Category Archives: EMC

EMC Unity Configuration Guide

Following on from the EMC Unity Setup Guide this post will walk through the configuration of an EMC Unity array with iSCSI connectivity using the management web interface. Before beginning, ensure your Unity device is up to date by following the EMC Unity Update Guide. The EMC Unity is also available as a Virtual Storage Appliance.

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Architecture

The EMC Unity hybrid and all flash storage range implements an integrated architecture for block, file, and VMware VVOLs powered by the Intel E5-2600 processors. The Disk Processor Enclosure (DPE) leverages dual storage processors and full 12-Gb SAS back-end connectivity to deliver high levels of performance and efficiency. Disk Array Enclosures (DAE) are added to scale out capacity up to 3 PB top end. There is concurrent support for native NAS, iSCSI, and Fibre Channel protocols whilst the unit itself takes up less rack space than it’s competitors. Unity arrays can be managed from the HTML5 web client, or through the CloudIQ service, and offer a full range of enterprise storage features. For more information see the Unity platform white paper.

Some considerations when creating storage pools; typically we want to configure less storage pools to reduce complexity and increase flexibility. However configuring multiple storage pools may be required if you want to separate workloads for different I/O profiles or use FAST Cache. When sizing a storage pool remember that all data written to LUNs, file systems, and datastores is stored in the pool, as well as configuration information, change tracking, and snapshots. Storage pools must maintain free capacity to operate, EMC recommend at least 10%.

You will need to make design decisions based on your environment around storage pool capacities and configured RAID protection. The Unity range offers RAID 1/0, RAID 5, or RAID 6 configured at storage pool level. EMC generally recommends smaller RAID widths as providing the best performance and availability, at the cost of slightly less useable capacity, e.g. for RAID 6 use 4+2 or 6+2 instead of 10+2 or 14+2. Unity automatically reserves 1 out of every 30 drives of the same type for use as a hot spare, you can reduce the number of hot spare drives by decreasing the number of individual drive types.

Unity arrays use the first 4 drives to store configuration information and critical system data, these are known as the system drives and run from DPE Disk 0 through to DPE Disk 3. The system drives cannot be used as hot spares but can be added to storage pools in smaller configurations, if no other disks are available. The usable capacity of system drives is reduced by around 100 GB, therefore storage pools utilising system drives should use a smaller RAID width. For larger configurations with high drive counts EMC does not recommend using the system drives as heavy client workload may slow down management operations. This restriction does not apply to all-flash.

Configuration Settings

Browse to the management IP address of the Unity array configured during installation. If you have not changed the admin password the default login is admin Password123#.

The welcome dashboard gives an overview of health and capacity. Note the icons in the top right hand corner. The first symbol shows the overall system state, if there are no issues this will be a green tick. The second icon lists active jobs and the third any active alarms. Next is the settings menu, logged in user menu, and help.

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Let’s start by opening the settings menu using the gear icon. The Software and Licenses page lists the licensed enabled features. To install a license click Install License and upload the .lic file provided by EMC. You can also view system limits, install language packs, software updates, and disk firmware.

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The Users and Groups page can be used to add local users or an LDAP identity source.

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Use the Management page to configure NTP servers and DNS. The host name and management address can also be changed here if required as well as optional services such as Unisphere Central (centralised management), remote logging, and encryption.

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The Storage Configuration page allows for configuration of FAST cache; FAST cache extends existing cache using enterprise flash drives to provide instant access to frequently used data. You can also view the spare disks in the system, but it’s best to come back to this after we’ve configured our storage pool.

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Configure auto-support on the Support Configuration page by entering the support credentials and contact details. Make sure you use the EMC support account where the support contract is associated.

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The Access page lists the iSCSI (Ethernet) and FC ports. Double click the port to view further details, all ports should be connected and green.

For Ethernet ports it is good practise to create link aggregation where more than one port is used for the same traffic, e.g. iSCSI data, or replication. Aggregating ports together pools the resources to create a highly available configuration, iSCSI or other services then use the port aggregation group to distribute I/O and provide redundancy. Select the first port for the group and click Link Aggregation, Create Link Aggregation. You can add or remove additional ports by selecting the port and clicking Link Aggregation, and Add to Link Aggregation or Remove from Link Aggregation.

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Configure email alerts, and SNMP traps if required, using the Alerts page.

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Next we’ll go through the menu options in the left hand navigation pane.

System

The System View page lists basic system information such as the model, serial number, and software version. If any hardware issues are detected they will be listed here.

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The Performance page shows IOPS and bandwidth , you can also create I/O limits.

The Service page shows a number of service related tasks and logs, as well as any technical advisories issued by EMC. Auto-support functionality should already be enabled as we configured it earlier using the Support Configuration page of the Settings menu. The support contract will auto-populate once refreshed providing the correct support settings have been entered.

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Access

The Hosts page allows for configuration of network hosts, such as Windows or Linux machines, for storage access. An individual host can be added, or a subnet or netgroup; to allow access to multiple hosts or network segments. The VMware page provides a single workflow for adding vCenter servers and ESXi host discovery. Virtual machine and VMDK information can also be imported.

For block storage resources you must register initiators using the Initiators tab. Initiators are servers initiating Fibre Channel or iSCSI sessions, and are identified by a unique World Wide Name (WWN) or iSCSI Qualified Name (IQN). The link between the initiator and the port on the storage system is called the initiator path; an initiator can be associated with multiple initiator paths. At this point for iSCSI paths to show up iSCSI interfaces must be configured on the Block page, see the Storage section above for further details. For FC paths the appropriate zoning on the FC switch must be complete for the initiator paths to be seen by the storage system.

Data Protection

The Data Protection section gives you two ways of protecting data on the array. The first is Snapshots; snapshots are used to create point in time copies of your data. There are 3 built in snapshot policies with different retention periods, or you can create your own by clicking the add symbol.

The second option is Replication, replication allows data to be copied to a different Unity array or Virtual Storage Appliance, on or off-site. To facilitate replication you must first create an interface by clicking the Interfaces tab and the add symbol. Chose an Ethernet interface, or link aggregation group, to use and configure the network settings. Next click the Connections tab and the add symbol. Enter the details of the remote Unity system to be a replication target and the connection mode; asynchronous replication, which takes an initial copy and then only updates with incremental (changed) data (recommended for most use cases) or synchronous replication, which takes full copies of the data at each replication interval. Finally configure replication on the storage resource you wish to replicate, as outlined under the Storage section below.

To configure replication see the Configuring EMC Unity Replication post.

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Storage

Before using any disks in the system they must be allocated to a storage pool. When creating storage pools take into consideration the notes in the Architecture section above. To create a storage pool click Pools and the add symbol. Assign disks to the storage pool and select a RAID configuration, a storage pool can be made up of 2 performance tiers (types of disks) with different RAID types.

The Unity array is able to provide both block level and file level storage. For block level resources click Block and iSCSI Interfaces. Use the add button to add iSCSI interfaces for use with block level storage, chose the interface(s), storage pool, and configure the networking settings. LUNs can be created and mapped to a host, subnet, or netgroup using the LUNs tab.

For file level resources click File and NAS Servers, click the add symbol to create a NAS server, chose the interface(s), storage pool, configure the networking settings, and select the sharing protocols to use. It is good practise to create at least one NAS server each on SPA and SPB, and distribute resources evenly. Once your NAS servers are ready you can create File Systems, and then SMB shares or NFS Shares using the appropriate tabs.

During the creating of storage objects such as LUNs or file systems, you have the option to configure snapshots and replication. These features can also be configured at a later date by selecting the storage object and clicking the edit icon. Snapshots can be configured using one of the built in policies or creating your own under the Data Protection section above. When creating replication sessions you need to specify a replication schedule and target.

The VMware page can be used to configure VVOLs, read more about this at Configuring VVOLs with EMC Unity.

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Events and Support

The Events page lists all alerts from information to critical, as well as a record of all jobs that have been initiated on the device. The Support page provides links to documentation, training, and support.

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Upgrading EMC Unity OE

The EMC Unity features an active/active controller configuration designed to allow for non-disruptive software updates. However, it is still best practise to mitigate the risk by performing software updates out of core business hours. In this post we will quickly run through an Operating Environment (OE) upgrade for a newly commissioned Unity 300 array; which was installed using the EMC Unity Setup Guide. Arrays shipped with v4.0.1.8404134 include a letter advising the administrator to upgrade the software due to an issue with this version of the OE. The latest OE can be downloaded from EMC Downloads, you will need an EMC account for access.

From the Unity dashboard select the settings gear and click Software Upgrades, the current version will be listed. Click Start Upgrade. To ensure the system is ready to be upgraded click Perform Health Checks, address any issues that arise from the health check, otherwise click Next.

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Browse to the gpg file downloaded earlier, once uploaded click Next.

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Confirm you are happy for the storage processors to individually reboot and click Next.

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Review the details on the summary page and click Finish.

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The software update will now commence, an ETA will be displayed in the top right hand corner.

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When the upgrade has completed click to Reload Unisphere, you will be returned to the dashboard. Click the settings gear again and Software Upgrades, verify that the installed version number is correct.

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The software update is now complete. You can also update disk firmware by selecting Disk Firmware from the settings menu and following the same steps outlined above.

EMC Unity Setup Guide

The EMC Unity product line is a flexible storage solution with a rich feature set and small datacentre footprint. EMC claim this product installs in 2 minutes, configures in 15 as one of its key features, in this post we’ll put that to the test and walk through the setup of an EMC Unity 300 array.

EMC also offer a software defined version of the Unity technology in the form of a virtual storage appliance, read more about it at Deploying EMC Unity VSA.

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Architecture

The EMC Unity hybrid and all flash storage range implements an integrated architecture for block, file, and VMware VVOLs powered by the Intel E5-2600 processors. The Disk Processor Enclosure (DPE) leverages dual storage processors and full 12-Gb SAS back-end connectivity to deliver high levels of performance and efficiency. Disk Array Enclosures (DAE) are added to scale out capacity up to 3 PB top end. There is concurrent support for native NAS, iSCSI, and Fibre Channel protocols whilst the unit itself takes up less rack space than it’s competitors. Unity arrays can be managed from the HTML5 web client, or through the CloudIQ service, and offer a full range of enterprise storage features. For more information see the Unity platform white paper.

Some considerations when creating storage pools; typically we want to configure less storage pools to reduce complexity and increase flexibility. However configuring multiple storage pools may be required if you want to separate workloads for different I/O profiles or use FAST Cache. When sizing a storage pool remember that all data written to LUNs, file systems, and datastores is stored in the pool, as well as configuration information, change tracking, and snapshots. Storage pools must maintain free capacity to operate, EMC recommend at least 10%.

You will need to make design decisions based on your environment around storage pool capacities and configured RAID protection. The Unity range offers RAID 1/0, RAID 5, or RAID 6 configured at storage pool level. EMC generally recommends smaller RAID widths as providing the best performance and availability, at the cost of slightly less usable capacity, e.g. for RAID 6 use 4+2 or 6+2 instead of 10+2 or 14+2. Unity automatically reserves 1 out of every 30 drives of the same type for use as a hot spare, you can reduce the number of hot spare drives by decreasing the number of individual drive types.

Unity arrays use the first 4 drives to store configuration information and critical system data, these are known as the system drives and run from DPE Disk 0 through to DPE Disk 3. The system drives cannot be used as hot spares but can be added to storage pools in smaller configurations, if no other disks are available. The usable capacity of system drives is reduced by around 100 GB, therefore storage pools utilising system drives should use a smaller RAID width. For larger configurations with high drive counts EMC does not recommend using the system drives as heavy client workload may slow down management operations. This restriction does not apply to all-flash.

Requirements

In addition to the boxed system components you will need:

  • Cabinet vertical space of 2U for the DPE, 2U for each optional 25-drive DAE, or 3U for each 15-drive DAE.
  • Cat 5 or better and Gigabit Ethernet switch ports x 2 for management connections.
  • Cables and ports for your chosen connectivity: 4 x Converged Network Adapter (CNA) ports which can be set at 10GbE, or 4, 8, or 16Gbps Fibre Channel. Once set they cannot be changed. 4 x 10GbE for file/iSCSI.
  • Slotted or Phillips screwdriver for installation.
  • A Windows based computer to run the initialisation and setup.
  • If you are unable to connect the Windows computer to the same subnet as the EMC Unity then you will need a USB drive to configure the array with a management IP address.

Unboxing

The Unity 300 base comes with the following:

  • Disk Processor Enclosure (DPE) 2U component.
  • Front bezel for DPE.
  • Rail kit consisting of 2 rails and 6 screws.
  • Accessory kit consisting of an anti-static wrist strap, cable ties, stickers, etc.
  • Power cords.

Any additional disk shelves contain:

  • Disk Array Enclosure (DAE) 2U component (each).
  • Front bezel for DAE.
  • 2 snap in rails, 3 screws per rail.
  • Power cords.
  • Mini-SAS HD cables (1 metre connect DAEs together, 2 metre connects to DPE).

Racking

EMC recommend installing the DPE at the bottom of the cabinet and installing any additional DAE’s above.

The rails clip into the rack using spring clips at the front and rear. Start with the rear and secure with 1 x M5 screw on each side once the rails are in place. The array then slides in and is secured with 2 x M5 screws per rail at the front. Do not tighten the screws until they are all in place. Once the  array is racked clip on the front bezel, a key is also enclosed.

If you require further assistance racking the devices see page 19 of the EMC Unity Installation Guide.

Cabling

First connect the 2 management ports to the switch, management ports have a white border around them, service ports yellow. Next plug in the cables for your chosen front end connectivity, i.e. Fibre Channel or Ethernet. Front end ports need to be connected and configured symmetrically across both storage processors to facilitate high availability. Furthermore you should use all front-end ports that are installed in the system, so that workload is spread across as many resources as possible.

When configuring switch ports for iSCSI and NAS configure Jumbo frames (MTU 9000) for optimum performance. NAS ports should also be configured with LACP grouped per storage processor, to provide path redundancy and performance improvements.

If you have purchased additional DAEs then these need to be connected using the included SAS cables. There are 2 on-board 12Gb SAS ports in each storage processor in the DPE. An additional 4-port 12 Gb SAS I/O module can be provisioned with the higher end Unity products but in general this is only required for extremely high bandwidth.

When cabling DAEs to the DPE, balance them as evenly as possible across all available buses. The drives in the DPE are serviced by SAS Bus 0; therefore, the first DAE should be cabled to SAS Bus 1. Daisy chain additional DAEs in a continuation of the following oder:

  • DAE 1 connects to SAS Bus 1 (on-board port 1)
  • DAE 2 connects to SAS Bus 0 (on-board port 0)
  • DAE 3 connects to SAS Bus 1 (on-board port 1)

cabling

If you are attaching a large number of DAE’s see page 33 of the EMC Unity Installation Guide for further cabling examples and a guide to the stickers included.

The power cables included with the array are colour coded with an intended use of: grey for Power Distribution Unit (PDU) A, black for PDU B. Once the array has power it will take approximately 10 – 15 minutes to power up.

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Setup

To access the web UI for setup we have a couple of options for automatic or manual IP addressing.

Automatic – if the array has access to network DHCP and DNS servers (with dynamic DNS enabled) then it will automatically be assigned an IP address. After power up if the SP Fault LED is solid blue then a management address has been assigned. This IP is dynamically added to DNS in the format of serialnumber.dnszone. If the SP Fault LED alternates between solid blue and flashing amber then a management address has not been assigned as the DHCP or DNS server could not be reached.

Manual – download and install the EMC Connection Utility. The Connection Utility gives you two options; automatically detect unconfigured storage systems in the same subnet as your Windows client, or manually configure an IP in a configuration file for use with a USB flash drive which the array automatically reads.

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Depending on how IP addressing has been assigned open a browser and enter the IP address manually configured, or the DNS entry (serialnumber.dnszone). Log in to Unisphere using the default credentials admin Password123#.

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The Initial Configuration Wizard launches the first time you login. This self explanatory wizard guides you through the basic setup of the array, any settings you skip here can be configured later through the appropriate menus.

For a more in depth look at the configuration settings and Unisphere interface see the EMC Unity Configuration Guide, otherwise continue with the configuration wizard as outlined below.

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Accept the license agreement and click Next.

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Configure the admin and service passwords and click Next.

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Install the license file provided by your EMC vendor and click Next.

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Configure DNS settings and click Next.

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Configure NTP server settings and click Next.

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Create the storage pools required for your environment, see the notes on storage pools above under the Architecture heading. Click Next.

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Configure the email alert settings for your system and click Next.

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If applicable configure the iSCSI interfaces for use with the Unity system and click Next.

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If you intend on creating File level storage resources on the Unity system then configure at least one NAS server for each storage processor. NAS Servers require a separate IP to be configured for network access.

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The configuration wizard is now complete, click Close.

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It is good practise to update the Unity Operating Environment (OE) upon install of the new system. Arrays shipped with v4.0.1.8404134 will include a letter advising the administrator upgrades the software due to an issue with this version of the OE. See Upgrading EMC Unity OE for further assistance.

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That’s it, the initial configuration is complete and is incredibly quick and easy providing all the pre-prep is done beforehand. You can now begin the process of adding hosts and presenting LUNs. Any configuration of additional features is done through the HTML5 Unisphere web client, for more information see the EMC Unity Configuration Guide. Once storage resources are created you can configure replication between Unity systems by following the Configuring EMC Unity Replication guide.

See also Configuring VVOLs with EMC Unity.