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.

Please vote for me

Not that I’m begging or anything. But if you can vote for me here that would be great. Oh, it’s for Eric Siebert’s “Top VMware Blogs” list. Or something.

Well, like, yeah, I guess it’s not there …

So here’s some more moaning about MozyHome just in case you weren’t as bored with this as I am. I got a response back from Mozy support and it seems I should just run a backup again and it will “re-associate” the data, rather than “re-upload”. Sure. The point is that if I needed to recover data from Mozy today I would only be able to get back 10.xGB. That seems uncool. Very uncool. I’ve attached the support e-mail for posterity.

“Hi xxxx,

Thanks for your email. I apologize for the inconvenience caused to you. I looked into the screenshots you have sent. I understand that there is a huge difference between the data that is backed up. This might happen if the configuration settings on the machine is corrupted, Some times when the configuration file is corrupted, then mozy will show different size.

I would request you to select all your data and run a backup. Before uploading any file into mozy, it will check to see if the files are already existing or if it is a new file.

>From your machine it might look like mozy is re-uploading because the file will undergo encoding, however from the server side it is only re-associating.

In case you need clarification or further assistance, please email me and I will be glad to help.

Thanks for using Mozy Support!

Mozy Support”

Maybe someone at EMC / Decho could enlighten me? Getting cranky now ‘Zilla.

Not that I want to carry on unnecessarily Mozy but …

Here’s a quick comparison of how my data is there, and then it’s not. I’m not sure whether I’ve made my point clear or not …

Safari 2

Safari 3

In case you were bored with me bitching about MozyHome …

I’m going to keep bitching about MozyHome. Here’re some screenshots of my recent backup history. So why is it that my MozyHome account tells me I only have 10.3GB space used on the server? Getting cranky now iJustine.


MozyHome Backup History

MozyHome Backup History 2MozyHome Backup History 3MozyHome Backup History 4

Am I over-thinking things here? Or is this really a problem? Or better yet, how much of a problem would this have been if I actually need to restore stuff? I know you get what you pay for, but I still paid something.

Oh hi Mozy where did you put my stuff?

I run MozyHome on my iMac and, judging by the status window reporting 32+GB left to upload this morning, I suspect someone or something at Mozy lost my stuff. I am underwhelmed, but so jaded with clouds that don’t produce rain that I’m not going to bother trying to work out what the problem is until this afternoon …

[Update – 14/11/2009]

Yet when I go to restore my data it still seems browseable.

Restore FilesMeh

[Update #2 – 17/11/2009]

Here’s the transcript from my chat with Mozy on-line … I will post some not so cool screenshots tomorrow. I give full points to Satish for hustle. Unfortunately, we came to a bit of an impasse, as I wasn’t able to get access to the client in question.

General Info

Chat start time  Nov 17, 2009 12:25:06 AM EST

Chat end time  Nov 17, 2009 12:54:14 AM EST

Duration (actual chatting time)  00:29:08

Operator  Satish

Chat Transcript

info: Please wait for a site operator to respond.

info: You are now chatting with ‘Satish’

Satish: Welcome to Mozy Live Support. May I have your account email address please?

dan frith: dan@penguinpunk.net

Satish: Thanks Dan.

Satish: How may I help you?

dan frith: I have a question about my data. Last Saturday morning (in australia), my mozyhome client on my mac started reporting that i needed to upload 32GB of data. This is the total size of my data. So I’m wondering why I’ve had to start again? The space used on my account also says 10.3GB, which seems to indicate that it went missing.

Satish: I understand Dan.

Satish: Please give me one minute. Let me check the backup history on your account.

dan frith: Thanks Satish.

Satish: Thank you for your patience, Dan.

Satish: Out of 32 GB Mozy has backed up 10.3 GB as of now.

Satish: The rest will get backed up in the future backups.

Satish: 32 GB which is showing up is total size selected for the backup.

dan frith: Correct. But my problem is that last friday I had 32GB backed up. And on Saturday morning I didn’t. So I guess I’m asking what changed? I’m not upset, just mildly annoyed that I have to upload this data that hasn’t changed again, as I uploaded it some months ago when I first signed up. Do you understand what I mean?

Satish: I totally understand, Dan. When I checked the backup history all it shows is that it has been backing up. There are no indications that 32 GB was backed up. If you don’t mind may I know where did you see that, 32 GB was backed up?

dan frith: the status window of my mozyhome client has been reporting that for some months now

dan frith: and for the last few weeks the daily backups have been in the order of a few 100MB

Satish: mmm… Ok. Lets check in your web account for Saturday backups that should give us some idea here.

Satish: Please click on “Restore files” on your account home page.

Satish: And are you backing up an external hard drive?

dan frith: I’m using Time Machine on the iMac for local backups to an external drive, and Mozyhome to send a copy to the internet. I’m getting an error trying to restore from my web account. This is unfortunate, as I’m not in front of my home machine.

Satish: Ok, are Mozy backups happening for the external hard drive which has your time machine backups?

dan frith: No, just a selection of data in my home directory on the internal drive

Satish: Ok, and may I know the error you received when tried to restore?

dan frith: There was an error processing your restore request. Please try again later or contact support.

dan frith: I click on the link to Try to restore again and get the same error

Satish: sorry about that, Dan. The server is busy is in responding. We will after sometime. But what you saw in the client side that is 32 GB has been backed is true.

dan frith: Well, that’s cool :) – so why did that change?

Satish: As you already backed up all the files, Mozy will definitely not upload all the files again.

Satish: Just make sure that you have all the files selected for the backup.

Satish: I am really not sure. I was trying to find it out.

Satish: Did you changed the configuration recently..?

dan frith: No

Satish: mmmm…

dan frith: I was confused as well :)

Satish: Ok, in the client configuration does it shows that all 32 Gb is selected for the backup?

dan frith: Yes, I haven’t changed the file selection.

Satish: mmm.. ok lets check the history in the client.

Satish: Please click on Mozy icon and select “history”

dan frith: I’d like to, but I’m not in front of the machine right now. It’s okay satish, I’ll check out the history when I get home later this evening and if I can’t work it out I guess I can request a chat at a later date? You’ve been very helpful.

Satish: I mean “Backup History”.

Satish: Oh..

Satish: Ok, Dan. I will follow up with an email then.

dan frith: I know, I was hoping you could see something obvious from your end

dan frith: That would great Satish

Satish: I am sorry, I could not see. It just shows that it has been backing up all the time.

dan frith: No, that’s okay. I’ll check the hostory via the client tonight, and try and get some more details about what it thinks has been happening

dan frith: Thanks again for your help

Satish: Ok, and please let respond to the email if you find anything.

Satish: Thank you, Dan.

Satish: Good day to you!

dan frith: Ok, will do.

dan frith: Good day to you too :)

info: Your chat transcript will be sent to dan@penguinpunk.net at the end of your chat.

New article added to articles page

I’ve added a new article to the articles page. While I agree that a bunch of screenshots do not a great technical document make, I think this is a useful visual guide for the first timer. Oh yeah, it covers the basic initialisation process used to deploy Dell | EqualLogic PS5xx0 Series arrays using 3.x firmware. Sure, it might be a little dated. Sure, I started writing it last year some time and then left it flailing about for some time. Sure, I probably could have left in my drafts queue forever. But I thought it would be nice to have something to refer back to that didn’t require logging in to the Dell website. You might find some of it useful too.

So you’ve changed the IP address and munted something, now what?

Yesterday a colleague of mine was having some issues performing sVMotions on guests sitting in a development ESX 3.5 cluster. He kept getting an error along the lines of:

“IP address change for 10.x.x.x to 10.x.x.y not handled, SSL certificate verification is not enabled.”

They had changed the Service Console IP address of the host manually to perform some “secure” guest migrations previously (don’t ask me why – there’s always my way or the hard way), and basically the IP address of the host hadn’t been updated in the vxpa.cfg file. VMware has a 2-3 step process to reoslve the issue, which ultimately will require you to pull the host out of the cluster and re-add it to vCenter. It’s not a big deal, but it can be confusing when things seem to be working, but aren’t really. You can read more about it here.

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.

New Article added to the Articles page

I have added a new article to the articles page. It is imaginatively titled “qnap ts639 pro turbo nas firmware update procedure“. It covers the update process required to update the QNAP TS639 Pro Turbo NAS firmware. I promise I’ll actually write something of substance in the near future …