May
13
2010

EMC Clariion CX4-240 Self Install

OK. So you are working on getting a new storage system. If you’re an EMC shop, you can do a self install of the CX4, and possibly save yourself a bunch of $$. Why do a self install? Well aside from the $$ savings, its easy, and you can do it way faster then EMC can coordinate and schedule an installation SE/CE.

A CX4 consists of a SPS, SPE, and multiple DAE’s. The SPS is standby power supply that sits at the bottom and powers the SPE and the first DAE. The SPE or “Storage Processor Enclosure” contain two processors or SP’s called SPA and SPB. Basically two storage processors to run the array. They are independent and if one fails, the other one continues to run the Array. It is very rare to have a multi-SP failure. It can happen, and would be more likely a bug, but its not likely. That is what makes the Clariions so reliable. They run and run and run. The last thing is the DAE or “Disk Array Enclosure”. This holds all the drives. One of the DAE’s you will receive is special in that it contains “Vault Drives” and vault drives contain the OS the Clariion boots from. This needs to be the first DAE attached to the SPE.

The EMC install guide is very good and if you follow it, you’ll have a basic CX4 running in a few hours. So working from the bottom up. You’ll get the following installed

  • SPS. Install this on the bottom. If its in a cabinet, leave 1U space on the bottom. But an airflow cover over the space on the front if you have one. If you ever need to replace an SPS, you will need the space, or its a ?itch to replace in a fully loaded cabinet.
  • SPE. On top of the SPS, install the SPE.
  • DAE. On top of the SPE, install the DAE containing the vault drives.
  • DAE – The Rest of them. Install the rest of the DAE’s.

SPA/B and Backend Cabling

The backend cabling is the first cable job. Depending on the CX4 model, you will have either 1, 2, or 4 backend ports. A CX4-120 has one, a CX4-240 has 2, A CX4-480 had 4. Get it?

1st DAE. Now follow the install guide and start with SPA. Take the appropriate cable (SFP to HSSCD2 Cable) and plug it into the slot 0, port 0 on SPA and the other end to the corresponding primary port (PRI) on the 1st DAE. Be sure this DAE has the specially marked “array software” label across the 1st five disks. Then do the same for SPB

2nd DAE. Connect slot 0, port 1 on each SP to the 2nd DAE. Stop at the 2nd DAE for now. You should have the SPS, SPE, and two DAE’s cabled. That is good to start. Be sure to review step 1 in the install guide and ensure the cabling is right. This is the hardest part. If its not, the SP’s can not locate the vault drives and they will not boot.

Power is Next – To Equipment that is.

The next thing is to get the power cables installed. Be sure the SPS’s are off. Its best to use a separate power source to each SP. i.e. Do not run from the same PDU. Put them on separate PDU’s, breakers, etc. You will see that their is really two SPS’s and they fit in a single tray. One SPS powers each SP. So once you have power to the SPS right under SPA, you will run a power cable from the SPS to SPA. Then another from the SPS to the power on the 1st DAE. Once you do this, you do the same for the other SPS and SPB and DAE. Once you have the SPS powering the SPE and 1st DAE, go a head and run another set of power cables from your PDU to the 2nd DAE. Once you do that, the 2nd DAE will power up and that is ok. The SPS should still be turned off and both the 1st DAE and SPE will be off. That is what we want.

There is also a SPS serial cable. One end plugs into the SPS and the other end plugs into the SPE. And there are two. One for each SP. In the install guide its got a picture and it is self explanatory.

Apply power and boot it up. Flip on each SPS. Remove the front bezel’s and there are two lights for the SP. They flash during boot then go off. The bad light is the blinking yellow light. That tells you there is a fault. If any of your backend is wrong, that is likely the cause of the fault. Reexamine your cabling. It’s usually a cable that causes it to fail and not boot.

Did it boot? It should have. Look on the back. There is a light above each module. There is a management model, backend module, and iscsi module. You really want the mgmt and backend modules to be green. If not, back to the cable. Review it. It’s likely wrong. If it is. Go ahead and shutdown the Array by turning off each SPS and waiting for it to shutdown the Array. It can take 2-3 minutes. Then fix the cables and start it back up. Once it comes up and all the yellow lights are out and the rest are green, then your ready to initialize it.

Recommended Reading

EMC Clariion CX4-240 Setup Guide (Requires Powerlink Access – You have that? Right!). This has all info needed to setup. Diagrams, pictures, etc. Just take your time. It is not very hard. Concentrate on the cabling and you will have no problem getting the physical installation going.

Next Steps. I’ll post info on initializing the Array and how to troubleshoot.

May
1
2010

Accidently Delete Entire OU of Computer Objects

We are so used to doing multiple things at once, multitasking as they say, and every now and then it bites you. So today, while doing some cleanup today in AD, one of my coworkers may have gotten a little overzealous, aka not paying full attention. He meant to delete a single computer object, but accidentally deleted an entire OU containing a significant numbers of Windows server computer objects.

Apr
23
2010

NAI/Mcafee Bad DAT

NAI/Mcafee, one of the biggest Anti Virus Vendors, goofed and sent out a bad virus definition update. This happened on 4/21 in the early afternoon.

The problem is a false positive which identifies a regular Windows binary,

Mar
20
2010

Improving Customer Serice – The old PBX is not old

Improving Customer Service

This year @ ACC2010 I wanted to improve the way we handled telephone calls and tracked requests. You see, each year, we put together 8 networks, 125 locations, 500 computers, 1000

Jan
15
2010

VMWare Esx4 U1 upgrade and HPIM Hoses You

OK. So you got ESX 4.0 and want to upgrade to ESX4U1. You better see http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/microsite.do?cmd=displayKC&docType=kc&externalId=1016070&sliceId=1&docTypeID=DT_KB_1_1 before you upgrade, or you may end up with a hosed node.

Its because the upgrade may fail and when you reboot your node, it will come up bad. They big thing is to put it in Maint mode, uninstall the HP Insight Management Agent, reboot, install the U1 or install all updates from update manager, reboot, then install the latest HPIM agent.

It seems like a lot of time, but you can run through them pretty quickly, and if you use the enterprise version with VMOTION, it really does not matter. You simply move any running VM’s to another server, upgrade it, and put them back. I upgraded 4 servers hosting about 60 VM’s, in about two hours. BAM!

Sep
22
2009

Asterisk PBX Flavor – PIAF

Here is a very good Asterisk flavor called “PBX in a Flash” or Piaf. It takes a bit of mystery out of setting up a Asterisk server.

Piaf is a turn key ISO install based on CentOS 5. So if you have hardware that can run CentOS 5, then you can have a PBX.

See http://pbxinaflash.net

Also Check out http://nerdvittles.com/ for a technobabblelog of everything PIAF.

Apr
8
2009

Nothing But “Net”

ok. So the folks helping plan, organize, and deliver the meeting are awesome. If the product is no good, and the technical support is bad, then it is all a moot point. With SmartCity, that is not an issue. The SmartCity operations team is very good and top notch. Lead by Mohamed, Brandon, and Danny, SmartCity provided the College a well designed and supported solution and that enabled us to deliver a great educational experience to our attendees.

ACC09 was a terrific experience for the ACC NOC team. With 8 networks, 92 locations, and hundreds of computers delivered, setup, and installed within 5 days, SmartCity had their hands full. But they have a terrific process. More than 90% of the network drops were already installed and operational when we arrived. This is very good and I wish more convention and conference centers did it this way. What about the last 10%, where there are changes that occur with a meeting of this size, and there are also simple mistakes made by ACC or SmartCity. However we had great teamwork and when an issue came up, no one argued over it, we just worked on getting what needed to be done – done! It was great.

Below find Mohamed and Danny. Both great guys and we had a good time working with them and their entire team.


Mohamed Rashad


Danny Thomson

Apr
1
2009

Its all about customer support @ OCCC

Word on the street is that ACC09 was very successful. Everything I saw confirms this. I heard attendees, faculty, and leadership were pleased with the meeting and our conference was well covered by the media. I read several news articles, viewed TV stories, and saw numerous web articles.

This is great for the ACC. We are here to provide education and everyone did a terrific job down in Orlando. A key reason we did so well is we had great support from the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) and two people in perticular – Frank Loyke and Sarah Merrill.

Frank is our main POC for SmartCity Networks (SCN) and SCN provides network, internet access, and telephones for the OCCC. We started working with Frank back in 2008 and worked out a comprehensive network design that would support our activities during the meeting. That ended up being 8 networks in 92 locations. Frank was terrific and instrumental for our success in the planning and implementation of everything. Frank is a great event coordinator for SCN and a terrific advocate for the center. We really enjoyed working with Frank.

Our meeting planners work many years in advance and have many of the relationships in place and know everyone. The NOC team rolls in about one year before the event and starts to figure things out and who does what at the center. These usually are at large meetings with 20-30 people present and we figure out who does what. At our last site visit before the meeting, we met Sarah.

Sarah is our main POC for the OCCC and is our hidden hero. Sarah knows everyone at the center. Not only does she know who to call, she called them and followed up to ensure that everything we needed was taken care of. And I mean everything, but particular the power team. We use alot of power all over the center and it needs to be well coordinated with the Internet guys @ SCN. Sarah was all over the place running around on her stand up scooter. All the while zooming around talking on a cell phone or radio. And smiling at the same time. Sarah did a terrific job, is an excellent advocate for the center, and we enjoyed working with her.

Both Frank and Sarah are fine examples of great customer service and finding out ways to get it all done and make the customer extreamly happy. We are very happy!

Mar
31
2009

Conficker Worm – It’s not just for Breakfast!

There is a bit of press about a virus-worm called “Conficker”. This is actually an old worm that started infecting systems late last year by exploiting a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. Since then there have been variants of this worm and lots of programs carry this malicious payload. Conficker.C is the latest variant; it will change the behavior of its

Mar
30
2009

Orange County Convention Center


Orange County Convention Center

The Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) is one of the nicest conference facilities in the US. The center is well kept and the staff and their partners are the best. We have enjoyed our visit and can not wait to come back.