BNA 14.4.1 upgrade to DELLEMC CMCNE 14.4.4

Introduction

What is a BNA 14.4.1 upgrade to DELLEMC CMCNE 14.4.4 you might ask? If you are managing a Fibre Channel fabric it is quite common to have Brocade switches running. In that case, I hope you have moved on from the Java web client to the free version of Broadcom Network Assistant (BNA). The free client was not the best end-user experience and gave us a lot of hassle just to keep running. See Manage Your Brocade Fibre Channel Switch with recent Java & browser versions.

BNA works better in a modern environment. It offers more functionality and provides for better and easier user experience. BNA itself is on the way out (EOL 2022) and will be replaced with SANNav as the Java runtime sage is reaching a point where just about the entire world has decided it is unsustainable as a future approach to management tools.

But that will take a while and we need a basic free tool to get the job done. Sure older versions still work but staying up to date is a good thing. On top of that, one of the most annoying things about BNA was the lack of support for Windows Server 2016/2019. Well BNA 14.4.4 solved that issue. So let’s upgrade! Well,l it turns out we need to do an upgrade from BNA 14.4.1 upgrade to DELLEMC CMCNE 14.4.4. Let me explain that.

Finding Brocade Network Analyzer 14.4.4

On the Brocade site, the downloads for BNA 14.4.4 are darn near impossible to find or you don’t have access to them. And if you google for that you’ll find a lot of people trying but failing to find it. It is also there that you will find the information that BNA will be replaced.

The good news is that as a DELL customer you can normally download the OEM branded version of this software. In the past, this used to be found at https://portal.broadcom.com/web/support/dell but that is no longer there. Today in the DELLEMC world, this is called Connectrix Manager – Converged Network Edition.

We are looking for version 14.4.4 and yes on the DELL website (you need to create an acount to login) you will find it at https://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/04/product-support/product/connectrix-manager-converged-network-edition/drivers. You want 14.4.4 as it supports Windows Server 2016/2019 but also because it fixes some issues with 14.4.3.

BNA 14.4.2 upgrade to DELLEMC CMCNE 14.4.4
Connectrix Manager – Converged Network Edition 14.4.4

So we download it and we start our upgrade process. 14.4.4 fixed an issue with 14.4.3 that causes issues with importing an existing config by the way. So use 14.4.4.

The install process in pictures

Run the installer
BNA 14.4.1 upgrade to DELLEMC CMCNE 14.4.4
Click Next
Accept the EULA
Accept default install path or choose a custom one
BNA 14.4.1 upgrade to DELLEMC CMCNE 14.4.4
If you’re happy with your choice, click install to continue
Be patient while the setup runs.
BNA 14.4.1 upgrade to DELLEMC CMCNE 14.4.4
Done! Leave the checkbox marked to launch the CMCNE Configuration

The upgrade process in pictures

BNA 14.4.1 upgrade to DELLEMC CMCNE 14.4.4
The wizard will run you through the upgrade process. For an existing installation, you will accept to leave everything as it was. This depends on your needs.
BNA 14.4.1 upgrade to DELLEMC CMCNE 14.4.4
Be patient.
Be even more patient
Click next to continue with the data migration process.
Select the appropriate license.
I accept the defaults
I have no preference
Change if needed, otherwise, go with the defaults
If your company policy allows it, you can opt into the improvement program.
BNA 14.4.1 upgrade to DELLEMC CMCNE 14.4.4
Yup, all looks fine, click Next
Kick of the migration. Pay attention to the remark about the services window that must be closed. Also, note that the client might not start immediately as the service has to be up and running first.
BNA 14.4.1 upgrade to DELLEMC CMCNE 14.4.4
Migrating and initializing the database
Just cleaning up here.
Log in! Note you might want to wait a while to make sure the service has started.
Success! Now you can also upgrade your virtual machine from W2K12R2 to W2K19.

That’s it. You performed a BNA 14.4.1 upgrade to DELLEMC CMCNE 14.4.4

Upgrade to Windows Server 2019

Finally, we upgrade the virtual machine OS to Windows Server 2019. With 14.4.4 this is possible and we can get rid of the legacy OS we had to introduce or keep around just to run BNA. Good news all around.

Success, we have 14.4.4 running on our Windows Server 2019 management virtual machine.

Conclusion

You can become happy consultants or customers. By installing BNA 14.4.4 you keep your network fabric management software up to date. Last but not least, you can upgrade the OS version of the virtual machines running it to Windows Server 2019. This will keep us going for a couple of years in a modern, secure and capable environment until the successor is clear and available to all. I hope this helps some of you out.

Licensed Replay Manager Node Reports being unlicensed

Licensed Replay Manager Node Reports being unlicensed

I was doing a hardware refresh on a bunch of Hyper-V clusters. This meant deploying many new DELL PowerEdge R740 servers. In this scenario, we leverage SC Series SC7020 AFA arrays. These come with Replay Manager software which we use for the hardware VSS provider. On one of the replaced nodes, we ran into an annoying issue. Annoying in the fact that the licensed Replay Manager Node reports being unlicensed in the node’s application event log. The application consistent replays do work on that node. But we always get the following error in the application event log:

Product is not licensed. Use Replay Manager Explorer ‘Configure Server’ or  PowerShell command ‘Add-RMLicenseInfo’ to activate product license.

Product is not licensed. Use Replay Manager Explorer 'Configure Server' or  PowerShell command 'Add-RMLicenseInfo' to activate product license.

On the Replay Manager Explorer, we just see that everything is fine and licensed. Via the GUI or via PowerShell we could not find a way to “re-license” an already installed server node.

What we tried but did not help

This is not a great situation the be in, therefore we need to fix it. First of all we removed the problematic node from Replay Manager explorer and tried to re-add it. That did not help to be able to relicense it. Uninstalling the service on the problematic node also did not work. Doing both didn’t fix it either. We need another approach.

The fix

The trick to fixing the licensed Replay Manager Node reports being unlicensed is as follows. Stop the “Dell Storage Replay Manager Service” service.

Delete (or rename if you want to be careful) the Compellent folder under C:\ProgramData

Restart the “Dell Storage Replay Manager Service” service. As a result you will see the folder and the files inside being regenerated. Wait until the temp files (ReplayManager.db-shm and ReplayManager.db-wal) of this process are gone.

Open up Replay Manager Explorer or relaunch it for good measure if still open. Connect to the problematic node. Navigate to “Configure Server” On the license tab it reports that it is unlicensed. Now enter the license code and request confirmation (Activate via Internet) or Activate via phone.

The node is now licensed again.

The node is licensed again. The system needs to be configured.

The image above shows the node is licensed again. You now need to configure the system again because that info is lost. For that, enter the username and password for your SC Arrays and add the correct node.

We now test creating a replay! Most importantly, we check the node’s application event log. The error Product is not licensed. Use Replay Manager Explorer ‘Configure Server’ or  PowerShell command ‘Add-RMLicenseInfo’ to activate product license. has gone!

We only see the 3 informational entries (prepared, committed, successful) associated with a successful and completed replay.

Above all, I hope this helps others who run into this.

Windows Server 2019 SMB Direct Best Practices

Windows Server 2019 SMB Direct Best Practices

The Hyper-V amigos, @Hypervserver and working@workinghardinithardinit recently did a webinar together about Windows Server 2019 SMB Direct Best Practices. We also discuss some trends and put some things into perspective. Rachfahl IT Solutions does more of these cool webinars for you to check out (see the info at the end of the video). You can watch the webinar below on Vimeo. It’s quite an honor to be invited to talk on this subject as Carsten is one the worlds most experienced S2D practitioners.

Windows Server 2019 SMB Direct Best Pratices Webinar

Need to know more?

I hope this get’s you started and updated. Need to know more? Want more details, advice and a deeper and more elaborate discussion. I will be talking about this on various occasions this year. One of them is the Cloud & Datacenter Conference Germany 2019 in Hanau. Register to secure your spot. It is a great conference with a lot of hands on, real life knowledge being shard. I will be around for the Hyper-V pre day and during the entire conference. This means you can find me to talk shop. Be warned, I can go one about the subject or a while

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.