2009 and penguinpunk.net

It was a busy year, and I don’t normally do these type of posts, but I thought I’d try to do a year in review type thing so I can look back at the end of 2010 and see what kind of promises I’ve broken. Also, the Exchange Guy will no doubt enjoy the size comparison. You can see what I mean by that here.

In any case, here’re some broad stats on the site. In 2008 the site had 14966 unique visitors according to Advanced Web Statistics 6.5 (build 1.857). But in 2009, it had 15856 unique visitors – according to Advanced Web Statistics 6.5 (build 1.857). That’s an increase of some 890 unique visitors, also known as year-on-year growth of approximately 16.82%. I think. My maths are pretty bad at the best of times, but I normally work with storage arrays, not web statistics. In any case, most of the traffic is no doubt down to me spending time editing posts and uploading articles, but it’s nice to think that it’s been relatively consistent, if not a little lower than I’d hoped. This year (2010 for those of you playing at home), will be the site’s first full year using Google analytics, so assuming I don’t stuff things up too badly, I’ll have some prettier graphs to present this time next year. That said, MYOB / smartyhost are updating the web backend shortly so I can’t make any promises that I’ll have solid stats for this year, or even a website :)

What were the top posts? Couldn’t tell you. I do, however, have some blogging-type goals for the year:

1. Blog with more focus and frequency – although this doesn’t mean I won’t throw in random youtube clips at times.

2. Work more on the promotion of the site. Not that there’s a lot of point promoting something if it lacks content.

3. Revisit the articles section and revise where necessary. Add more articles to the articles page.

On the work front, I’m architecting the move of my current employer from a single data centre to a 2+1 active / active architecture (from a storage and virtualisation perspective). There’s more blades, more CLARiiON, more MV/S, some vSphere and SRM stuff, and that blasted Cisco MDS fabric stuff is involved too. Plus a bunch of stuff I’ve probably forgotten. So I think it will be a lot of fun, and a great achievement if we actually get anything done by June this year. I expect there’ll be some moments of sheer boredom as I work my way through 100s of incremental SAN Copies and sVMotions. But I also expect there will be moments of great excitement when we flick the switch on various things and watch a bunch of visio illustrations turn into something meaningful.

Or I might just pursue my dream of blogging about the various media streaming devices on the market. Not sure yet. In any case, thanks for reading, keep on reading, tell your friends, and click on the damn Google ads.

MV/S consistency groups and multiple secondary images

I recently completed a migration for a client from a CX3-20 to a CX4-240. I’d done similar work for them in the past, moving their primary site from a CX500 to a CX4-240. This time things were simpler, as the secondary site I was working on contained primarily replicas of LUNs from the primary site. For those LUNs that weren’t mirrors, I used either Incremental SAN Copy, or sVMotion to migrate the data. The cool thing about MirrorView/Synchronous on the CLARiiON is that you can send replicas from one source to multiple (2) targets. As my client was understandably nervous about the exposure of not having current replicas if there was a problem, we decided that adding a secondary image on the CX4 and waiting for it to synchronize before removing the CX3 image would be the safest. The minor issue was that most of these LUNs were in MirrorView Consistency groups. If you’ve played with VMware’s Site Recovery Manager, you’ll know what these are. But for those of you that don’t, let me drop a little knowledge.

Consistency Groups are in essence a group of secondary images on a CLARiiON that are treated as a single entity. As a result of this treatment, the remote images are consistent, but may contain information that is ever so slightly older than information on the primary images. The thinking behind this is fairly obvious – you don’t want your SQL database LUN to be out of sync with the SQL logs LUN, in the same way that you wouldn’t want the Exchange mailbox LUN to be out of sync with the transaction logs. That would be silly. And it would make recovery in the event of a site failure really difficult. And thus Consistency Groups were born. Hooray.

But there are a few rules that you need to follow with Consistency Groups:

  • Up to 16 groups per CLARiiON;
  • Up to 16 mirrors per group;
  • Primary image LUNs must all be on the same CLARiiON;
  • Secondary image LUNs must all be on the same CLARiiON;
  • Images must be of the same type (you can’t mix sync and async in the same group);
  • Operations happen on all mirrors at the same time.

As I mentioned previously, you can have 1:2 LUN:replica ratio when using MV/S. Unfortunately, when Consistency Groups are in use, the ratio goes back to 1:1. So our precautionary strategy for replica migration was already under pressure. As well as this, we couldn’t have multiple CLARiiONs providing replica images in the same consistency group. The only option that my tired brain could really think of was to remove the replicas from the Consistency Groups, re-sync the new replicas with the primary copies, and then add the new replicas into the Consistency Groups. By using this methodology, we risked having inconsistent volumes on a host, but we didn’t have the risk of not having replicas at all. If any one has a better approach, I’d love to hear about it.