Replay Manager Configure Server There was an error loading the configuration information.

Replay Manager Configure Server There was an error loading the configuration information

When Replacing a bunch of servers with new DELL R740s (Hyper-V clusters, File clusters, backup targets etc.) I ran into an issue with the DELL Replay Manager software. The servers leverage multiple DELL EMC Storage Center SANs. The have multiple ones for Scale-Out, Redundancy, Failover, Mutliple Datacenters, …

With some of the servers I noticed that the loading of the information was slow, while most others were just fine. But with 4 out of all servers the connection never actually happens. The connectivity was just fine, and test connectivity confirmed this. As this had zero impact on the actual replays that were scheduled this went unnoticed. But when you are adding and removing servers you might need to dive into Server Configuration and that were after a minute we got the below error thrown

Configure Server
There was an error loading the configuration information.
Error Message:
The request channel timed out while waiting for a reply after 00:01:00. Increase the timeout value passed to the call to Request or increase the SendTimeout value on the Binding. The time allotted to this operation may have been a portion of a longer timeout
.

Notice that the GUI says connecting to our demo server82… but unless you need info from the server you might still see the info it get’s from the Storage Center SAN itself.

This is quite annoying as we need to be in there. So how to fix this. I have some ideas as I know this error from .NET WCF but in this case I was looking for an easier way out especially when I don’t have all the information about this 3rd party application. The good news is that it is easily fixed.

Fixing this

Replay manager stores the replays and metadata info about those replays it creates on the SAN itself. That’s why you can still see those even when you actually ca’t connect to the server. The config of servers you add and use in Replay Manager is stored locally where the client lived. This files is portable, just copy it form your profile and had it to a colleague. No big deal.

Now the server configuration you do from the Replay Manager GUI tool itself is stored on each and any server where you have the Replay Manager service installed. You will find that file, ReplayManager.config.xml, under C:\ProgramData\Compellent\ReplayManager.

Make a copy to be sure and edit the original using a text editor that has elevated permissions so you can save your changes. In the example file of one server below note that server82 (green) has 2 old Compellent SC entries (yellow) that are no longer in service. One SAN it cannot find won’t exceed the time-out windows, but it does slow the GUI down significantly. 2 or more phantom old SAN slow things down looking for them and you get the time out error.

The fix is easy, cut the key values out of the file and save the file. You then restart the Replay manager service on that server via an elevated command prompt (or use the GUI):
net start ReplayManager
net stop ReplayManager

Restart the Replay manager service on the server you need to manager before connecting to the server again with the Replay manager client tool GUI.

When you now close and launch the Replay Manager GUI and connect to the server things will be a lot faster and certainly wont time out anymore.

Conclusion

Maintain your environment. Try to remove and decommissioned storage center SAN from your server configurations in Replay Manager before you take it off line an dispose of it.I f you forget you and run into slow loading Replay Manager GUI or hit a time out. Don’t panic. The Replay manager is actually quite solid and recoverable. We have shown you how to fix this by editing the ReplayManager.config.xml file on the server you need to connect to but can’t.You basically just remove the references to the no longer existing storage centers I hope it helps some of you out there if you run into this. Feel free to reach out in the comments if you have any questions.

Dell Storage Manager Collector Update error: Error applying transforms. Verify that the specified transform paths are valid.

Introduction

This is a quick assist for those people who run into the following error when updating their DellEMC SC Series Dell Storage Manager Data Collector and/or Client.

Error applying transforms. Verify that the specified transform paths are valid.

It will want to find a path to 1033.msi in your users’ profile appdata local temp folder but it is not there. Only different ones.

When trouble shooting this error Google might lead you to use various app cleaner tool or the like. This could work or not. It can also lead to new errors. The installer might now complain that updating is only for installed apps and require your to really uninstall the application. This could leave you with a non functional application until you fix the mess.

The easy fix

The solution is easier. Just navigate to the following key in the Windows registry:

COMPUTER\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Product

Their you find for the key for the Dell Storage Manager Client and/or the Dell Storage Manager Collector. There you will find a Transforms value with the path that throws you the error. Just delete that  the value in that key.

Dell Storage Manager Collector

image

Dell Storage Manager Client

image

Now run your Dell Storage Manager Data Collector and/or Client installers again and things should go well. As always, take a VM checkpoint or another type of backup before you do any work on production server or at least exports the keys you modify so you can restore them

Upgrading to DELLEMC Unisphere Central for SC Series

Upgrading to DELLEMC Unisphere Central for SC Series

To prepare for rolling out SCOS 7.3 (see my blog post SC Series SCOS 7.3 for more information on this version) we upgraded our Dell Storage Manager Data Collector and DELL Storage Manager Client to 18.1.10.171. I am happy to report that went flawlessly. This means we are ready to work with CoPilot and will upgrade our SANs over the next week. That is always a phased roll out, to minimize risk.

Upgrading to 18.1.10.171 actually means we are upgrading to DELLEMC Unisphere Central for SC Series, which was announced as part of the SCOS 7.3 upgrade benefits.

The upgrade process itself is straight forward and isn’t different from what we are used to. First you upgrade the Storage Manager Data Collector and then the Storage Manager Client. If you have a remote Storage Manager Data Collector you must then upgrade that one as well.

image

Make sure you have successful backup and create a checkpoint before you start the upgrade. That way you also have an easy exit plan when things go south.

Upgrading the Storage Manager Data Collector & Client

This needs to be done first. It can take a while so be patient. Run the Storage Manager Data Collector 178.1.10.171.exe with elevated permissions. It unpacks and asks you to select a language.

image

Click OK to continue and just follow the wizard.

image

It will ask you to confirm you want to upgrade.

image

Click yes and follow the wizard.

image

Click “Next” to kick of the upgrade and relax.

image

The wizard will provide you with plenty of feedback of what it is doing along the way.

image

The final step after the upgrade is to start the Data Collector service.

image

Starting the Data Collector service can take quite a while. Be patient. When it’s done the wizard will inform you of this.

image

Click “Finish” to close the installer.

On your desktop you’ll notice that you now have an icon called DELL EMC Unisphere Central. This indicates that the storage management for DELL EMC offerings are converging.

image

Do note that if you have a remote Storage Manager Data Collector you must now upgrade that one also, Do NOT forget to keep both deployments at the same software levels.

You are now ready to upgrade the Storage Manager Client. Run the installer with elevated permissions.

image

Just follow the wizard, normally this goes really fast and that’s it. You can log into the new and see that the GUI is very familiar to anyone using already.

What is new is the look and feel of the DELLEMC Unisphere Central for SC Series. It’s not you father’s data collector any more.

image

We’ll talk about DELLEMC Unisphere Central for SC Series later when we have had a chance to work with it some more in real live.

Monitor the UNMAP/TRIM effect on a thin provisioned SAN

Introduction

During demo’s I give on the effectiveness of storage efficiencies (UNMAP, ODX) in Hyper-V I use some PowerShell code to help show his. Trim in the virtual machine and on the Hyper-V host pass along information about deleted blocks to a thin provisioned storage array. That means that every layer can be as efficient as possible. Here’s a picture of me doing a demo to monitor the UNMAP/TRIM effect on a thin provisioned SAN.

clip_image002

The script shows how a thin provisioned LUN on a SAN (DELL SC Series) grows in actual used spaced when data is being created or copied inside VMs. When data is hard deleted TRIM/UNMAP prevents dynamically expanding VHDX files form growing more than they need to. When a VM is shut down it even shrinks. The same info is passed on to the storage array. So, when data is deleted we can see the actual space used in a thin provisioned LUN on the SAN go down. That makes for a nice demo. I have some more info on the benefits and the potential issues of UNMAP if used carelessly here.

Scripting options for the DELL SC Series (Compellent)

Your storage array needs to support thin provisioning and TRIM/UNMAP with Windows Server Hyper-V. If so all you need is PowerShell library your storage vendor must provide. For the DELL Compellent series that use to be the PowerShell Command Set (2008) which made them an early adopter of PowerShell automation in the industry. That evolved with the array capabilities and still works to day with the older SC series models. In 2015, Dell Storage introduced the Enterprise Manager API (EM-API) and also the Dell Storage PowerShell SDK, which uses the EM-API. This works over a EM Data Collector server and no longer directly to the management IP of the controllers. This is the only way to work for the newer SC series models.

It’s a powerful tool to have and allows for automation and orchestration of your storage environment when you have wrapped your head around the PowerShell commands.

That does mean that I needed to replace my original PowerShell Command Set scripts. Depending on what those scripts do this can be done easily and fast or it might require some more effort.

Monitoring UNMAP/TRIM effect on a thin provisioned SAN with PowerShell

As a short demo let me show case the Command Set and the DELL Storage PowerShell SDK version of a script monitor the UNMAP/TRIM effect on a thin provisioned SAN with PowerShell.

Command Set version

Bar the way you connect to the array the difference is in the commandlets. In Command Set retrieving the storage info is done as follows:

$SanVolumeToMonitor = “MyDemoSANVolume”

#Get the size of the volume
$CompellentVolumeSize = (Get-SCVolume -Name $SanVolumeToMonitor).Size

#Get the actual disk space consumed in that volume
$CompellentVolumeReakDiskSpaceUsed = (Get-SCVolume -Name $SanVolumeToMonitor).TotalDiskSpaceConsumed

In the DELL Storage PowerShell SDK version it is not harder, just different than it used to be.

$SanVolumeToMonitor = “MyDemoSANVolume”
$Volume = Get-DellScVolume -StorageCenter $StorageCenter -Name $SanVolumeToMonitor

$VolumeStats = Get-DellScVolumeStorageUsage -Instance $Volume.InstanceID

#Get the size of the volume
$CompellentVolumeSize = ($VolumeStats).ConfiguredSpace

#Get the actual disk space consumed in that volume
$CompellentVolumeRealDiskSpaceUsed = ($VolumeStats).ActiveSpace

Which gives …

clip_image004

I hope this gave you some inspiration to get started automating your storage provisioning and governance. On premises or cloud, a GUI and a click have there place, but automation is the way to go. As a bonus, the complete script is below.

#region PowerShell to keep the PoSh window on top during demos
$signature = @’ 
[DllImport("user32.dll")] 
public static extern bool SetWindowPos( 
    IntPtr hWnd, 
    IntPtr hWndInsertAfter, 
    int X, 
    int Y, 
    int cx, 
    int cy, 
    uint uFlags); 
‘@ 
$type = Add-Type -MemberDefinition $signature -Name SetWindowPosition -Namespace SetWindowPos -Using System.Text -PassThru

$handle = (Get-Process -id $Global:PID).MainWindowHandle 
$alwaysOnTop = New-Object -TypeName System.IntPtr -ArgumentList (-1) 
$type::SetWindowPos($handle, $alwaysOnTop, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0x0003) | Out-null
#endregion

function WriteVirtualDiskVolSize () {
    $Volume = Get-DellScVolume -Connection $Connection -StorageCenter $StorageCenter -Name $SanVolumeToMonitor
    $VolumeStats = Get-DellScVolumeStorageUsage -Connection $Connection -Instance $Volume.InstanceID
       
    #Get the size of the volume
    $CompellentVolumeSize = ($VolumeStats).ConfiguredSpace
    #Get the actual disk space consumed in that volume.
    $CompellentVolumeRealDiskSpaceUsed = ($VolumeStats).ActiveSpace

    Write-Host -Foregroundcolor Magenta "Didier Van Hoye - Microsoft MVP / Veeam Vanguard
& Dell Techcenter Rockstar"
    Write-Host -Foregroundcolor Magenta "Hyper-V, Clustering, Storage, Azure, RDMA, Networking"
    Write-Host -Foregroundcolor Magenta  "http:/blog.workinghardinit.work"
    Write-Host -Foregroundcolor Magenta  "@workinghardinit"
    Write-Host -Foregroundcolor Cyan "DELLEMC Storage Center model $SCModel version" $SCVersion.version
    Write-Host -Foregroundcolor Cyan  "Dell Storage PowerShell SDK" (Get-Module DellStorage.ApiCommandSet).version
    Write-host -foregroundcolor Yellow "
 _   _  _   _  __  __     _     ____   
| | | || \ | ||  \/  |   / \   |  _ \ 
| | | ||  \| || |\/| |  / _ \  | |_) |
| |_| || |\  || |  | | / ___ \ |  __/
 \___/ |_| \_||_|  |_|/_/   \_\|_|
"
    Write-Host ""-ForegroundColor Red
    Write-Host "Size Of the LUN on SAN: $CompellentVolumeSize" -ForegroundColor Red
    Write-Host "Space Actually Used on SAN: $CompellentVolumeRealDiskSpaceUsed" -ForegroundColor Green 

    #Wait a while before you run these queries again.
    Start-Sleep -Milliseconds 1000
}

#If the Storage Center module isn't loaded, do so!
if (!(Get-Module DellStorage.ApiCommandSet)) {    
    import-module "C:\SysAdmin\Tools\DellStoragePowerShellSDK\DellStorage.ApiCommandSet.dll"
}

$DsmHostName = "MyDSMHost.domain.local"
$DsmUserName = "MyAdminName"
$DsmPwd = "MyPass"
$SCName = "MySCName"
# Prompt for the password
$DsmPassword = (ConvertTo-SecureString -AsPlainText $DsmPwd -Force)

# Create the connection
$Connection = Connect-DellApiConnection -HostName $DsmHostName `
    -User $DsmUserName `
    -Password $DsmPassword

$StorageCenter = Get-DellStorageCenter -Connection $Connection -name $SCName 
$SCVersion = $StorageCenter | Select-Object Version
$SCModel = (Get-DellScController -Connection $Connection -StorageCenter $StorageCenter -InstanceName "Top Controller").model.Name.toupper()

$SanVolumeToMonitor = "MyDemoSanVolume"

#Just let the script run in a loop indefinitely.
while ($true) {
    Clear-Host
    WriteVirtualDiskVolSize
}