THIS INFRASTRUCTURE MATTERS

It is a great time for IBM Storage as we focus on what’s important [DATA] and what is needed to help Customers make this available and get the most out of it [INFRASTRUCTURE MATTERS]. I want to summarise a few points for helpful reference.

We have announced the New Storwize V7000 which is capable of delivering 2x Performance increase (10x while running compression) from the previous system and more than 4PB of capacity, while maintaining compatibility with existing V7000’s for investment protection.

This new system can transform data economics and deliver outstanding levels of performance while running Real-Time Compression meaning we can offer ‘Half-Price Storage’ when compared to other solutions where efficiency is not applied in real-time or to primary data as IBM does, the best part about this is going beyond the marketing and offering a guarantee for both the 50% (at least) savings on space and meeting the performance requirement!

 

With the New V7000 and SAN Volume Controller platforms (SVC), IBM takes another giant leap forward in the leadership of storage virtualisation, delivering all of the Storwize feature set  including Real-Time Compression, EasyTier across any 3 tiers of storage (including existing storage devices), enhanced IP replication and simplicity to manage it all.

This unmatched virtualisation capability gives us the real edge in being able to make better foundations for truly flexible storage and to facilitate integration with our unique file capabilities to service the massive amount of unstructured data in a much more elastic way that can be controlled from the workloads that run on it. This is what we call Software Defined Storage and this is what Customers can utilise in a way that can suit all sizes to dramatically reduce cost while increasing storage capacity and performance.

I hope the links and information here is useful to you and feel free to leave comments.

Be sure to visit #ibmedge for live streams happening this week.

THE SMARTER STORAGE TOUR 2014

Over the last few weeks I have travelled around various parts of the UK visiting Business Partners with our IBM Smarter Storage Truck Tour and it’s been a great time to be talking about Storwize and FlashSystems and our streamlined and incredibly powerful approach to creating smarter storage solutions for the types of environments our Customers need.

The tour was an excellent chance to provide updates on our Storwize Family and Strategy as well as bringing the demonstration environment to enhance the messages and provide hands on time for the more technically minded who stepped aboard (or behind when it was sunny).

Onboard, we had Storwize in the form of SVC and V5000 and the latest IBM FlashSystem 840 which was enjoyed by technical folk who could experience the simplicity in management and integration to traditional storage environments through Storwize virtualisation, either for putting in to EasyTier pools for full automation of what data to put on the flash, or by full migration of individual volumes of storage for pure flash acceleration. On the final day last week, I took a little time to screen record this effect and you can see this here.

A COLLECTION OF QUOTES

Some of the good feedback and comments we have seen recently following the launch of the Storwize V5000 in to the Family.

 

SDS   
“IBM has a clear and cohesive Software-defined Storage strategy that is integrated with its Storwize family of storage systems. The foundational element of the strategy is the IBM SVC software – itself an exceptionally successful storage virtualization solution that IBM has been selling for a decade or so – which underpins the Storwize family, including its latest flexible midrange iteration, the Storwize V5000.” – Mark Peters, Enterprise Storage Group

TCA  
“For those needing a modest amount of block storage (from 24TB to more than 1.3PB) to consolidate servers or for general-purpose use, IBM’s Storwize V5000 offers a wide range of possibilities — from an inexpensive, modestly-endowed storage array to a loaded, clusterable storage solution endowed with most of the features of the Storwize V7000, including SSD acceleration, thin provisioning, Flash Copy, Easy Tier, remote mirroring, and external virtualization.” – Mike Kahn, Clipper Group 

Virtualization.  
“The main competitive advantage of the Storwize family is storage virtualization, which can help to make better use of the storage that customers already have installed. The new Storwize V5000 offers this and other capabilities at a low cost of acquisition, and improving utilization up to 30%.”  – George Crump, Storage Switzerland

Performance   
“With the new Storwize V5000 delivering sequential read performance of 5.5 GB/s, it’s clear that IBM is committed to taking the their family of storage systems
to the next level, increasing performance with every announcement and delivering  sophisticated capabilities to meet the different needs of midrange customers.” – David Hill, Mesabi Group

Virtualization.   
“With integral and complete VMware support and the ability to use flash drives and automatic tiering, the Storwize V5000 is an excellent storage solution for server virtualization. The scalability, advanced features, and performance, give the Storwize V5000 high-end enterprise capabilities for a product whose cost positions it clearly in the midrange for IBM.” - Randy Kerns, Evaluator Group

IBM Systems Director (ISD) – Storage Control – Win64

So a couple of weeks in to building the new IBM Systems Director demonstration environment at our office, it’s fair to say it’s not plain sailing to break away from the basics and go ‘custom’ !  Therefore my first post will be some links, pointers and may be even cries for help as I have head out to make use of one of these new plugins available for ISD 6.2. Hopefully, this may just help you in some way if you have found it.

Let’s start with what could be a sore point for some customers and get this out the way. The Storage Control plugin, must run on ISD 6.2.1 and that must be using DB2 9.7 as the database. I have not yet seen a method to transfer data from one DB (e.g. Apache Derby) to a new one so at this point, we all start from the same point, the beginning! (I was hoping to research this part more but a lot more time has been spent building my new environment so far)

Good news is that if you have browsed over to the plugin download page, you will note that IBM do supply the correct DB2 code and a restricted use license so it’s easy enough to get all the right components and start the install.

My environment is an IBM x3755 4core 3.0GHz (dualxdual) with 8GB running Win2008R2 so 64bit. I’m looking to manage a couple of BladeCenters, several ESX rack and blade hosts and we have DS3000 and the new Storwize V7000 storage units that are compatible with this new Storage Control plugin.

I’ll say at this point, I had a fair amount of issue installing ISD and SC, most of which was linked to User Account settings as you’ll need a new Admin account to be set up on the ISD server for all of the installs so do this first. I was following the infocenter pages initially but recently found a gem of a document with a real hand holding approach that I like!

Start Here !! :: http://www-03.ibm.com/support/techdocs/atsmastr.nsf/WebIndex/WP101846

That is going to either get you all the way to the goal of ISD 6.2.1 running with SC 4.2.1, or most of the way but still some blocks along the path. For example:

Bleeding edge may need a tweak:
Ideally, do not use the Update Manager yet to prepare ISD 6.2 up to the latest 6.2.1.1 as although SC 4.2.1 has been developed for  ISD 6.2.1 ‘or later’, the ‘or later’ part is not functioning right now with the install. If you are installing new, use the available 6.2.1 DVD image from the Downloads page or if you are already at 6.2.1.1 then you can and will need to manipulate the SC install checks or download the SC 4.2.1-a code if available.

Go easy with your passwords:
On one of my many ‘start again’ runs I hit an error message at the end of the ISD install process and although the installer will suggest that once the message is acknowledged all is actually ok with ISD, well it won’t be so here you’ll need to start again and remove, re-install. This is caused with ‘special’ characters in a password for that user account. Mine was one of these ‘!”.  So best bet, use a straightforward password for the new account you need to create for ISD, varied case and numerals are ok, then you can strengthen this should you need post install. IBM article on this.

Memory issues:
Strange one that I found happen several times on clean installs, when you go to run the SC install file, despite in my case having 8GB memory installed and maybe 4 or a bit more in use by the OS and basic services, the SC installer script will report back straight away that there was a failure and make sure 768MB of memory is free. A reboot was the only route I found around this one.

SC install starts then fails:
If your SC installation has started and then failed, you must clean up the directories left behind. The above guide does describe one that needs to be deleted, but I also ran into an issue and found that both of these must be cleaned away.

Delete these folders if the SC instal fails:

  • C:\Program Files\Common Files\InstallShield\Universal\IBM-TPC
  • C:\Program Files\IBM\TPC

Installed:
At the point when you finally see this (maybe a lot quicker than me as I think I just made a meal of it):

The completed response from the install.bat file

You can stop and restart the Director Service via the services tool, 60 days evaluation should be there to use in the main Systems Director > Storage Section.

And at this point, I’m not a fan when posts are too long so I’ll pick up in a separate post, usage of SC 4.2.1 as soon as can be done….