First day at EMC World 2013

It’s been a great first day at EMC World 2013 so far.  I’ve been to three breakout sessions, two of which were very informative and useful. I focused my day today on learning more about best practices for the EMC technologies that I already use.  I’m not going to go into great detail now as I need to get to the next session. 🙂 The notes I made are specific to a brocade switch implemenation as that’s what I use. Here are some useful bullet points from a few of my sessions today.

Storage Area Networking Best Practices:

1.  Single Initiator Zoning.  Only put one initiator and the targets it will access in one zone.  I’ve already practiced this for many years, but it was interesting to hear the reasons for doing it that way.  It drastically reduces the number of server queries to the switch.

2.  Dynamic Interface Management.  Use Brocade port fencing.  It can prevent a SAN outage by giving you the ability to shut down a single host or port.

3.  Monitor for Congestion.  Congestion from one host can spread an cause problems in other operating environments.  Definitely enable Brocade bottleneck detection.

4.  Periodic SAN health checks.  Use the EMC SANity or Brocade SAN health tools regularly.  If you’re reading this, you’re verly likely already doing that. 🙂

5.  Monitor for bit errors.  These can lead to bb_credit loss.  The Brocade parameter portcvglongdistance should be set (bb_credit recovery option), which will prevent the problem.  Bit errors could still be a problem on F Ports, however.

6.  Cable Hygeine.  Always clean your cables!  They are a major contributor to physical connectivity problems.

7.  Target Releases.  Always run a target release of Firmware.

VNX NAS Configuration Best Practices:

1. For transactional NAS, always use the correct transfer size for your workload.  The latest VNX OE release supports up to 1MB.

2. Use Jumbo frames end to end.

3. 10G is available now. Don’t use 1G anymore!

4. Use link aggregation for redundancy and load balancing, failsafe for high availability.

5. Use AVM for typical NAS configurations, MVM for transactional NAS where you have high concurrency from a single NFS stream to a single NFS export. 

6. Use Direct Writes for apps that use concurrent IO or are asynchronous (Oracle, VMWare, etc.).

7. For NAS Pool LUNs, use thick LUNs that are all the same size, balance the SP designation for each one, use the same tiering policy for each one, use approximately 1 LUN for every 4 drives, and use thin enabled file systems to maximize the consumption of the highest tier.

8. Always enable FASTCache for NAS LUNs.  They benefit from it even more than block LUNs.

 

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