Manage Your Brocade Fibre Channel Switch with recent Java & browser versions

Introduction

I was in the process of setting up a new jump server a management station server virtual machine on Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V. The guest was also Windows Server 2016 (desktop install). That station needed to be used to manage some aging Brocade fibre channel switches. With the default setting and links this will give you some headaches and some solution require you to keep older and insecure browser or java versions installed. We’ll show you how to get GUI access to your FC switches without needing to do that so you can manage your Brocade Fibre channel switch with recent Java & browser versions. Well not all of them, but it can be done with IE 11 and Firefox 52.0.1 (at the time of writing).

Another solution is to use the CLI naturally.

Manage Your Brocade Fibre Channel Switch with recent Java & browser versions

It’s OK to use the most recent Java version available. At the moment that I wrote this blog post that was Java 1.8.0.121. I can’t give guarantees other than that, but for now that does work.

Instead of navigating to http or https to just the IP address which will send you to https://x.x..x.x/switchexplorer you need to create a shortcut link to the following: https://10.30.2.2/switchexplorer_installed.html (or http://10.30.2.2/switchexplorer_installed.html if you have not enabled https on your switch).

Like this:

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I normally change the icon to the shortcut to indicate it’s pointing to a network device. I actually created some ico files based on an image of brocades Fibre Channel switches that I use for this. I just place then under C:\Programdata\BrocadeFC for safe keeping together with a cop of the short cuts. On the management station, I add them to the desktop for easy access. Below is a screenshot of my Windows 10 or Windows Server 2016 (Desktop Experience) management station.

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But we’re not there yet. You need to go to Java configuration and select the Security Tab. Make sure Enable Java Content in the browser is enabled. Leave the security at high but don’t forget to add the IP addresses of your Brocade switch to the Exception Site List.

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You’ll need to add http or https or both depending on your situation. I think we can all agree we should go for https in this day and age.

In Firefox when you launch the shortcut you’ll get asked what app to use for opening this file.

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Make sure you point it to javaws.exe (in C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre1.8.0_121\bin) if that’s not the case.

clip_image007Also, check to “Do this automatically for files like this from now on” for faster access during normal operations.

In Internet Explorer allow the add-on “Java SE Runtime Environment 8 Update 121 from Oracle America Inc.” to run.

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When it comes to Chrome, this doesn’t’ work anymore. See https://www.java.com/en/download/faq/chrome.xml

When the application is launched, depending on the age of the fibre channel switch and the version of the firmware you’ll be greeted by a more or less harsh security warning.

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Check the “I accept the risk and want to run this application” or “Do not show this again for this app from the publisher above” depending on the case. This also allows for easy access the next time you launch the shortcut. The app will launch and you’ll be greeted by the login screen.

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Juts log in and there’s nothing more to it. You can now manage your FC switches from Firefox again.

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Hope this helps some of you out there that come across this issue.

Off Host Backup Jobs with Veeam and Replay Manager 7.8

It’s all about application consistent hardware VSS provider snapshots

I was browsing to see if I could already download Replay Manager 7.8 for our Compellent (SC) SANs. No luck yet, but I did find the release notes. There was a real gem in there on Off Host Backup Jobs with Veeam and Replay Manager 7.8. We’ll get back to that after the big deal here.

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So what kind of goodness is in there? Well obviously there is the way too long overdue support for Windows Server 2016, including the Hyper-V role and its features. That is great news. We now have application consistent hardware VSS provider snapshots.I do not know what took them so long but they need to get with the program here. I have given this a s feedback before and again at DELL EMC World 2017 The Compellent still is one of the best “traditional” centralized storage SAN solutions out there hat punches fare above its weight. On top of that, having looked at Unity form DELL EMC, I can tell you that in my humble opinion the Compellent has no competition from it.

Off Host Backup Jobs Veeam Replay Manager 7.8

Equally interesting to me, as someone who leverages Compellent and Veeam Baclup & Replication with Off Host Proxies (I wrote FREE WHITE PAPER: Configuring a VEEAM Off Host Backup Proxy Server for backing up a Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V cluster with a DELL Compellent SAN (Fiber Channel))  is the following. Under fixed Issues is found:

RMS-24 Off-host backup jobs might fail during the volume discover scan when using Veeam backup software.

I have Off host proxies with transportable snapshots working pretty smooth but it has the occasional hiccup. Maybe some of those will disappear with Replay Manager 7.8. I’m looking forward to putting that to the test and roll forward with Windows Server 2016 for those nodes where we need and want to leverage the Compellent Hardware VSS provider. When I do I’ll let you know the results.

DELL EMC World 2017 Concludes

Today DELL EMC World 2017 ends with a dinner with DELL EMC management and engineers to discus our impressions on the information we took away from DELL EMC World 2017. I would like to thank the ever hard working Sarah Vela for making this possible. It’s much appreciated.

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Professionally I’m blessed with multiple opportunities to attend conferences and summits. That’s where I get to talk to the skilled and passionate people who work on the technologies we work with intensively. This is very much a two way street where we learn from each other. And on many conferences I might also be a speaker or participate in advisory boards to provide feedback. Some of those latter discussions are under NDA. This is normal and I have NDA’s with other companies as well. That’s the legal side of the trust we place in each other in order to discuss evolving and future technologies.

I attend multiple events from different players. Some of these disagree with me and that is fine. We learn from being challenged. It helps us define more clearly what we design and build as well as why and how. More and more solutions become a more diverse, multi pronged combination of components with their specific capabilities at our disposal. These change fast and so do our solutions. An element not to be ignored in designing those solutions. That’s one take away from DELL EMC world that seems to have hit home. The other is that some companies are in a rather dire IT condition due to years of stand still.

I’m happy to see that today and tomorrow DELL EMC has the technologies needed for us to deliver modern IT solutions. The way in which we choose to do so is our choice and DELL EMC states it is committed to supporting that. As a testimonial to that we got to see the the DELL EMC Storage Spaces Direct Ready nodes based on the soon to be available generation 14 PowerEdge servers.

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That is how we worked for many years with DELL and we have been assured we can continue to work with DELL EMC. That what Michael Dell committed to and I have seen them deliver on that promise for many years. For me that’s enough to be confident in that until proven different. Even if that message was sometimes brought in a way that made me think Las Vegas had gotten the better of some conference managers. But let’s not get the form in the way of the content.

On a final note, Dell EMC is not anti public cloud or pro on-premises. That’s how it should be and that how we deliver IT. We use the tools at our disposal to build the best possible solutions we can. What we use depends on the needs and changes as technology evolves. That’s OK. Saying you need hardware doesn’t make you a cloud hater or vice versa. The world is not that simple.

Full or Thick Provisioned Volume on Compellent

Introduction

There are pundits out there that claim that you cannot create a fully provisioned LUN on a Compellent SAN.  Now that what I call unsubstantiated rumors, better know as bull shit.

Sure the magic sauce of many modern storage array lies in thin provisioning. Let there be no mistake about that. But there are scenarios where you might want to leverage a fully provisioned volume. This is also know a s thick provisioned LUN. You can read about one such a scenario where they make perfect sense in this blog post Mind the UNMAP Impact On Performance In Certain Scenarios

Create a  Full or Thick Provisioned Volume on Compellent

First of all you create brand new volume in the Storage Center System Explorer. That’s a standard as it gets.

You then map this volume to a server

At that moment, before you even mount that volume on your server let alone do anything else such a bringing it on line or formatting it you’ll “Preallocate Storage” for that volume in Storage Center.

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You’ll get a warning as this is not a default action and you should only do so when the conditions of the IO warrant this.

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When you continue you’ll get some feedback. This can take quite some time depending on the size of the volume.

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When it’s done peek at the statistics of that full or this provisioned volume on the Compellent.This is what it looks like when you look at the statistics for that volume after is was done. So before we even formatted the volume on a server and wrote data to it. It’s using all the space on the SAN for the start.

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Due to data protection it’s even more. It’s clear form the image above that a 500GB disk in RAID 10 fully provisioned is using 1TB of space as its all still in RAID 10 (no tiering down has occurred yet). Raid 10 has an overhead factor 2. The volume is for a large part in Tier 2 because my Tier 1 is full, so writing spilled over into Tier 2.

Now compare this to a thinly provisioned volume that we just created and again we haven’t even touched it in any other way.

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Yup, until we actually write data to the volume it’s highly space efficient, there is absolutely no spaces use and we’ll see only a little when we mount, initialize the disk in Windows, create a simple volume and format it.image

This is completely in Tier 2 and my tier 1 is full. I accept donations of SANs and SSD’s for my lab it this bothers you Winking smile. When we write data to it you’ll see this rise and over time you’ll see it tier down and up as well.