Written by Chuck Farah, Dell Storage Applications Engineering
Earlier this summer, Dell released Storage Center OS (SCOS) 7.0 and Dell Storage Manager (DSM) 2016 R1, which included major features such as VMware Virtual Volumes, improved data reduction, PS Series bidirectional replication to SC Series (cross-platform replication) and volume Quality of Service (QoS). David Glynn wrote about those features in his blog post, which describes DSM as a single interface to manage the Dell Storage platforms including PS Series, SC Series and FluidFS.
Now, with the release of SCOS 7.1 and DSM 2016 R2, we built upon those features and added enhancements to zero downtime, connectivity, disk support, and visibility into the age of disks.
New with SCOS 7.1 and DSM 2016 R2 is Federation Live Migrate. This feature takes advantage of the array statistics and intelligence of SCOS to provide the best placement of volumes in an environment with multiple SC Series systems. When a volume is live migrated to another SC Series system, the volume advisor can help the user to pick the most appropriate SC Series system for placement. The volume is then migrated without disruption to applications or I/O, improving the efficiencies of day-to-day management while at the same time optimizing the usage of the SC Series arrays. David Glynn demonstrates this in the SC Series Live Migrate best practices document.
To follow the zero-downtime theme, our Dell Storage engineers enhanced Live Volume with the nifty Automatic Failover feature to include not only VMware vSphere (since SCOS 6.7) but also Microsoft Hyper-V. Designed with continuous operations in mind, Live Volume with Automatic-Failover (LV-AFO) does not have a downtime penalty during planned or unplanned outages. To get your hands on this feature, you will need at least two SC Series arrays along with SCOS 7.1 and DSM 2016 R2. Marty Glaser provides all the details in a very thorough video and solutions guide.
In addition, be sure to read about the improvements made with VMware support for Site Recovery Manager (SRM) in the best practices document and video by Jason Boche. Jason and Mike Matthews also give specifics for Microsoft SQL Server disaster recovery with VMware SRM in this white paper. Jason has been very busy this summer and will quench your thirst for VMware Virtual Volumes (VVols) best practices in this paper.
Our engineers have worked hard to improve connectivity options by providing the Dell Storage SC4020 with 12 Gb SAS front-end ports. Why is that important? SAS front-end connectivity allows you to redundantly, directly connect up to four servers each with two SAS ports, without the need for a single SAN switch. Marty Glaser shows you the way with Hyper-V as an example in this solutions guide, and Chuck Armstrong describes how to configure SC4020 SAS with VMware in this solutions guide. Speaking of connectivity, front-end throughput capability improves with the support of 32 Gb FC front-end ports for the Dell Storage SC9000 (of course, only the HBAs and switches listed in the Dell Storage Compatibility Matrix should be used). I should also mention that the limits have doubled for the SC9000 snapshots and replications, along with the ability to ingest up to a petabyte (PB) of data for deduplication.
For some time, disks have been formatted with the relatively small sector size of 512 bytes. The trend of larger disk capacities has increased the complexity of the I/O operations dramatically. This is best put into words using a quote from Richie Lary, which describes flying a "747 1/100 of an inch off the ground at 2,500,000 miles per [hour], with the pilot able to read the spots on a set of dominos" (assuming a disk scaled to the size of a 747). With SCOS 7.1 and 4K native disk support, I/O can be better aligned for large disks, with improved I/O efficiency and enhanced media error correction, all while increasing format efficiencies.
Data integrity has been a focus for some time for Dell Storage engineers, and features like disk scrubbing and background checking are core components of the SCOS base. Now with SCOS 7.1, the ANSI Technical Committee for SCSI Storage Interfaces Protection Information (PI) standard is supported on 4K-sector HDDs and self-encrypting drive (SED) SSDs. This support improves the data integrity verification across those 12 Gb SAS back-end data paths to the disks.
Have you ever wondered how long your disks have been powered on? As you know, the longer a disk ages, the probability of disk failure increases. Conveniently, the standard for disk manufactures is to track the power-on hours. Our Dell Storage engineers have exposed those statistics to DSM, as well as to Dell SupportAssist1. Of course, this is presented in a friendly fashion in DSM by indicating the number of years, months, days or hours each drive has been powered on. Since Dell currently warranties most disks to five years, this feature will provide insight into when disks are near their warranty life span.
That’s all for now. Have a great day!
1SupportAssist is the Dell centralized support collection and management system. Storage information is “phoned home” based on a user-defined schedule.
Just spoke with Co-Pilot support. The engineer said that 7.1 was not released yet. Why does this article say otherwise?
Hi jforemandig, SCOS 7.1 is currently available. To obtain access, please contact Copilot Support again and request an escalation if needed.