Useful commands for Cisco Nexus zoning


After implementing Cisco Nexus 5ks that include native Fibre Channel switching for shops that usually don’t have dedicated SAN guys, I’m often called up sometime later to offer a refresher on how to add zones. I usually share this tidbit via email, but here it is for the internets. These commands are very similar on newer MDS models, as well.

Useful commands for Cisco Nexus zoning


A tale of NetApp and Wireshark discovery


Wireshark_icon.svg
–==For those interested, Pluralsight has an excellent video training course called Introduction to Wireshark. I highly recommend Pluralsight as the go-to source for IT video training!==–

I was cleaning up a client’s /etc/rc file yesterday while preparing to move some IP addresses to different interfaces and I noticed they had configured the vMotion network as a VLAN interface on both controllers. This isn’t right because the vMotion network only needs to exist between ESXi hosts – the storage array never touches the traffic. Storage vMotion doesn’t use the vMotion network either.  It uses the storage network, whether IP- or FC-based.
I wanted to see if the interface was being used at all and fortunately, NetApp has a command for that. The ifstat command shows the count of frames received and transmitted on any or all interfaces, total bytes for each, and the number of multicasts or broadcasts. So in this case, it looked something like:

NETAPP-A> ifstat VIF-A-79

-- interface  VIF-A-79  (22 hours, 57 minutes, 50 seconds) --

RECEIVE
 Total frames:      150k | Total bytes:     10924k | Multi/broadcast: 21869
TRANSMIT
 Total frames:     4767k | Total bytes:      7177m | Multi/broadcast:   138
 Queue overflows:     0
DEVICE
 Vlan ID:            79  | Phy Iface:        VIF-A

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Using PowerShell to prevent thinly provisioned NetApp LUNs from going offline – Part I


Happy Day-after Thanksgiving dear readers! I hope everyone is as satisfyingly full on food, friends, and family as I am.  As an early gift to myself, I’m writing a PowerShell script that utilizes NetApp’s PowerShell Toolkit.  The script will help me quickly determine current volume and LUN settings so I can see what LUNs are at risk of going offline due to out of space conditions.  In scripting tradition, I couldn’t find anything online that did exactly what I wanted so I rolled my own!

Here’s what the output looks like. The column names are abbreviated because I expect to have several more columns. The abbreviations are, Volume Thin Provisioning, Fractional Reserve, Snapshots, Volume AutoGrow, Snapshot AutoDelete.

Volume Best Practices script output

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Will Write for Fame and Fortune


I had the good fortune this past summer to be presented the opportunity to write a book.  I had been reviewing VMware-related books for some time already when a publishing company reached out with an offer.  I eagerly accepted and began writing in June.  In less than a month, I was done.  Not because I had finished setting pen to paper, but because my topic, vCenter Server Heartbeat, was put out to pasture…then shot.  VMware put the focus of my road to virtualization glory and stardom on its End-of-Life list and stopped selling vCSHB on July 2nd, 2014.  Soon after, my publishing company killed the book, too.

I was disappointed I wasn’t able to finish.  What I did complete, though, I’d like to share, with the hope that maybe someone out there is looking for an author and likes my work. Actually, you don’t even have to like my work to make an offer. I like the idea of writing a book, but articles work well, too, or even training materials. I would most like to write about NetApp – maybe an introduction or a design, installation, and configuration guide.  They have plenty of products that could be written about and besides vendor documentation, there’s not a lot of info in book form.  I especially like the idea of third-party training videos – I know there are several for EMC, but none for NetApp.  I think it’s time to change that. My other interests include VMware and Cisco UCS.

Chapter 1

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Chapter 2 (never finished)

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NetApp Initiator Group Best Practices for VMFS LUNs


I’m often asked by my clients the best way to configure NetApp igroups when connecting to VMware VMFS LUNs, especially after I deploy a new system for them and I’m training them on their use.  I appreciate the question because it means someone’s actually thinking through why something is configured the way it is rather than just throwing something together.

The Problem

So this is what I see a lot of out in the field.  Single igroups are created with multiple initiators from 5multiple hosts.  This can be a problem, though, as I’ll show you.  Functionally, this configuration will work – each host will be able to see each LUN, all things being equal.  The problem arises when you want to either 1. remove a host from the igroup or 2. stop presenting a LUN to only a subset of hosts.
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Getting Started with EMC Storage


EMC LogoSo I’ve been asked to get up to speed on EMC.  We’re really a Flexpod company, which includes Cisco, NetApp, and VMware, but we’re finding clients in our Dallas / Fort Worth market that are already EMC customers and would like to stay that way.  Many times, it makes more sense for these shops to stick with EMC.  One reason for this is that we find small to mid-size shops that already have the technical expertise to manage an EMC environment are sometimes reluctant to defenestrate the platform on which they’re most comfortable.  Selling them a NetApp would not be setting them up for as much success as we would if we left them with hardware already in their management comfort zone, assuming the sale met their needs in the first place.

And so here I am, ready and raring to learn EMC.  I’m already a NetApp dude and have a firm grasp on storage fundamentals, but this will be my first foray into EMC.  While I’m already using my google-fu to find training aids, I’d love to hear the recommendations from the vCommunity on how best to learn EMC products.

I’m already tracking on Joe Kelly’s Pluralsight training which I’m sure I’ll lean on heavily.  I also know that Nick Weaver has a simulator out there.  What other free learning tools would you recommend?


Reviewing NetApp Shelf Faults


imageWith the arrival of Spring days away, I’m getting the fever to get moving and share some great content.  I’m excited to be putting out some NetApp-related posts that I think people will find useful.  I’ve installed several new NetApp systems for clients recently and these posts should help them start managing, monitoring, and configuring their systems correctly from the start.  Or perhaps you’ve had NetApp in your environment for some time but have had questions about getting insight into your systems or some “best practices.”  These posts should get you started and answer some of those questions.


A coworker recently received an alert from NetApp AutoSupport and he didn’t know what to do with it.  Since the alert itself wasn’t detailed enough to take action, I thought I’d share this for those who also receive these less than ideal alerts.

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