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.

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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.

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Click OK to continue and just follow the wizard.

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It will ask you to confirm you want to upgrade.

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Click yes and follow the wizard.

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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

Which gives …

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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.

 

Dell SC Series MPIO Registry Settings script

Introduction

When  you’re using DELL Compellent (SC Series) storage you might be leveraging the  Dell SC Series MPIO Registry Settings script they give you to set the recommended settings. That’s a nice little script you can test, verify and adapt to integrate into your set up scripts. You can find it in the Dell EMC SC Series Storage and Microsoft Multipath I/O

Dell SC Series MPIO Registry Settings script

Recently I was working with a new deployment ( 7.2.40) to test and verify it in a lab environment. The lab cluster nodes had a lot of NIC & FC HBA to test all kinds of possible scenarios Microsoft Windows Clusters, S2D, Hyper-V, FC and iSCSI etc. The script detected the iSCSI service but did not update any setting but did throw errors.

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After verifying things in the registry myself it was clear that the entries for the Microsoft iSCSI Initiator that the script is looking for are there but the script did not pick them up.

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Looking over the script it became clear quickly what the issue was. The variable $IscsiRegPath = “HKLM:\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4d36e97b-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}\000*” has 3 leading zeros out of a max of 4 characters. This means that if the Microsoft iSCSI Initiator info is in 0009 it get’s picked up but not when it is in 0011 for example.

So I changed that to only 2 leading zeros. This makes the assumption you won’t exceed 0099 which is a safer assumption, but you could argue this should even be only one leading zero as 999 is an even safer assumption.

$IscsiRegPath = “HKLM:\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4d36e97b-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}\00*”

I’m sharing the snippet with my adaptation here in case you want it. As always I assume nu responsibility for what you do with the script or the outcomes in your environment. Big boy rules apply.

 

Cosmetic Issue on DELL PowerEdge servers with iDRAC firmware 2.52.52.52

UPDATE August 17th 2018: iDRAC firmware 2.60.60.60 has been released and I can confirm this fixes the cosmetic issue mentioned in this post. It’s a significant release it seems form the read me content, also for security, so test it and deploy when ready.

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Just a head up to people who might notice the following on their DELL PowerEdge servers after updating to iDRAC firmware 2.52.52.52. I have seen it on DELL generation 12 and 13 servers (R720/730) myself.  I noticed 4 Mas Storage Function devices under “Other devices” after the installation. Before a reboot there are 4.

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While not needed for the iDRAC firmware upgrade I did try a reboot. It is still there after a reboot, but we’re down to 2 now.

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The device instant path and other properties show for both of these

USB \ VID_0624 & PID_0251 \ 20120731-1
USB \ VID_0624 & PID_0252 \ 20120731-2

and the USB and ID points to iDRAC remote virtual devices. Dell support confirmed this is a benign cosmetic bug with not performance or stability issues. It should be resolved in the next firm ware upgrade for the iDRAC.