Wednesday Oct 23, 2013

Replication with AK8

Hello folks,

This came up today and I want to make sure it's clear.

Remember the "deferred update" I spoke about in my "Upgrade to AK8" entry just a bit ago? It's important to understand that this deferred update changes the way replication works. It is necessary that systems with the deferred update applied only replicate with other systems that have also had this deferred update applied. So if you apply it, your system can NOT replicate with ANY other system that has NOT had it applied, even if that other system is running AK8!!! Got it???

Remember, we do have a new version of the 2011 code for the older systems that do not want to upgrade to AK8. This 2011.1.8 code ALSO HAS this same deferred update in it. So, if you upgrade your system to AK8, and then apply the deferred update, and you have another system running either 2011.1.8 or AK8, you can replicate with them again once they apply the deferred update for multiple initiator groups. Yes, even if you're not using LUNs. Here is what it looks like if you try. It will fail.

Wednesday Oct 16, 2013

OS8- AK8- The bad news...

Ok I told you I would give you the bad news of AK8 to go along with all the cool new stuff, so here it is. It's not that bad, really, just things you need to be aware of.

First, the 2013.1 code is being called OS8, AK8 and 2013.1 by different people. I mean different people INSIDE Oracle!! It was supposed to be easy, but it never is. So for the rest of this blog entry, I'm calling it AK8.

AK8 is not compatible with the 7x10 series. Ever. The 7x10 series is not supported with AK8, and if you try to upgrade one, it will fail at the healthcheck.

All 7x20 series, all of them regardless of age, are supported with AK8.

Drive trays. Let's talk about drive trays and SAS cards. The older drive trays for the 7x20 series were called the "Riverwalk 2" or "DS2" trays. They were technically the "J4410" series JBODs that Sun used to sell a la carte before we stopped selling JBODs. Don't get me started on that, it still makes me mad. We used these for many years, and you can still buy them right now until December 15th, 2013, when they will no longer be sold. The DS2 tray only came as a 4u, 24 drive shelf. It held 3.5" drives, and you had a choice of 2TB, 3TB, 300GB or 600GB drives. The SAS HBA in the 7x20 series was called a "Thebe" card, with a part # of 7105394. The 7420, for example, came standard with two of these "Thebe" cards for connecting to the disk trays. Two Thebe cards could handle up to 12 trays, so one would add two more cards to go to 24 trays, or have up to six Thebe cards to handle 36 trays. This card was for external SAS only. It did not connect to the internal OS drives or the Readzillas, both of which used the internal SCSI controller of the server.

These Riverwalk 2 trays ARE supported with AK8. You can upgrade your older 7420 or 7320, no problem, as-is. The much older Riverwalk 1 trays or J4400 trays are NOT supported by AK8. However, they were only used by the 7x10 series, and we already said that the 7x10 series was not supported.

Here's where it gets tricky. Since last January, we have been selling the new style disk trays. We call them the "DE2-24P" and the "DE2-24C" trays. The "C" tray is for capacity drives, which are 3.5" 3TB or 4TB drives. The "P" trays are for performance drives, which are 2.5" 300GB and 900GB drives. These trays are NOT Riverwalk 2 trays, even though the "C" series may kind of look like it. Different manufacturer and different firmware. They are not new. Like I said, we've been selling them with the 7x20 series since last January. They are the only disk trays we will be selling going forward. Of course, AK8 supports them.

So what's the problem? The problem is going to be for people who have to mix drive trays.

Remember, your older 7x20 series has Thebe SAS2 HBAs. These have 2 SAS ports per card.  The new ZS3-2 and ZS3-4 systems, however, have the new "Thebe2" SAS2 HBAs. These Thebe2 cards have 4 ports per card. This is very cool, as we can now do more SAS channels with less cards. Instead of needing 4 SAS cards to grow to 24 trays like we did with the old Thebe cards, I can now do 24 trays with only 2 Thebe2 cards. This means more IO slots for fun things like Infiniband and 10G. So far, so good, right? These Thebe2 cards work with any disk tray. You can even mix older DS2 trays with the newer DE2 trays in the same system, as long as you have Thebe2 cards.

Ah, there's your problem. You don't have Thebe2 cards in your old 7420, do you? Well, I told you the bad news wasn't that bad, right? We can take out your Thebe cards and replace them with Thebe2. You can then plug your older DS2 trays right back in, and also now get newer DE2 trays going forward. However, it's important that the trays are on different SAS channels. You can mix them in the same system, but not on the same channel. Ask your local SC if you need help with the new cable layout. By the way, the new ZS3-2 and ZS3-4 systems also include a new IO card called "Erie" cards. These are for INTERNAL SAS to the OS drives and the Readzillas. So those are now SAS2 instead of SATA like the older models. Yes, the Erie card uses an IO slot, but that's OK, because the Thebe2 cards allow us to use less SAS HBAs to grow the system, right?

That's it. Not too much bad news and really not that bad. AK8 does not support the 7x10 series, and you may need new Thebe2 cards in your older systems if you want to add on newer DE2 trays. I think we can all agree that there are worse things out there. Like our Congress.  

Next up.... More good news and cool AK8 tricks. Such as virtual NICS. 

Friday Oct 11, 2013

Do you want to upgrade to AK8 (2013.1) right now?

Ok, so you will hear some great stuff about AK8, but are you going to upgrade your production system to a new major release right after it comes out? Probably not. If you have a test system or a lab system you can play with, then I highly recommend upgrading it so you can start to see the new performance features that AK8 can give you. If you only have one system, or they're all in production, then of course you're going to wait for the first minor release of the new code, aren't you? I would too. I'm told the first minor is coming out in just a few weeks. It is the release they used for the public benchmark performance testing. So you can feel more confident in that release. You may also be able to talk to your local sales team about getting a demo unit. Then, you can play with the new code in a safe lab area before upgrading your production system.

Next up... The negative aspects of upgrading to AK8. It's not too bad, but you will need to know which older systems can't do it, how to work with older disk trays, and whether or not you can replicate newer systems with older systems. 

Hey, I told you I wasn't just going to blow sunshine on you all the time, right? I can spit out the kool-aid as well as drink it!  :)

Thursday Oct 10, 2013

Upgrading to OS8 - AK8- 2013.1

The upgrade to OS8, AK8 or whatever we are calling it this week was pretty straightforward. It will take some extra time, as it has to perform some one-time jobs the first time it reboots, but it wasn't more than 15 minutes. Your mileage may vary, it's possible on larger systems that it takes longer. There is also a deferred update I will show you down below that you can choose to do right away or later. Once you do that deferred update, you do NOT want to roll back to the previous version, so be warned. 

It's been over 1.5 years since the last major update, so many of you probably have never done one before. The process is just like a minor update, it just takes longer. 

1 Get the update from MOS and unzip it to a folder. Go ahead and upload it and unpack it like normal from your Maintenance-->System screen. I did like how it tried to tell me how much time was left, but the numbers were all over the place, and it was over by the time it was correct.

Now, when you click the arrow to apply the update, the normal health check window appears, but you will notice something extra. That's the 'Deferred Update' choice. You can make it apply as soon as it reboots, or you can manually apply it later. Remember, you do NOT want to rollback after this is applied. I did "Upon Request", click the "Check" button, and if all is well, click "Apply" 

After it installs and reboots, you can look at the command line via serial port or SSH. You will notice a few things are different during this boot-up.

Right after the "Updating ####" section you can see it actually upgrading various services and the SMF repository. This can take around 3 minutes, but if you have a lot of aggragations or IPMP then it could take longer. So relax. You can see mine, below, which went 290 seconds, and then continued upgrading other stuff.

 The upgrade continues, and the screen is pretty obvious.

 When you see it configuring network devices, you're almost done. You can see the new code level, and it's about to go to the login prompt. At that point, you should be able to log back into the BUI.

 Log back into the BUI, and you will see the new version is the current version in Maintenance-->System

Now, let's do the deferred update on the same screen.

You can read about the deferred updates here, and click apply when ready to add them. In this case, it's for the ability to associate multiple initiator groups with a LUN, something we have wanted for some time now, so very cool. Note that ANY other deferred updates you have not applied yet will also apply, as there is no way to pick and choose. Either they all apply or none do. Remember I said not to roll-back to a previous version of the code after you do this? It will let you, but if you do, your LUN operations will fail. No bueno. Don't do it. The deferred upgrades are one-way.

Note that the deferred update does NOT force a reboot. 

Once you apply the deferred updates, the whole deferred update area goes away, and the screen now looks like this. 

Do you want to see something cool right away now in OS8 that you could not do before? There's a lot I will talk about later, but for now, since you're so excited, go to Configuration-->Alerts, and create a new Threshold Alert. Notice the new Capacity threshold alerts, where you can now get emails or create an action when a pool, and project, or a share goes over, say, 80% full. Sweet.

Tuesday Oct 08, 2013

AK8- OS8- 2013.1- New major release code is available NOW

Well, they said it would be release on October 8th, and they did not disappoint.

The new code, internally called 2013.1.0.1 and what marketing is calling ZFSSA OS8 or AK8 is out now. Download from MOS.

The numerous updates are  hard to all get a handle on at once. This readme file will help: https://wikis.oracle.com/display/FishWorks/ak-2013.1.0.1+Release+Notes

I will be loading it, playing with it, and showing some of my favorite things coming up soon, as in the next few days.

Much of the improvements are what you can not see, such as the improved ARC and RAID benefits. 

Lots to talk about. Especially if you need to mix trays. Be careful. Read the file. Stay tuned. 

About

This blog is a way for Steve to send out his tips, ideas, links, and general sarcasm. Almost all related to the Oracle 7000, code named ZFSSA, or Amber Road, or Open Storage, or Unified Storage. You are welcome to contact Steve.Tunstall@Oracle.com with any comments or questions

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