DELL released Replay Manager 8.0

DELL Released Replay Manager 8.0

On September the 4th 2019 DELL released Replay Manager 8.0 for Microsoft Servers. This brings us official Windows Server 2019 support. You can download it here: https://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/04/product-support/product/storage-sc7020/drivers The Dell Replay Manager Version 8.0 Administrator’s Guide and release notes are here: https://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/04/product-support/product/storage-sc7020/docs

Replay Manager 8.0.0.13 was released early September 2019

I have Replay Manager 8.0 up and running in the lab and in production. The upgrade went fast and easy. And everything kept working as expected. The good news is that Replay Manager 8 service is compatible with the Replay Manager 7.8 Manager and vice versa. This means there was no rush to upgrade everything asap. We could do smoke testing at a releaxed pace before we upgraded all hosts.

Replay Manager 8.0 adds official support for Windows Server 2019 and Exchange Server 2019. I have tested Windows Server 2019 with Replay Manager 7.8 as well for many months. I was taking snapshots every 30 minutes for months with very few issues actually. But no we had oficial support. Replay Manager 8.0 also introduces support for SCOS 7.4.

No improvements with Hyper-V backups

Now, we don’t have SCOS 7.4 running yet. This will take another few weeks to go into general available status. But for now, with both Windows Server 2016 and 2019 host we noticed the following dissapointing behaviour with Hyper-V workloads. Replay Manager 8 still acts as a Windows Server 2012 R2 requestor (backup software) and hence isn’t as fast and effectice as it could be. I actually do not expect SCOS version 7.4 to make a difference in this. If you leverage the hardware VSS provider with backup software that does support Windows Server 2016/2019 backup mechanisms for Hyper-V this is not an issue. For that I mostly leverage Veeam Backup & Replication.

It is a missed opportunity unless I am missing something here that after so many years Replay Manager requestor still does not support Windows Server 2016/2019 native Hyper-V backups capabilities. And once again, I didn’t even mention the fact that the indivual Hyper-V VMs backups need modernization in Replay Manager to deal with VM mobility. See https://blog.workinghardinit.work/2017/06/02/testing-compellent-replay-manager-7-8/. I also won’t mention Live Volumes as I did then. Now as I leverage Replay Manager as a secondary backup method, not a primary I can live with this. But it could be so much better. I really need a chat with the PM for Replay Manager. Maybe at Dell Technologies World 2020 if I can find a sponsor for the long haul flight.

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:

$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
}

 

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.

image

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.

image

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.

# MPIO Registry Settings script
# This script will apply recommended Dell Storage registry settings
# on Windows Server 2008 R2 or newer
#
# THIS CODE IS MADE AVAILABLE AS IS, WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.
# THE ENTIRE RISK OF THE USE OR THE RESULTS FROM THE USE OF THIS CODE
# REMAINS WITH THE USER.
# Assign variables

$MpioRegPath = "HKLM:\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\mpio\Parameters"
$IscsiRegPath = "HKLM:\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\"
#DIDIER adaption to 2 leading zeros instead of 3 as 0010 and 0011 would not be
#found otherwise.This makes the assumption you won't exceed 0099 which is a
#safer #assumption, but you could argue that this should even be only one
#leading zero as 999 is #an even #safer assumption.
$IscsiRegPath += "{4d36e97b-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}\00*"

# General settings
Set-ItemProperty -Path $MpioRegPath -Name "PDORemovePeriod" -Value 120
Set-ItemProperty -Path $MpioRegPath -Name "PathRecoveryInterval" -Value 25
Set-ItemProperty -Path $MpioRegPath -Name "UseCustomPathRecoveryInterval" -Value 1
Set-ItemProperty -Path $MpioRegPath -Name "PathVerifyEnabled" -Value 1

# Apply OS-specific general settings
$OsVersion = ( Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_OperatingSystem ).Caption
If ( $OsVersion -match "Windows Server 2008 R2" )
{
New-ItemProperty –Path $MpioRegPath –Name "DiskPathCheckEnabled" –Value 1 –PropertyType DWORD –Force
New-ItemProperty –Path $MpioRegPath –Name "DiskPathCheckInterval" –Value 25 –PropertyType DWORD –Force
}
Else
{
Set-ItemProperty –Path $MpioRegPath –Name "DiskPathCheckInterval" –Value 25
}

# iSCSI settings
If ( ( Get-Service -Name "MSiSCSI" ).Status -eq "Running" )
{
# Get the registry path for the Microsoft iSCSI initiator parameters
$IscsiParam = Get-Item -Path $IscsiRegPath | Where-Object { ( Get-ItemProperty $_.PSPath ).DriverDesc -eq "Microsoft iSCSI Initiator"} | Get-ChildItem | Where-Object { $_.PSChildName -eq "Parameters" }

# Set the Microsoft iSCSI initiator parameters
Set-ItemProperty -Path $IscsiParam.PSPath -Name "MaxRequestHoldTime" -Value 90
Set-ItemProperty -Path $IscsiParam.PSPath -Name "LinkDownTime" -Value 35
Set-ItemProperty -Path $IscsiParam.PSPath -Name "EnableNOPOut" -Value 1
}
Else
{
Write-Host "iSCSI Service is not running."
Write-Host "iSCSI registry settings have NOT been configured."
}

Write-Host "MPIO registry settings have been configured successfully."
Write-Host "The system must be restarted for the changes to take effect."