Exciting times! Wow - there are so many new features in the Dell PS Series storage product line right now! We're talking:
Dell has recently released the latest and greatest version of PS Series Firmware - version 8. What's new with Dell PS Series Firmware v8? I'm glad you asked!
Improvements to Space Borrowing
What is Space Borrowing? Well…
In a Dell PS Series group, snapshots and replicas can be used to protect and recover data. Snapshots and replicas require available disk space to operate successfully: snapshot reserve and replica reserve.
Configuring the optimal values for these reserves is not always predictable, however. For example, if reserves are set too high, then space is wasted. If reserves are set too low, then it is difficult to maintain the desired number of snapshots and replicas to keep.
Dell PS Series Firmware version 8.0 provides the ability for snapshots, local and remote replicas, and deleted volumes in the group Volume Recovery Bin to temporarily borrow space beyond the configured reserves.
This feature, called Space Borrowing, simplifies configuring reserve space, improves space utilization, and enhances management of snapshots and replica reserves.
Learn more about the new improvements with Space Borrowing in this new document:
Space Optimization with Compression
A brand-new feature, PS Series Compression, optimizes overall storage capacity by compressing the least-used data, infrequently accessed snapshots and replicas.
Compressing this type of 'cold' data minimizes impact from a performance perspective and enables the use of larger, cost-effective drives.
Want to learn more? Take a look at this newly released document:
Improvements to Asynchronous Replication with Delegated Space in Multiple Pools
Delegated Space, on the secondary group in a PS Series replication partnership, is the amount of space dedicated to storing replicas from the primary group.
In PS Series Firmware v8 and later, you can assign Delegated Space in multiple storage pools and the entire storage space can be used within the group.
So, now Delegated Space can be assigned in one, some, or even all pools. Prior to PS Series Firmware v8, Delegated Space was restricted to one storage pool.
So, even if you had multiple storage pools on the secondary group, you could only configure one of those pools to store replicas.
With PS Series Firmware v8 and later, you can additionally configure a mapping between primary pools and secondary pools for initial replica set placement.
For current best practices and deployment guidance with Asynchronous Replication, check out the newly updated document here:
Using Dell PS Series Asynchronous Replication
Default Snapshot Schedule (DSS)
Two common methods for data protection with Dell PS Series are snapshots and replicas. Naturally, as a PS Series Storage Administrator, you’re going to properly plan your data protection and recovery strategies by utilizing snapshots and replicas.
What if you accidentally forget to setup snapshot and replication schedules for your target volumes – and suddenly you need to recover data?
No need to fear, Default Snapshot Schedule is here! DSS provides a safety-net for unprotected volumes by automatically associating a snapshot schedule to those volumes.
Network Interface Configuration for Fault Recovery
In previous versions of PS Series Firmware, if an array was unable to start properly due to a multiple drive failure, for example, you would be unable to troubleshoot that array remotely over the network – as the networking configuration would also be unavailable in that state.
In that troubled state, you were required to be in close proximity to the array, and then using a laptop with a Terminal Emulator, like Putty, for example, you could establish a physical session to the array console using a serial cable.
With PS Series Firmware v8, array networking information is automatically and additionally stored in a special area outside of the array’s database.
So, in the same scenario above with the array being unable to start properly, a network interface will automatically be enabled by using the information stored in the additional copy of the networking configuration.
The array can then be troubleshot remotely over the network and restarted once the issue is resolved to bring it back to its normal operating state.
Just like #hashtags, that run rampant in Social Media these days, are used to describe topics and enable users to search for topics using the tags – PS Series Smart Tags allow Storage Administrators to create and apply multiple tags to volume objects.
You can then use those tags to organize, search and filter volume objects. For example, you can tag a volume that is in use by a database server with the Applications=Database-Server tag.
You can then sort all volume objects in Group Manager by that tag to view all volumes in use by database servers in your organization.
Definitely a great tool with lots of flexibility and customization capabilities to support your unique requirements.
The supported languages for PS Series Firmware continue to be: English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, and Simplified Chinese.
This means that the Group Manager GUI, events, error messages, product documentation and Online Help are now or will all soon be available in these languages.
With previous versions of PS Series Firmware, you were required to download and install Language Packs from the Support Site if you wanted Group Manager to display in one of the supported languages.
With PS Series Firmware v8, Language Packs are no longer required. The Group Manager GUI now defaults to the language regional settings of your Operating System and web browser.
So, if your regional settings are set to display in one of the supported languages, then the Group Manager GUI will also follow suit. How great!
The PS Series 6610 is… (Let’s see? Where to begin?)
Dell’s latest, ultra-dense, high-capacity, compression-capable storage array. With two storage controllers with 32 GB of memory each – and up to 84 disk drives for a total system capacity of over half a Petabyte per array – this thing is a beast!
For additional information on the Dell PS Series 6610, check out the Dell Storage Virtual Rack and the Product Page.
With our continued strong partnership, Dell and VMware collaborate to provide some great integration solutions in their products. Check out this newly updated guide to learn more about the storage-related features in VMware vSphere that are made possible by leveraging the advanced features and intelligence within Dell PS Series arrays to maximize the benefit to VMware environments.
VMware Virtual Volumes
VMware vSphere v6.0 introduces a new feature, Virtual Volumes (VVol). Dell PS Series Firmware v8 provides support for VVol.
Enabled by the second-generation VASA Provider included with Dell Virtual Storage Manager (VSM) v4.5, VVol enables PS Series storage to be Virtual-Machine aware.
With VVol, a Virtual Machine is a group of virtualized volumes on the PS Series array. This enables Storage Administrators to gain visibility into the storage consumption and performance per Virtual Machine vs. at the traditional SAN-Volume level.
Also, VVol provides vSphere Administrators with granular storage policies that are based on capabilities advertised by the PS Series array - such as RAID type, Disk Speed, Disk Type, and Disk Encryption. This enables the creation of customized policies that can be applied both at the Virtual Machine and VMDK level.
Furthermore, even though cloning a legacy Virtual Machine was always a relatively quick operation (because it was accelerated with VAAI Full Copy), cloning and restoring a VVol-based Virtual Machine is an almost-instant operation - as no actual data movement is required, and the operations are fully offloaded to the array.
Sounds like interesting stuff? I agree! Read up on VSM v4.5 and VVol more in these papers:
Dell Multipathing Extension Module (MEM) v1.3 for VMware vSphere
The Dell MEM, is a multipathing plugin to vSphere, which provides high-availability, improved performance, simplified management and more efficient operation of a Dell PS Series array.
Dell’s latest MEM release, v1.3, includes support for PS Series Firmware v8, as well as VMware vSphere v6, including VVol.
Learn about the benefits of the PS Series MEM v1.3 for VMware vSphere in this newly updated report:
Also, Dell just released SAN HeadQuarters v3.1 Early Production Access and HIT/Microsoft v4.8 Early Production Access – with new support for the latest features in PS Series Firmware v8, including support for PS6610, Replication Borrowing, Delegated Space in Multiple Pools, and more.
And let us not forget the new updates to FS Series Firmware v3, with new NAS features such as Access-Based Enumeration, CIFS HomeShares, Multi-client subnet support, NAS container shrinking, and NAS container thin-provisioning.
Be sure to visit the PS Series Support Site for additional information on these new releases.
Thank you for reading – and be sure to check out the updated materials referenced in this blog for more information.
Have a great day!
Michael Pacheco, Storage Applications Principal Engineer
Follow me on Twitter: @PachecoAtDell