Thursday Aug 09, 2012

Phone Home- just like E.T.

Hmmm, still no update, so they have changed the ETA from "July" to "It will be out when it's ready". I have not heard of a new ETA, so please don't ask.

In the meantime, there are plenty of you that do not have the Automated Service Request (ASR) feature turned on for your ZFSSA systems. This is better known as "Phone Home". It's not only extremely handy and free, but it could possibly save your job and your company lots of time and money. You really, really want to turn it on. The Phone Home feature on the ZFSSA does two things. It obviously creates a support ticket with Oracle support in the event of some failure on the ZFSSA. That's good. You will see an email that this happened, and can then go track it with your account on the MOS (My Oracle Support) website. If you're wondering what issues will force an ASR, then go back and read my blog entry from last year here:

You need to make sure your ZFSSA system can get to the internet and has access through your firewalls to the following sites and ports:
1.  on port 443
2.  on port 443

The other thing it does is send heartbeats to the Oracle ASR phone home database. As a pre-sales engineer, I find this very handy for my clients. I'll show you a few screenshots below of what I can see in the phone home database for my clients. This lets me keep track of minor, major, and critical issues my customers are having with their ZFSSA systems. I can see how their storage pools are setup and if they are becoming too full. This is something I like to track and keep my eye on for my customers. I will offer to create summary reports for them on a monthly basis to help them keep track of their systems, as many of them don't look at them very often or have too many other things to worry about. Your local Storage SC can also access this database and show you what he or she sees for your systems on Phone Home.

Here is where you setup Phone Home in the ZFSSA BUI interface:

Here is an example of what I can see in the Phone Home database. 

In this example, just lower down on the same screen, you can see the list of issues this system has had over the years, and a click will get you more detail. This system had some hard drives replaced in January, and one in May, but nothing of note since then. Many of the other 'Major' alerts you see below were actually just cluster peer takeovers done for testing and upgrades.

Thursday Jul 28, 2011

ASR- Automated Service Request - AKA "Phone Home"

Many of you know that the 7000 family (and pretty much every piece of hardware Oracle sells) has a built-in feature called ASR, or Automated Service Request.

In the past, you may have called this "Phone-Home" or some other name, but basically it's all the same. Something goes wrong on the box, and a signal is sent to Oracle to alert us that there's an issue. Now, this isn’t magic. YOU have to setup ASR on the box correctly or this will not work. The 7000 walks you through this setup during the initial install of the box, but if you skip it, you can always go back and set it up later. Just go to Configuration, Services, Phone Home.

Would you like to know what issues DO send a signal? This website has documentation for Oracle ASR, and at the bottom of the page you’ll see docs for “Fault Coverage Information” for a variety of products, including our 7000 & 6000 storage families. The 7000 is obvious, and the 6000 & 2000 families are under the one titled “Common Array Manager (CAM)”.

Now, once you open up the 7000 document, you will see about 15 pages of issues that will create an ASR if they occur (and ASR is setup properly). The many links inside the document are only useful if you are either and Oracle employee or have a proper MOS login account. If you don’t, and you would like more info on one, please speak to your friendly, neighborhood Oracle storage SC, and they’ll be happy to look some up for you.

It’s pretty important to setup ASR, if you haven’t already. Not only will the system be able to quickly let us know when there’s a major problem, but it also generates a heartbeat with our Oracle support team, and gives them monthly status updates about your system.  There is a comprehensive privacy statement that goes along with this, and Oracle’s lawyers are pretty good at assuring you that this is safe and no private data is collected. I can show you the actual data collected in these reports, if you like. They are very useful. Not only can your local SC use these reports to help you plan for firmware updates and storage capacity use, but will also, in the future, be able to automatically inform you when important bug fixes or system updates come out. If you’re not on ASR, you’re on your own and will most probably miss many of these updates, and your local team will not see your systems in the status reports, so will not even know you have a 7000 out there for them to help you with.


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 with any comments or questions


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