Tag Archives: SAN

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.


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


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


Review the details on the summary page and click Finish.


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


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.


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.

Nimble Storage Setup Guide

Nimble Storage is built on the unique Cache Accelerated Sequential Layout (CASL) Architecture; a CPU-driven storage architecture capable of optimising performance and increasing usable capacity through dynamic caching, sequential data layout and inline compression. Nimble devices are renown for the simplicity of their setup and administration, in this post we’ll put that to the test and walk through the installation of a Nimble CS700 array.

Nimble arrays come configured with triple parity RAID as standard, which offers greater protection of data in the event of a drive failure, without impacting performance or overall capacity of the array. Furthermore should a drive fail then the rebuild process is significantly quicker since it only rebuilds the individual compressed blocks in use.


  • Cabinet vertical space of 3U or 4U for each array, depending on model. The new arrays are 4U each.
  • Cat 6 and Gigabit Ethernet switch ports x 2 for management connections.
  • Cables and ports for your chosen connectivity, note that for both protocols you should use the full resources available and spread across 2 switches, the number of ports available is dependent on your ordered configuration. For iSCSI at least 2 additional cat 6 cables and GbE or 10GbE (recommended), for FC at least 2 OM3 or better Fibre channel cables and ports.
  • At least 3 static IP addresses for FC setups or 5 for iSCSI.
  • Phillips screwdriver for installation.
  • A Windows based computer to run the initialisation and setup.
  • It’s worth checking the Nimble Storage Documentation site as there are lots of environment and product specific best practises guides available.

Nimble arrays are monitored remotely by Nimble Storage, you will need to have the following ports open:

  • SSH: 2222 hogan.nimblestorage.com – Secure Tunnel connection to Nimble Storage Support.
  • HTTPS: 443 nsdiag.nimblestorage.com – AutoSupport and heartbeat monitoring.
  • HTTPS: 443 update.nimblestorage.com – Software updates.
  • HTTPS: 443 nsstats.nimblestorage.com – InfoSight analysis.

Migrating Windows vCenter Server to VCSA 6.7

468 x 60


The following components are included:

  • Nimble 3u/4u array or 3u/4u expansion shelf.
  • Nimble front bezel, rail kit, and screws.
  • Nimble accessory kit containing Phillips screwdriver, KVM adapters, round-to-square hole rack adapters.
  • Expansion shelves include 1m and 3m SAS cables.
  • Power cables.


Separate the inner rails from the rail assemblies using the catch at the front end of the middle rail. Slide the inner rails into the retaining hooks on the side of the chassis and install the set screws to secure in place.


Install the rail assemblies by hooking each rail into the rack and sliding it down to lock into position. If the rack has round holes then use the square-hole adapter and secure into place inside the front and back posts of the rack with the screws included.


Slide the chassis into the rack, when you hear a click the chassis is locked into place. There are 2 built in screws in the front handles to secure the array.



Connect the cables for management and your chosen connectivity protocol, i.e. Fibre Channel or Ethernet, using all available ports where possible. For redundancy connect one member of each interface pair to the same switch and the second member to a second switch with the same port configuration.

If you do not have a standard network configuration to follow or are unsure about cabling the array see the Nimble network topology options. The most common networking topology is likely to be similar to the image below, however with 4 data ports used for each controller (also applicable to Fibre Channel, swapping out for FC switches, ports and HBAs).


Plug the power cables into both power supplies for the array and any expansion shelves, use separate Power Distribution Units (PDUs) for redundancy. Once power is connected the storage should come online automatically but failing that there is a power button located on the front of the array.

Before connecting any additional expansion shelves make sure the array and expansion shelves are all powered on. Connect SAS cables in the order below, repeating steps 3 and 4 for any additional expansion shelves. Wait at least 3 minutes between connecting each expansion shelf to ensure firmware updates are complete. You can daisy-chain up to 3 shelves per bus, Nimble recommend that all flash shelves are cabled direct to the header where possible.

  • Connect the SAS OUT (expansion) port of controller A on the array to the SAS IN port of expander A on the first expansion shelf.
  • Connect the SAS OUT (expansion) port of controller B on the array to the SAS IN port of expander B on the first expansion shelf.
  • Connect the SAS OUT (expansion) port of expander A on the first expansion shelf to the SAS IN port of expander A on the next expansion shelf.
  • Connect the SAS OUT (expansion) port of expander B on the first expansion shelf to the SAS IN port of expander B on the next expansion shelf.



There are two methods of applying a management IP to the new array; using the GUI from a Windows machine on the same subnet, or directly using the CLI. To use the GUI download the latest version of the Windows Toolkit from InfoSight, this includes Nimble Setup Manager. Note that if you are using a 32-bit version of Windows you will need to select a previous version that is 32-bit compatible.

Nimble Setup Manager scans the subnet for unconfigured Nimble arrays. Select the array to configure and click Next. Enter the array name, group name, network settings, and admin password, then click Next. (Groups are used to manage up to 4 arrays and pool storage. You can add the array as standalone by having it as the only array in its group). Accept the license agreement and click Finish.


Alternatively you can use the CLI by connecting directly to the console of the active controller using a keyboard and monitor. Log in with the default username and password admin admin and execute the setup command to launch the CLI based setup. Accept the license agreement and configure the network settings at the relevant prompts, then opt to continue the setup using the GUI.

Once the management network has been configured open a web browser to the IP address. Log in to the Nimble OS web client with the admin password configured, the setup wizard will auto start.


The configuration settings in the first two pages of the setup wizard differ slightly depending on whether you are using FC or iSCSI. If you’ve ever set up an array with either protocol before you’ll find this process very straight forward, I’ll make references to both protocols just incase.

The first thing we need to do is to configure subnets for the required networks. For FC arrays this is easy as you’ll just have to confirm the management subnet. Ensure management only is selected as the traffic type.

If you are using iSCSI then in addition to the management subnet you will also configure a data subnet, or subnets, in accordance with your iSCSI fabric design. It is recommended that the management and data networks are separate subnets.  Each subnet requires an iSCSI discovery IP address. IP Address Zones are used to divide data subnets into two, typically split by using odds and evens addresses; to avoid bottlenecks on interconnect links. You don’t need to worry about this unless you are implementing an advanced solution for a specific use case. Ensure data is selected as the traffic type. Once the subnet configuration is complete click Next.


On the interfaces page assign each interface to one of the subnets. Both controllers should be configured with a diagnostic IP address, whether you are using FC or iSCSI. Click Next.


On the domain menu configure the domain and DNS server settings, click Next.


Configure the time zone and NTP server settings and click Next. Enter the email and auto support settings and click Finish. The initial setup is now complete and the browser will return to the management web client.


Before going any further you should ensure the Nimble OS is up to date.

If you have cabled additional expansion shelves then these need to be activated. Browse to Manage, Arrays and click the array name. Notice that the expansion shelves are orange, click Activate Now.


If you’re using Fibre Channel you’re probably wondering why the ports are named fc1, fc2, fc5, and fc6. This is to future proof the array for the release of quad port FC HBA’s by leaving an upgrade path open (fc3, fc4, fc7, and fc8). Hosts will need to be zoned as normal for FC connectivity and then added as initiators or initiator groups before you can present volumes. See also: Configuring VVols with HPE Nimble Storage.


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.



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.


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.


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).


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.


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)


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.



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.


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#.


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.


Accept the license agreement and click Next.


Configure the admin and service passwords and click Next.


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


Configure DNS settings and click Next.


Configure NTP server settings and click Next.


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


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


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


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.


The configuration wizard is now complete, click Close.


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.


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.