Tag Archives: features

What’s new in EMC Control Center Update Bundle 14 (UB14)?

I’m in the process right now of upgrading our ECC installation from UB12 to UB14.  I’ll be making another post soon with the steps I took to complete the upgrade.  Below is a list of all the new features in UB14.

  • Added support for Oracle 11g.
  • Added Oracle 64-bit support in ControlCenter for 64-bit operating systems.
  • Added support for VMAX 1.5 and CKD devices.
  • Added support for Solutions Enabler 7.5.
  • Added support to discover and display new Federated Tiered Storage (FTS).
  • Added support for EMC CentraStar® 4.2.2.
  • Added support for Java 1.7 update 7.
  • Added support for HDS WLA by using JRE 1.7.
  • Added support for the availability of pool compression information in STS query builder while generating custom reports.
  • Added support for Mixed RAID types in VNX storage pool.
  • Added a new memory check during installation to verify if 4GB of RAM is available to install/upgrade UB14 in an all-in-one setup.
  • Added a new memory check during installation to verify if 3GB of RAM is available to install/upgrade UB14 in a distributed setup.
  • Added a new disk space check during installation to verify if minimum disk space is available for UB14 upgrade in both all-in-one and distributed setups and notify users if the requirement is not met.
  • Added support to export/import database to/from an external drive.
  • Added new free disk space availability alert.
  • Removed support for Symmetrix, SDM, and CLARiiON agents on HP-UX and AIX operating systems.
  • EMC Ionix ControlCenter 6.1 Update Bundle 14 Read Me 3
  • Removed support for Microsoft Internet Explorer version 6.0.
  • Added support to discover or rediscover Managed Objects through NAS, CLARiiON, Symmetrix, and Host Agents using DefaultHiddenDCP feature.
  • Added support to change the fully qualified domain name of non-infrastructure hosts or platforms.
  • Added support to remove virtual machines marked as Deleted on the console automatically using a scheduled job that runs every day.
  • Added support to reserve connections for WLA communications.
  • Added support to optimize the mechanism of sending MOLIST for Brocade switches.
  • Added support to optimize performance statistics collection for WLA.
  • Added support to optimize provider calls for switch and fabric discovery.
  • Added support to optimize logging and error handling in agent.
  • Added support to start processing opcode only after the agent INITX initialization.
  • Added virtual provisioning support for CLARiiON FLARE 28.
  • Added support to edit MessageReplyTimeout value in Gateway agent ini file.
  • Improved error messages in console for action.
  • Improved Store log to simplify root cause determination of issues.
  • Reduced Integration Gateway agent crashes.

What’s new in FLARE 32?

We recently installed a new VNX5700 at the end of July and EMC was on-site to install it the day after the general release of FLARE 32. We had planned our pool configuration around this release, so the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. After running the new release for about a month now it’s proven to be rock solid, and to date no critical security patches have been released that we needed to apply.

The most notable new feature for us was the addition of mixed RAID types within the same pool.  We can finally use RAID6 for the large NL-SAS drives in the pool and not have to make the entire pool RAID6.  There also are several new performance enhancements that should make a big impact, including load balancing within a tier and pool rebalancing.

Below is an overview of the new features in the initial release (

· VNX Block to Unified Services Plug-n-play: This feature allows customers to perform Block to Unified upgrades.

· Support for In-Family upgrades: This feature allows for the In-family Data In Place (DIP) Conversion kits that are to be available for the VNX OE for File 7.1 and VNX OE for Block 05.32 release. In-family DIP conversions across the VNX family will re-use the installed SAS DAEs with associated drives and SLICs

· Windows 2008 R2: Branch Cache Support: This feature provides support for the branch cache feature in Windows 2008 R2. This feature allows a Windows client to cache a file locally in one of the branch office servers and then use the cached copy whenever the same file is being requested. The VNX for File CIFS Server operates as the Central Office Content Server in support of the Branch Cache feature.

· VAAI for NFS: Snaps of snaps: Supports snap of snap of VMDK files on a NFS file systems to at least 1 level of depth (source to snap to snap). Though the functionality will initially only be available through the VAAI for NFS interface, it may in future be exposed through the VSI plug-in as well. This feature allows VMware View 5.0 to use VAAI for NFS on a VNX system. This feature also requires that file systems be enabled during creation for “VMware VAAI nested clone support”, and the installation of the EMCNasPlugin-1-0.10.zip on the ESX servers.”

· Load balance within a tier: This feature allows for redistribution of slices across all drives in a given tier of a pool to improve performance. This also includes proactive load balancing, such that slices are relocated from one RAID group in a tier to another, based on activity level, to balance the load within the tier. These relocations will occur within the user-defined tiering relocation window.

· Improve block compression performance: This feature provides for improved block compression performance. This includes increasing speed of compression operations, decreasing storage system impact, and decreasing host response time impact.

· Deeper File Compression Algorithm: This feature provides an option to utilize deeper compression algorithm for greater capacity savings, when using file-level compression. This option can be leveraged by 3rd party application servers such as the FileMover Appliance Server, based on data types (i.e. per metadata definitions) that are best suited for the deeper compression algorithm).

· Rebalance when adding drives to Pools: This feature provides for the redistribution of slices across all drives in a newly expanded pool to improve performance.

· Conversion of DLU to TLU and back, when enabling Block Compression: This feature provides an internal mechanism (not user-invoked), when enabling Compression on a thick pool LUN, that would result in an in-place conversion from Thick (“direct”) pool LUNs to Thin Pool LUNs, rather than performing a migration. Additionally, for LUNs that were originally Thick and then converted to Thin, it provides an internal mechanism, upon disabling compression, to convert the LUNs back to Thick, without requiring a user-invoked migration.

· Mixed RAID Types in Pools: This feature allows a user to define RAID types per storage tier in pool, rather than requiring a single RAID type across all drives in a single pool.

· Improved TLU performance, no worse than 115% of a FLU: This feature provides improved TLU performance. This includes decreasing host response time impact and potentially decreasing storage system impact.

· Distinguished Compression Capacity Savings: This feature provides a display of the capacity savings due to compression. This display will inform the user of the savings due to compression, distinct from the savings due to thin provisioning. The benefit for the user is that he can determine the incremental benefit of using compression. This is necessary because there is currently a performance impact when using Compression, so users need to be able to make a cost/benefit analysis.

· Additional Tiering Policies: This feature provides additional tiering options in pools: namely, “Start High, then Auto-tier”. When the user selects this policy for a given LUN, the initial allocation is on highest tier, and subsequent tiering is based on activity.

· Additional RAID Options in Pools: This feature provides 2 additional RAID options in pools, for better efficiency: 8+1 for RAID 5, and 14+2 for RAID 6. These options will be available for new pools. These options will be available in both the GUI and the CLI.

· E-Trace Enhancements: Top files per fs and other stats: This feature allows the customer to identify the top files in a file system or quota tree. The files can be identified by pathnames instead of ids.

· Support VNX Snapshots in Unisphere Quality of Service Manager: This feature provides Unisphere Quality of Service Manager (UQM) support for both the source LUN and the snapshot LUN introduced by the VNX Snapshots feature.

· Support new VNX Features in Unisphere Analyzer: This feature provides support for all new VNX features in Unisphere Analyzer, including but not limited to VNX Snapshots and 64-bit counters.

· Unified Network Services: This feature provides several enhancements that will improve user experience. The various enhancements delivered by UNS in VNX OE for File 7.1 and VNX OE for Block 05.32 release are as follows:

· Continuous Monitoring: This feature provides the ability to monitor the vital statistics of a system continuously (out-of-box) and then take appropriate action when specific conditions are detected. The user can specify multiple statistical counters to be monitored – the default counters that will be monitored are CPU utilization, memory utilization and NFS IO latency on all file systems. The conditions when an event would be raised can also be specified by the user in terms of a threshold value and time interval during which the threshold will need to be exceeded for each statistical counter being monitored. When an event is raised, the system can perform any number of actions – possible choices are log the event, start detailed correlated statistics collection for a specified time period, send email or send a SNMP trap.

· Unisphere customization for VNX: This feature provides the addition of custom references within Unisphere Software (VNX) via editable source files for product documentation and packaging, custom badges and nameplates.

· VNX Snapshots: This feature provides VNX Snapshots (a.k.a write-in-place pointer-based snapshots) that in their initial release will support Block LUNs only and require pool-based LUNs. VNX Snapshots will support File Systems in a later release. The LUNs referred to below are pool-based LUNs (thick LUNs and Thin LUNs.)

· NDMP V4 IPv6 extension: This feature provides support for the Symantec, NetApp, and EMC authored and approved NDMP v4 IPv6 extension in order to back up using NDMP 2-way and 3-way in IPv6 networked environments.

· NDMP Access Time: This feature provides the last access time (atime). In prior releases, this was not retained during an NDMPCopy and was thus set to the time of migration. So, after a migration, the customer lost the ability to archive “cold” or “inactive” data. This feature adds an optional NDMP variable (RETAIN_ATIME=y/n, the default being ‘n’) which if set includes the atime in the NDMP data stream so that it can be restored properly on the destination.

· SRDF Interoperability for Control Station: This feature provides SRDF (Symmetrix Remote Data Facility) with the ability to manage the failover process between local and remote VNX Gateways. VNX Gateway needs a way to give up control of the failover and failback to an external entity and to suppress the initiation of these processes from within the Gateway.


ProSphere 1.6 Updates

ProSphere 1.6 was released this week, and it looks like EMC was listening!  Several of the updates are features that I specifically requested when I gave my feedback to EMC at EMC World.  I’m sure it’s just a coincidence, but it’s good to finally see some valuable improvements that make this product that much closer to being useful in my company’s environment.  The most important items I wanted to see was the ability to export performance data to a csv file and improved documentation on the REST API.  Both of those things were included with this release.  I haven’t looked yet to see if the performance exports can be run from a command line (a requirement for it to be useful to me for scripting).  The REST API documentation was created in the form of a help file.  It can be downloaded an run from an internal web server as well, which is what I did.

Here are the new features in v1.6:


ProSphere can now receive Brocade alerts for monitoring and analysis. These alerts can be forwarded through SNMP traps.

Consolidation of alerts from external sources is now extended to include:

• Brocade alerts (BNA and CMCNE element managers)

• The following additional Symmetrix Management Console (SMC) alerts:
– Device Status
– Device Pool Status
– Thin Device Allocation
– Director Status
– Port Status
– Disk Status
– SMC Environmental Alert


– Support for Federated Tiered Storage (FTS) has been added, allowing ProSphere to identify LUNs that have been presented from external storage logically, positioned behind the Unisphere for VMAX 10K, 20K and 40K.

– Service Levels are now based on the Fully Automated Storage Tier (FAST) policies defined in Symmetrix arrays. ProSphere reports on how much capacity is available for each Service Level, and how much is being consumed by each host in the environment.


– Users can now export ProSphere reports for performance and capacity statistics in CSV format.

Unisphere for VMAX 1.0 compatibility

– ProSphere now supports the new Unisphere for VMAX as well as Single Sign On and Launch-in-Context to the management console of the Unisphere for VMAX element manager. ProSphere, in conjunction with Unisphere for VMAX, will have the same capabilities as Symmetrix Management Console and Symmetrix Performance Analyzer.

Unisphere support

– In this release, you can launch Unisphere (CLARiiON, VNX, and Celerra) from ProSphere, but without the benefits of Single Sign On and Launch-in-Context.

EMC World 2012 – Thoughts on Isilon

I’m at EMC World in Las Vegas and I finished up my first full day at EMC World 2012 today.  There are about 15,000 attendees this year, which is much more than last year and it’s obvious. The crowds are huge and the Venetian is packed full.  Joe Tucci’s Keynote was amazing, the video screen behind Joe was longer than a football field and he took the time to point that out. 🙂  He went into detail about the past, present and future of IT and it was very interesting.

Many of the sessions I’m signed up for have non-disclosure agreements, so I can’t speak about some of the new things being announced or the sessions I’ve attended.  I’m trying to focus on learning about (and attending breakout sessions) about EMC technologies that we don’t currently use in my organization to broaden my scope of knowledge. There may be better solutions from EMC available than what the company I work for is currently using, and I want to learn about all the options available.

My first session today was about EMC’s Isilon product and I was excited to learn more about it. My only experience so far with EMC’s file based solutions is with legacy Celerra arrays and VNX File.  So, what’s the difference, and why would anyone choose to purchase an Isilon solution over simply adding a few data movers to their VNX? Why is Isilon better? Good Question. I attended an introductory level session but it was very informative.

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert after listening to a one hour session this morning, but here were my take-aways from it. Isilon, in a nutshell, is a much higher performance solution than VNX file. There are several different iterations of the platform available (S, X, and NL Series) all focused on specific customer needs.  One is for high transactional, IOPs intensive needs, another geared for capacity, and another geared for a balance (and a smaller budget). It uses the OneFS single filesystem (impressive by itself), which eliminates the standard abstraction layers of the filesystem, volume manager, and RAID types.  All of the disks use a single file system regardless of the total size.  The data is arranged in a fully symmetric cluster with data striped across all of the nodes.  The single, OneFS filesystem works regardless of the size of your filesystem – 18TB minimum all the way up to 15 PB.

Adding a new node to Isilon is seamless, it’s instantly added to the cluster (hence the term “Scale-out NAS” EMC has been touting throughout the conference).  You can add up to 144 nodes to a single Isilon array. It also features auto balancing, in that it will automatically rebalance data to the new node that was just added.  It can also remove data from a node and move it to a new one if you decide to decomission a node and replace it with a newer model. Need to replace that 4 year old isilon node with the old, low capacity disks? No problem. Another interesting item to node is how data is stored across the nodes. Isilon does not use a standard RAID model at all, it distributes data across the disks based on how much protection you decide you need.  You can decide as an administrator how the data is protected, choosing to keep as many copies of data as you want (at the expense of total available storage). The more duplicate copies of data you want to keep, the less total storage you have available for production use.  One great benefit of Isilon vs. VNX file is that rebuilds are much faster, as traditional RAID groups are dependant on the total IO available to the single drive being rebuilt, while Isilon rebuilds are spanned across the entire system. It could mean the differnce between a 12 hour single disk RAID5 rebuild vs. less than one hour on Isilon. Pretty cool stuff.

I only have experience with Celerra replicator, but it was also mentioned in the session that Isilon replications can go down to the specific folder level within a file system.  Very cool.  I can only do replications at the entire file system level on VNX file and Celerra right now. I don’t have any experience with that functionality yet, but it sounds very interesting.

There is a new upcoming version of the OneFS (called “Mavericks”) that will introduce even more new features, I’m not going to go into those as they may be part of the non-disclosure agreement.  Everything I’ve mentioned thus far is available currently.  Overall, I was very impressed with the Isilon architecture as compared to VNX file.  EMC claimed that they have the highest FS NAS throughput for any vendor with Isilon at 106GB/sec.  Again, very impressive.

I’ll make another update this week after attending a few more breakout sessions.  I’m also looking forward to learning more about Greenplum, the promise of improved performance through paralellism (using scale out archiceture on standard hardware) is also very interesting to me.  If anyone else is at EMC World this week, please comment!