you’ve never used a tablet before, where you can opt to use a pen for input, you should try one.  It’s great for applications that are primarily mouse click driven, like browsing the Intertubes or doing practice exams.

I recently reloaded mine with Windows 7, which was ridiculously easy.  Windows 7 runs no slower on it, and perhaps a bit faster.  Windows 7 natively loads all required drivers, so you won’t spend hours looking for the NIC driver or whatever for this model.  I like Windows 7.

Still as an older machine, it’s a bit slow.  The hard drive seems to thrash.  People say that replacing the internal hard drive with an inexpensive solid state drive (SSD) helps.  Will it make any real difference?  Yes.  I did it, and I’m glad I did.

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Beginner’s guide to iometer – real world disk benchmark

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and benchmarks statistics.” I often get asked about disk performance.  I often use iometer — a well known disk benchmark.  I usually use it on Windows.  It’s pretty easy to set up, although it does have a lot of configuration options.  I wrote up a quick guide to using iometer.  Gentlemen, start your disk controllers.