Archive for July, 2014

Is your site ready for an EMC Isilon cluster?

Kirsten Gantenbein

Kirsten Gantenbein

Principal Content Strategist at EMC Isilon Storage Division
Kirsten Gantenbein
Kirsten Gantenbein

If you’re in the market for a new data storage solution, such as an EMC® Isilon® scale-out network attached storage (NAS) system, you’ve probably done a good amount of research to determine which solution will best meet your needs.

One important area of research is determining if your data center is ready for an EMC Isilon cluster. The Isilon Site Preparation and Planning Guide (login with an EMC Community Network account required) can help answer important questions about how to prepare a data center infrastructure for new Isilon equipment. Designed for system administrators or facility managers, this guide offers specific information about environmental and power requirements for data centers.

The information in this guide extends beyond providing site requirements. It’s also a useful reference for selecting equipment and preparing for the arrival and set up of your new cluster.

Selecting the right equipment

EMC Isilon NodesThe Isilon Site Preparation and Planning Guide is a singular resource for specifications and recommendations about all the equipment that makes up an Isilon cluster.

For example, this guide includes specifications for the following:

  • Nodes: Get specs on storage capacity, dimensions, and more for all supported nodes including S210, S200, X200, X410, X400, NL400, and A100 accelerator nodes.
  • Rack cabinets: Learn about standard storage racks requirements and delivery dimensions.
  • Cables: Get recommendations for managing InfiniBand and Cat 5 cables. For demonstrations of proper cable management, watch the EMC Isilon Site Preparation and Planning: Cabling video.

Installing your cluster

For an overview of cluster installation basics, such as topology, node positioning, and planning for expansion or service needs, watch the EMC Isilon Site Preparation and Planning: Cluster Installation video.

To help you with the installation process, Isilon Professional Services can assist you with setting up your new Isilon cluster to meet the needs of your specific workflows. The Isilon Site Preparation and Planning Guide provides a list of what to consider when first installing your cluster, which you can review with your Professional Services account representative:

  • Which version of the Isilon OneFS® operating system to install on the cluster
  • Network connectivity details, including IP ranges, for your cluster nodes, client, and InfiniBand networks
  • DNS configuration details, including name servers and search lists
  • Directory services such as Active Directory, LDAP, NIS, or local user groups
  • File sharing protocols such as SMB and NFS, and advanced file sharing options
  • Data protection levels, anti-virus solutions, NDMP backup, and auditing
  • Cluster alert solutions such as ESRS and SNMP monitoring

For more complete information on these topics, read the Isilon Site Preparation and Planning Guide.

Start a conversation about Isilon content

Have a question or feedback about Isilon content? Visit the online EMC Isilon Community to start a discussion. If you have questions or feedback about this blog, send an email to isi.knowledge@emc.com. To provide documentation feedback or request new content, send an email to isicontent@emc.com.

 

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How EMC Isilon storage improves performance for EDA workflows

Kirsten Gantenbein

Kirsten Gantenbein

Principal Content Strategist at EMC Isilon Storage Division
Kirsten Gantenbein
Kirsten Gantenbein

200248437-001To develop the chips that go inside advanced technologies, such as smartphones and personal computers, engineers often rely on electronic design automation (EDA) software tools for chip design and testing.

As EDA projects and designs increase in complexity, the amount of project data increases as well. Similar to most industries, the EDA industry is facing challenges with managing the exponential growth of unstructured data while optimizing performance and storage efficiency.

The new technical white paper, “EMC Isilon NAS: Performance at Scale for Electronic Design Automation,” highlights how Isilon scale-out network attached storage (NAS) can alleviate the bottlenecks and inefficient use of storage space for EDA workflows running on traditional storage systems. The primary audience for this white paper includes engineers and executives working in the EDA industry. However, anyone that uses workflows requiring high levels of concurrent running jobs may also find this white paper to be useful.

For example, during the frontend phase of the EDA digital design workflow, EDA applications read and compile millions of small source files to build and simulate chip design. Jobs are typically run concurrently against a deep and wide directory structure, which creates a large amount of metadata overheard and high CPU usage on the storage system. This white paper illustrates how Isilon scale-out storage is more effective than traditional data storage at alleviating workflow performance issues, such as:

  • Metadata access: Using a centralized metadata server can become a bottleneck. Average metadata operations for a typical EDA workflow include 65 percent metadata access, 20 percent writes, and 15 percent data reads. Isilon uses a distributed metadata architecture and can store all metadata on solid-state drives (SSDs), reducing the latency for metadata operations when running concurrent jobs. For more information about EMC® Isilon® OneFS® SSD caching, refer to the white paper, “EMC Isilon OneFS SmartFlash: File System Caching Infrastructure.”
  • Run times for concurrent jobs: All nodes in an Isilon cluster work in parallel. OneFS automatically distributes jobs using SmartConnect™ to each node instead of running all the jobs against a single controller or requiring the manual distribution of jobs to controllers. Isilon recommends that you work with an Isilon representative to determine the number of nodes that will best serve your workflow.

You can learn more about Isilon scale-out NAS architecture, storage efficiency, and data management by referring to “EMC Isilon NAS: Performance at Scale for Electronic Design Automation.”

Start a conversation about Isilon content

Have a question or feedback about Isilon content? Visit the online EMC Isilon Community to start a discussion. If you have questions or feedback about this blog, send an email to isi.knowledge@emc.com. To provide documentation feedback or request new content, send an email to isicontent@emc.com.

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Top 20 EMC Isilon support documents in June 2014

Kirsten Gantenbein

Kirsten Gantenbein

Principal Content Strategist at EMC Isilon Storage Division
Kirsten Gantenbein
Kirsten Gantenbein

One of the goals of this blog is to share the most useful EMC® Isilon® support-related content that we have to offer. In this post, we’re highlighting 20 of the most viewed knowledgebase (KB) articles and product documents from the month of June.

We hope these documents will help you to quickly find an answer to a common question or resolve an issue.

Top 10 KB articles

To access these KB articles, log in to the EMC Online Support site. Articles in bold are new to the top 10 list.

  1. OneFS 7.1.0.3 SMB and Authentication Rollup Patch (174372)
  2. OneFS 7.0.2.9: SMB and Authentication Rollup Patch (172623)
  3. Best practices for NFS client settings (90041)
  4. How to create SPN account to allow Kerberos authentication using SmartConnect DNS entries (16528)
  5. How to reset a node to factory defaults (16696)
  6. Troubleshooting performance issues (88844)
  7. Visio Stencils of Isilon Cluster Storage Systems (90170)
  8. How to configure Windows DNS for a SmartConnect zone (183530)
  9. How to reimage a node using a USB flash drive (16582)
  10. Active Directory clients cannot connect to the cluster after the machine account password is changed (169843)

 

Top 10 product documents

To access these PDF documents, log in to the EMC Online Support site. Documents in bold are new to the top 10 list.

  1. Current Isilon Software Releases
  2. Isilon Supportability and Compatibility Guide
  3. OneFS 7.1 CLI Administration Guide
  4. OneFS 7.1.0 MR Release Notes
  5. OneFS 7.1 Web Administration Guide
  6. Current Isilon OneFS patches
  7. OneFS 7.0.2 Administration Guide
  8. OneFS 7.1 Release Notes
  9. OneFS 7.0.1 Administration Guide
  10. OneFS 7.0.2 Command Reference

 

If you have questions or feedback about this blog, send an email to isi.knowledge@emc.com. To provide documentation feedback or request new content, send an email to isicontent@emc.com.

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EMC Isilon OneFS 7.1.1 is now available!

Kirsten Gantenbein

Kirsten Gantenbein

Principal Content Strategist at EMC Isilon Storage Division
Kirsten Gantenbein
Kirsten Gantenbein

The latest release of the EMC® Isilon® OneFS operating system is now available!

This blog post summarizes noteworthy new features of OneFS 7.1.1, highlights new OneFS 7.1.1 documentation, and provides steps for upgrading to OneFS 7.1.1.

New OneFS 7.1.1 features and enhancements

High-level technical overviews for several OneFS 7.1.1 new features and enhancements are provided below. They’re grouped together by the types of benefits they provide, such as performance improvement and security. Refer to OneFS 7.1.1 Release Notes and Technical Overview of New and Improved Features of EMC Isilon OneFS 7.1.1 for additional details.

Performance improvements

The following new features and enhancements help improve performance for most OneFS workflows:

  • SMB Multichannel support
    OneFS 7.1.1 supports the Multichannel feature of SMB 3.0, which establishes a single SMB session over multiple network connections. SMB Multichannel enables increased throughput, connection failure tolerance, and automatic discovery. To take advantage of this new feature, client computers must be configured with Microsoft Windows 8 or later, or Microsoft Windows Server 2012 or later with supported network interface cards (NICs). For more information, see the SMB Multichannel section of the OneFS 7.1.1 Web Administration Guide and OneFS 7.1.1 CLI Administration Guide.
  • SmartFlash caching
    In OneFS, level 1 (L1) cache uses random access memory (RAM) to store copies of system metadata and files requested from front-end networks. Level 2 (L2) cache uses RAM to store copies of file system metadata for files that are stored on the node that owns the data. SmartFlash, or level 3 (L3) cache, uses solid-state drives (SSDs) to hold file data and metadata released from L2 cache, increasing the total size of cache memory available in a cluster as well as the speed that you can retrieve data. In OneFS 7.1.1, SmartFlash is enabled by default for new node pools.
  • NDMP backup performance improvements
    OneFS 7.1.1 uses multiple threads to restore files, making data transfer occur as fast as the tape backup device can deliver it. Additional operational enhancements improve throughput when transferring small files.
  • SyncIQ® performance enhancements
    To allow multiple SyncIQ workers to replicate a single file simultaneously, SyncIQ now allows for file splitting, where a large file is split into segments, each of which is processed in parallel by a different thread.

Security and access zone enhancements

The following enhancements have been made to increase security and support Hadoop workflows:

  • Access zone enhancements
    Access zones have been restructured to enforce best practices and improve security. In OneFS 7.1.1, a root or a base directory must be designated for each access zone. SMB shares must subscribe to a single access zone, and access zones can no longer be used to share data. OneFS 7.1.1 also prevents access to non-system zones through NFS, SSH, and the OneFS web administration interface.To support security for Hadoop workflows and enable multiple unstructured datasets to be hosted on a single cluster, access zones now support an HDFS namespace per access zone. This means that you can now run multiple separate HDFS namespaces on the same cluster. Stay tuned for an upcoming ISI Knowledge blog post on this topic.
  • Self-encrypting drive enhancements
    This release of OneFS expands the availability of self-encrypting drives (SEDs) to provide data at-rest encryption capabilities across the entire node family. In addition to the 3TB and 4TB SEDs, OneFS 7.1.1 introduces a 900GB SAS SED HDD for S-Series nodes and an 800GB SED SSD for all supported nodes. For details, see the Isilon Product Availability Guide.
  • Auditing enhancements
    In OneFS 7.1.1, audit system configuration information can be forwarded to the audit log file for storage and analysis.
  • Role based access control enhancements
    New privileges have been added to the role based access control (RBAC) feature in OneFS 7.1.1, such as ISI_PRIV_IFS_BACKUP and ISI_PRIV_IFS_RESTORE. These privileges can be assigned to roles that enable users to back up and restore files that they don’t have explicit permissions to.

Manageability and drive firmware updates

The following OneFS 7.1.1 features make it easier to manage your Isilon cluster and obtain the latest drive firmware:

  • MMC integration
    Microsoft Windows administrators with the correct privileges can remotely administer a share through the MMC shared folders snap-in feature. This enables an administrator to connect to an access zone and directly manage all shares within that zone. To take advantage of this functionality, the Isilon cluster must be joined to an Active Directory domain from which the MMC console can be invoked.
  • Drive Support Package for non-disruptive drive firmware updates
    Drive support packages determine and apply updates for the drive’s firmware automatically, and eliminate the need to apply a patch and reboot the node when you replace or add drives. You can also configure alerts to indicate when you need to update your drive firmware. Review the Isilon Drive Support Package 1.0 release notes for information about system requirements and installation instructions.

For complete details about all of the OneFS 7.1.1 features and enhancements, including changes in functionality, fixed issues, and known issues in this release, refer to the OneFS 7.1.1 Release Notes.

OneFS 7.1.1 documentation and new guides available

A full list of OneFS 7.1.1 documents is available in the OneFS 7.1.1 Release Notes, on the Isilon online community and on the EMC Online Support site (login is required for the EMC Online Support site). This release also features two new guides:

  • OneFS Migration Tools Guide
    This guide describes how to migrate data from NetApp filers and EMC VNX storage systems to EMC Isilon clusters using the isi_vol_copy and isi_vol_copy_vnx tools.
  • OneFS API Reference 
    This guide—combining the former Platform and RAN API References—describes how the Isilon OneFS application programming interface (API) provides access to configure the cluster and access the data on the cluster. This guide also provides a list of all available API resource URLs, HTTP methods, and parameter and object descriptions.

How to upgrade to OneFS 7.1.1

If you want to upgrade to this new release, explore your upgrade options by reviewing the Isilon Supportability and Compatibility Guide and the OneFS Upgrade Planning and Process Guide.

Then, prepare for the upgrade process by reviewing the following documents:

After reviewing these documents, read the knowledge base article, “How to download OneFS 7.1.1 (172492)” (login to EMC Online Support is required).

Start a conversation about Isilon content

Have a question or feedback about Isilon content? Visit the online EMC Isilon Community to start a discussion. If you have questions or feedback about this blog, send an email to isi.knowledge@emc.com. To provide documentation feedback or request new content, send an email to isicontent@emc.com.

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Find information about EMC Isilon OneFS patches in one document

Kirsten Gantenbein

Kirsten Gantenbein

Principal Content Strategist at EMC Isilon Storage Division
Kirsten Gantenbein
Kirsten Gantenbein

EMC® Isilon® patch documentation has been updated, making it easier to find information about patches for the OneFS operating system. Previously, you had to check several separate documents for each supported version of OneFS to determine if a patch was available for a specific known issue. Now you can refer to a single document, Current Patches for EMC Isilon OneFS, (log in to the EMC Online Support site is required) to find information about any patch for any version of OneFS.

The best way to resolve known issues in OneFS is to upgrade to a recent OneFS maintenance release (MR). However, if you need a solution before an MR is released and a patch is available, you can download and install a patch. Often, Isilon will issue a standard patch for a specific issue or a rollup patch to fix issues within a component of OneFS. (Not every known issue is addressed with a patch.)
This consolidated document provides the benefit of reviewing all available patches of versions of OneFS. This can help you consider which version of OneFS that you want to upgrade to next.

All OneFS patches and current patch documentation are on the EMC Online Support site. For example, if EMC Isilon Technical Support provides your with a patch ID number, you can search for it in EMC Online Support by entering “patch-[ID number],” as shown in the image below. Or you can check the new reference, Current patches for OneFS. This document provides a current list of patches available for supported versions of OneFS.

Searching for patch ID numbers in the EMC Online Support site.

Searching for patch ID numbers in the EMC Online Support site.

How to download and install patches

For details about finding, downloading, and installing a patch. Watch the video “Understanding Patches for EMC Isilon OneFS” for an overview of patches and to learn the complete process for applying a patch to OneFS.

You can also read the knowledge base article “Understanding patches for EMC Isilon products (176358)” for a detailed description of the topics covered in the video.

Start a conversation about Isilon content

Have a question or feedback about Isilon content? Visit the online EMC Isilon Community to start a discussion. If you have questions or feedback about this blog, send an email to isi.knowledge@emc.com. To provide documentation feedback or request new content, send an email to isicontent@emc.com.

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