The Clariion@Home Project

Well – it’s been interesting.  if i’ve been remiss in my postings of late it’s because I haven’t had time to scratch, let alone actually spend any time working on non-work stuff… (Which, sadly, this qualifies as since no-one is paying me to do this)

It’s in – it’s up – it’s running.  After literally years of working at getting one, I finally have a *REAL* Clariion running in my basement-come-datacenter.  As an added bonus I now have a Celerra running in here as well.

The Clariion I ended up with started out life as an NS502 with 15x 73G Fibrechannel drives and 15x 500G SATA drives, for an almost 8 TB of storage.   Now some clever ebaying got me 10 146G FC drives to upgrade the non-vault drives so now I’m almost 9TB of storage.

It was a fun project.  It took a bit longer than I expected (silly me, shoulda known) and didn’t go exactly as I’d planned (also shoulda known.)

Started with the rack.  Had to get the PowerVault 660F out.  So I put the ESX servers in stand-by, vmotioned everything to one server, powered it off an moved it to my happy bakers rack in the corner.

The old PV660F That I used to run.

The old PV660F That I used to run.

So I took it out, direct attached the PowerVault to one ESX server and ran the site off it for about a week while I rebuilt the rack.  (You’ll know when this happened, because if you went to the site during this time it probably just finished loading)

The new system started out as an NS502, which as some will know is a Celerra with a “captured” Clariion CX500 back-end.

Well I have nothing against captivity as a practice, but if I’m going to run a SAN in my house it’s damned sure going to be a SAN, not some NAS pretending it’s a SAN. (I believe my thoughts on iSCSI are fairly well known?)

So a few things I learned.  The NS502 boxes rarely get upgraded beyond the code they ship with, because most customers are of the ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ mentality. (Which in some ways I approve of)

I learned that when you update the Clariion FLARE code from FLARE19 to FLARE26, you *WILL* kill the attached Celerra unless it was updated ahead of time.

I also learned that you can’t simply replace the bank-end cables (between the celerra and ‘captured’ clariion) with fibre SFP’s and hooke cables up to the switch.  I’m not entirely sure why, but the optical SFP’s I connected caused the Storage Processors to hang on boot.  The SP would boot fine with them not in place, and then continue to function perfectly when they were plugged in after the fact, but they would not boot.  So I replaced the Optical SFP’s and cables with copper SFP–>SFP cables, and lo-and-behold everything works.

The "Finished" Product

The "Finished" Product

Long story short, zone the switch, install the Celerra, and it’s now a CX500 with an NS502G attached, and my 3-node VMWare ESX cluster works fine and dandy on the pair of 500G luns I provisioned for it on the 146G FibreChannel drives 8+1 Raid-5 because speed isn’t really an issue.  The SATA drives were carved into two 6+1 raid-groups with a hotspare and provisioned almost entirely to the Celerra – I kept two 500G luns in reserve in case I should need to move the ESX storage off the 146G drives for any reason.

Now the cool part.  The webcontent for this (and other) sites is on the Celerra, NFS mounted to this server.  I have SnapSure enabled keeping 30 days of checkpoints in case I should manage to delete something important and forget about it for weeks at a time.  The content (MySQL database) is still on the VMWare virtual disks, I’m not sure how moving the database to NAS as well would affect the site, and as I’m not horrifically short on space I’m not horribly worried about it.

So there we are.  Now all I need is a place to replicate and a government grant to help pay for power and all will be good. 😉


    • farmboy on July 7, 2009 at 2:53 pm
    • Reply

    Nice basement 🙂

    Why don’t you upgrade the vault drives as well? I have done this a few times on older and newer clariions. Just replace on drive at a time, waiting for the replaced drive to be rebuilt before replacing the next drive. On thing I have done to speed up the process is remove all the hot spares in the array while the vault drives are being upgraded.

    If you don’t have any existing LUNs on the vault drives this will go really quick. On a Cx700 running FLARE 26 it took about 20 minutes to rebuild each drive.

    1. Actually it was purely a case of the guy I bought the 146G drives from only had two lots of 5 available. 😉

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