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    EMC Storage Overview

    Configuring EMC Storage

    The MetaFabric 1.0 solution features EMC VMX series storage controllers. The EMC VNX series implements a modular architecture that integrates hardware components for Block, File, and Object with concurrent support for native NAS, Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI), Fiber Channel, and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) protocols. The VNX series is based on Intel Xeon-based PCI Express 2.0 processors and delivers File (NAS) functionality via two to eight Data Movers and Block (iSCSI, FCoE, and FC) storage via dual storage processors using a full 6-Gb/s SAS disk drive topology.

    Configuring EMC storage for control station can be done by the vendor only. Once you configure management for EMC, it is accessed using the EMC Unisphere tool (via HTTPS).

    Configuring EMC FAST Cache

    The solution was tested with EMC Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST) Cache. A caching tier is a large capacity secondary cache using enterprise flash drives positioned between the storage processor’s DRAM-based primary cache and hard disk drives. This feature is called FAST Cache. At a system level, FAST Cache helps make the most efficient use of flash drive capacity. FAST Cache does this by using flash drives for the most frequently accessed data in the storage system instead of dedicating flash drives to a particular application. FAST Caches are also enabled on storage pools and allow you to leverage the lower response time and better IOPS of flash drives without dedicating flash drives to a specific application. Because of this implementation, flash drives need not be dedicated to specific applications. Instead, their performance is leveraged in the caching tier, improving performance for any application accessing the storage array. FAST Cache adjusts to a hot spot anywhere in the array so you no longer need to analyze specific application requirements. It provides better performance to all applications in the storage systems while using fewer dedicated flash drives. A set of flash drives is selected either automatically by the storage system or manually by the user. By default, after you have installed the FAST Cache enabler, FAST cache is enabled on new RAID group LUNs and storage pools. When a FAST cache has been created, the storage system automatically promotes frequently accessed chunks of data to the FAST cache to improve application performance.

    Configuring FAST Cache

    To create a FAST Cache, click the FAST Cache tab in the Storage System Properties window to view FAST Cache information (Figure 1). If the FAST Cache has not been created on the storage system, the Create button in the bottom of the dialog box is enabled. The Destroy button is enabled when the FAST Cache has been created. Fast Cache is enabled on EMC VNX5500 storage.

    Figure 1: EMC FAST Cache Configuration (Select System, then Properties in the Drop-Down)

    EMC FAST Cache Configuration (Select
System, then Properties in the Drop-Down)

    FAST Cache can be created in certain configurations, depending on the storage system model, and number and size of flash drives installed in the storage system. These criteria are used to present you with the available options for your configuration. For example, if an insufficient number of flash drives are available, Unisphere displays an error message and FAST Cache cannot be created. The number of flash drives can also be manually selected. The bottom portion of the screen shows the flash drives that will be used for creating FAST Cache. You can choose the drives manually by selecting the Manual option. If the LUN is created in a RAID group, you can enable or disable FAST Cache at the LUN level. It is enabled by default if the FAST Cache enabler is installed on the storage system. In this example (Figure 2), Fast Cache is enabled with four disks.

    Figure 2: EMC FAST Cache Configuration

    EMC FAST Cache Configuration

    Configuring Storage Pools

    A storage pool is a general term used for RAID groups and pools. A pool is a set of disks, all with the same redundancy (RAID 5, RAID 6, and RAID 1/0) on which you create one or more Logical Unit Numbers (LUNs). Two storage pools are created: Exchange DB and Exchange Logs with RAID 1/0 type redundancy near-line SAS (NL SAS) drives. NL SAS drives are almost 1-TB drive capacity. Storage pools are created by following these steps:

    1. Log in with the EMC Unisphere tool to access EMC storage.
    2. Select a storage system.
    3. Go to Storage >Storage Configuration >Storage Pools. In the Pools tab, click Create.

    Figure 3 shows an example of the EMC Unisphere management tool. The storage pool selected is Pool 1– Exchange-DB.

    Figure 3: Pool 1 - Exchange-DB

    Pool 1 - Exchange-DB

    Figure 4 shows the properties of the selected storage pool (Pool 1 – Exchange-DB). This screen shows the physical and virtual capacity of the storage pool. The top tabs also enable viewing and modification of disk assignment, advanced properties, and storage tiering.

    Figure 4: Selected Storage Pool Properties

    Selected Storage Pool Properties

    Figure 5 shows the contents of the Disks tab (under storage pool properties). From this screen, additional disks can be added to the storage pool. This tab also displays the physical and operational properties of each disk assigned to the storage pool.

    Figure 5: Storage Pool Disks Properties

    Storage Pool Disks Properties

    In the storage pool properties Advanced tab (Figure 6), you can set the alert threshold for the storage pool (the percentage utilization that will trigger an alarm) and enable or disable FAST Cache.

    Figure 6: Storage Pool Properties, Advanced Tab

    Storage Pool Properties, Advanced Tab

    Now that we have viewed the settings of an individual application storage pool, let’s look at combining multiple application storage pools into an aggregated storage pool. Figure 7 shows the aggregated storage pool.

    Figure 7: VM-Pool Selected

    VM-Pool Selected

    Figure 8 shows the properties of the selected storage pool.

    Figure 8: VM-Pool Properties

    VM-Pool Properties

    Figure 9 shows disk membership of the aggregated storage pool.

    Figure 9: VM-Pool Disk Membership

    VM-Pool Disk Membership

    Configuring Logical Unit Numbers

    Once the aggregate VM pool has been created, LUNs must be defined. On a storage pool (or aggregate storage pool), the LUN acts as the disk identifier for application or server-specific storage. Different storage pools can be created with different application and requirement-specific RAID (performance-oriented, availability-oriented, or a mix of the two) and storage capacity. To create and allocate LUNs, follow these steps:

    1. Select the VNX system using the Unisphere tool.
    2. Select Storage, then LUN.
    3. In the Create LUN dialog, under Storage Pool Properties:
      • Select Pool.
      • Select a RAID type for the LUN.
      • For Pool LUNs, only RAID 6, RAID 5, and RAID 1/0 are valid. RAID 5 is the default RAID type.

    If available, the software populates the storage pool for the new LUN with a list of pools that have the specified RAID type, or displays the name of the selected pool. The Capacity section displays information about the selected pool. If there are no pools with the specified RAID type, click New to create a new one.

    1. In LUN Properties, select the Thin check box if you are creating a thin LUN.
    2. Assign a User Capacity and ID to the LUN you want to create.
    3. If you want to create more than one LUN, select a number in Number of LUNs to create.

    For multiple LUNs, the software assigns sequential IDs to the LUNs as they are available. For example, if you want to create five LUNs starting with LUN ID 11, the LUN IDs might be 11, 12, 15, 17, and 18.

    1. In LUN Name, either specify a name or select to automatically assign LUN IDs as LUN names. Choose one of the following:
      1. Click Apply to create the LUN with the default advanced properties, or
      2. Click the Advanced tab to assign the properties yourself.
    2. Assign optional advanced properties for the LUN:
      1. Select a default owner (SP A or SP B) for the new LUN or accept the default value of Auto.
      2. Set the FAST tiering policy option.
    3. Click Apply to create the LUN, and then click Cancel to close the dialog box. An icon for the LUN is added to the LUNs view window.

    The LUN created for Exchange DB is a single LUN in the Exchange storage Pool (Figure 10).

    Figure 10: Exchange-DB-LUN Properties

    Exchange-DB-LUN Properties

    Figure 11 shows the LUN assigned to all the ESX hosts. This LUN is created so that ESX hosts can access this LUN and mount it as a datastore.

    Figure 11: LUN Created for All ESX Hosts

    LUN Created for All ESX Hosts

    A pool was also created for use as a storage destination for Microsoft Exchange logs (Figure 12).

    Figure 12: The Selected Pool Was Created for MS Exchange Logs

    The Selected Pool Was Created for MS
Exchange Logs

    Once the pool is created, the LUN can be created (Figure 13).

    Figure 13: Exchange Logs the LUN Created

    Exchange Logs the LUN Created

    Enabling Storage Groups

    In events where you choose to connect multiple servers to the storage system, storage groups must be configured and enabled. The Storage Groups option lets you place LUNs into groups that are known as storage groups. These LUNs are accessible only to the host that is connected to the storage group.

    To create a storage group:

    1. Select All Systems>VNX System.
    2. Select Hosts>Storage group.
    3. Create storage group, then click OK to save changes and close the dialog box. You can also click Apply to apply the changes without closing the dialog box.

      Note: Once you enable Storage Groups for a storage system, any host currently connected to the storage system will no longer be able to access data on the storage system. To the host, it will appear as if the LUNs were removed. In order for the host to access the storage data, you must add LUNs to Storage Group and then connect the host to the Storage Group.

      Figure 14 shows the properties screen of the ESX-StorageGroup created in the MetaFabric test lab.

      Figure 14: Example Storage Group Properties Window

      Example Storage Group Properties Window

      Once the storage group is created, LUNs can be added to the storage group (Figure 15).

      Figure 15: LUN Added to Storage Group

      LUN Added to Storage Group
    4. You must also add any ESXi hosts to the storage group if those hosts need to access any data housed on the storage group (Figure 16).

      Figure 16: ESXi Hosts Added to Storage Group

      ESXi Hosts Added to Storage Group
    5. If LUNs are already created, they can be added directly to the storage group by navigating to the Storage tab, selecting the LUN, and clicking the Add to storage group button (Figure 17).

      Figure 17: Add LUNs to Storage Group

      Add LUNs to Storage Group

      The prior storage sections have moved you to a point where logical disks now exist on the storage array. These disks are not formatted and are unusable by the operating systems until they have been formatted and mounted. These operations are covered in the next sections.

    Configuring the Network File System

    The VNX is a multiprotocol machine that provides access to data through the Network File System (NFS) protocol. NFS is a client/server distributed file service that provides file sharing in network environments. The NFS protocol enables the VNX to assume the functions of an NFS server. NFS environments typically include:

    • Native UNIX clients
    • Linux clients
    • Windows systems configured with third-party applications that provide NFS client services

    When a VNX is configured as an NFS server, file systems are mounted on a Data Mover and a path to that file system from the Data Mover is exported. Exported file systems are then available across the network and can be mounted by remote users.

    NFS pools are created from the storage pool section of EMC Unisphere. In this example, we are going to use a storage pool called NFS Pool (Figure 18).

    Figure 18: NFS Pool Properties

    NFS Pool Properties

    You will recall that a LUN must be created on top of the storage pool. The LUN is used as a logical disk identifier that enables the use of the storage (Figure 19).

    Figure 19: LUN Created on the New Storage Pool

    LUN Created on the New Storage Pool

    Next, you must define the NFS pool to enable ESXi hosts to access the storage. To do this, follow these steps:

    1. Select the VNX system in Unisphere.
    2. Go to Storage.
    3. Select the Storage Configuration.
    4. Go to the Storage Pools for file.
    5. Create the NFS Pool with storage capacity.

    Figure 20 shows the NFS pool properties once the pool has been created for server access.

    Figure 20: NFS Pool Properties

    NFS Pool Properties

    Once the NFS pool is created, you must export the pool in order to make the file system or directories available to NFS clients. To do this:

    1. Select Storage >Shared Folders > NFS, and click Create.
    2. From the Choose Data Mover list, select a Data Mover from which to export the file system.
    3. From the File System list, select the file system or checkpoint that contains the directory to export.
    4. To export a subdirectory, add the rest of the path to the string in the field.

    Figure 21 shows the configuration of NFS export. Note that access to hosts is assigned on a per-subnet basis and can be assigned as read-only, read/write, root access, or operator access permissions.

    Figure 21: NFS Export Configuration

    NFS Export Configuration

    Once you export NFS, the directories contained in the NFS will be available for mounting on the application servers.

    Configuring VNX Snapshot Replicas

    VNX Snapshots is a software feature that creates point in-time data copies. VNX Snapshots are used for data backups, software development and testing, re-purposing, data validation, and local rapid restores. VNX Snapshots do not consume large amounts of pool capacity. As a result, this feature is recommended for use as front-line data management and recovery.

    To configure the snapshot replicas for LUN:

    1. Select the VNX system in EMC Unisphere.
    2. Go to Dataprotection > Snapshots.
    3. Select the Snapshot Configuration Wizard from the right side (Figure 22).

      Figure 22: Snapshot Configuration Wizard

      Snapshot Configuration Wizard
    4. Click Next, then select the server host where the LUN is configured and mounted (Figure 23).

      Figure 23: Select Source Server

      Select Source Server
    5. Click Next, then select the target VNX storage system (Figure 24), then click Next.

      Figure 24: Select Snapshot Target

      Select Snapshot Target
    6. Select the source LUN (the LUN you wish to snapshot). In this example, SharePoint-SQL-DB is used as the source LUN and added to the list (Figure 25). Once you have selected the source LUN, click Next.

      Figure 25: Select Source LUNs

      Select Source LUNs
    7. Finally, you can select the default settings or uncheck the Accept Snapshot overhead values check box and modify the default settings (Figure 26). Once you have the settings you want, click Next.

      Figure 26: Select Snapshot Storage Overhead

      Select Snapshot Storage Overhead
    8. Choose to create the Snapshot LUN or choose to not create the Snapshot LUN at the current time. For this example, we created the Snapshot LUN (Figure 27). Click Next.

      Figure 27: Choose When to Create LUN Snapshot

      Choose When to Create LUN Snapshot
    9. Choose to attach the snapshot now, or save it for later attachment (Figure 28). The recommendation is to assign the snapshot LUN to a different server than the source LUN.

      Figure 28: Assign Snapshot to a Server

      Assign Snapshot to a Server
    10. Click Finish. Configuration of snapshot LUN is complete (Figure 29).

      Figure 29: Summary of Snapshot Wizard Configuration

      Summary of Snapshot Wizard Configuration

    Published: 2015-04-20