Friday, October 25, 2013

Brain & Wendel - Episode 8 - Reference Architectures

Hi Friends,

In this episode Wendel and I discuss Reference Architectures.  What are they?  Why do you need them?  What good are they for?  And how we do reference architectures at Nimble.  Be sure to check out the last 30 seconds for show bloopers!  :-)


Episode 8: Reference Architectures


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Neil versus PVS - Part I - Shadow Copy

Hi Friends,

Oh my goodness, have you ever had one of those days where NOTHING wants to work?  Wow, that's today!  Every time I take one step forward I take two back.  Why is Citrix PVS torturing me so?  I don't know, maybe I pissed it off...  Any who, time for you to enjoy the fruits of my agony.

This is a weirrrrrrrd one.  So I finished installing PVS on my Windows 7 master image and decided to use PvDisk.  So this is before I even got to creating my vDisk.  PvDisk starts to do it's magic and BOOM!  Error, failure, no go, do not collect $200!  I look in the log and I got some weird error that said something like failed to initializebackup.  I searched my buddy Google, but really couldn't find anything.  So I figure maybe it's something to do with PvDisk right?  So I re-create my Windows 7 machine, install XenDesktop without installing PvDisk.

Everything's working cool, I'm creating my vDisk, the machine reboots so it can run the XenConvert and BOOM!

I took a look at the log and the error was surprisingly similar to the PvDisk error.  Hmmm maybe I'm onto something?  The error was something like Failed to initialize backup.  That looks familiar!  So I look around and I find this Citrix article CTX134075.    Well according to this article the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) needs to be running.  So I took a look and sure enough it was disabled.

I go to create a new vDisk, the machine reboots so it can run the XenConvert and BOOM!  What the heck?!  This time the error says something like failed to addtosnapshotset.  UGH!  So I look around on Google and found this thread.  Apparently there's TWO Shadow Copy Services!

I go into Services and sure enough there's a second one called Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider.  I turn that service on, create a new vDisk and then the XenConvert started to work!!

I don't know if the PvDisk error is fixed now, but I get a sneaking suspicion it is.  I'll let you know when I re-install it.

So if you're getting weird snapshot errors with PVS/PvDisk, take a look at your Shadow Copy Services, both of them, they might not be running.

Until Next Time!

Happy 1st Birthday Glick's Gray Matter!

Hi Friends,

I can't believe a year has already passed and my blog has been viewed over 35,000 times!!  If you would have asked me how many people would want to read what I had to say, I definitely wouldn't say that many!

Thank you to my wonderful Wife for all of her blog ideas and just being great and thank you to all my readers, without you there wouldn't be a Glick's Gray Matter!

If you keep reading, I'll keep writing!

-Neil (The Brain)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Brain & Wendel - Episode 7 - Proactive Customer Support

Hi Friends,

Happy Friday!  This week Brain and Wendel interview Nimble Storage Vice President of Customer Support, Rod Bagg.  Learn about the excellent steps Nimble Storage has taken to help customer's before they even know there is a problem!  Definitely not a show to miss, I learned a ton of information.

iTunes Download

Non-iTunes Link: 
Episode 7: Proactive Customer Support


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Brain & Wendel - So Much Fun You'll Forget It's Educational!

Hi Friends,

I was out on Holiday, but I'm back!  I have great news, two more Brain & Wendel shows have been posted to iTunes.  You can get them here:

If you don't have an Apple product, never fear, you can download the MP3 here:

In Episode 5 we talk about VMworld, past, present and future.  Iron Tom is our special guest who is an Oracle and Linux guru and was at VMworld for the first time this year.  It's great to get his perspective on the show!  We also discus the software defined datacenter.  What does it mean and what does it mean to you?

In Episode 6 we talk about Big Data.  Larry Lancaster is our special guest, the Chief Data Scientist at Nimble Storage who enlightens us regarding Big Data and products like Hadoop and Vertica.  Big Data is becoming big news, so be sure to check this episode out to learn what all the

Until Next Time!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

How to Add Nimble Storage to Citrix XenServer

Hi Friends,

When I bring up XenServer a lot of people feel that it's down for the count in the hypervisor world, but I still think there's life in it!  :-)  It recently went open source and can be downloaded from either Citrix or  I'm still asked from time to time about how to use Nimble Storage with XenServer, so I thought it would be a good idea to create some blogs on the topic.  I'd really be interested in hearing if you use XenServer, in what part of your business and what made you decide to use it.

Well then, on to creating some LUNs!

First let's create our initiator group so our Nimble array knows who our XenServer host is.

1.  Let's grab our initiator IQN from XenServer so we can create our initiator group on the Nimble array.  Click on your XenServer server, click on the General tab and copy down the iSCSI IQN.

2.  Next go to your Nimble Storage array and click on the manage and select initiator groups.  Click on New Initiator Group.

3.  Give our initiator group a name and click on the Add Initiator button.  Enter in the iSCSI iqn that you copied from XenServer and than click on OK and OK again.

Excellent, now the array and XenServer will be able to talk.  Now lets create a volume!

4.  Click on Manage and select Volumes.

5.  Now click on New Volume.

Okay, from here your mileage will vary since there are a bunch of different things you can do to optimize your volume, so I'm going to point out the highlights.

6.  Give your volume a name and select the initiator group you just created.  Click Next.

7.  Enter the size of your volume.  Click Next.

8.  Next create your protection policy.  This is just a test, so I'm not going to create one.

Outstanding, the volume and initiator group is created, we're ready to add storage to XenServer!  

9.  In the Nimble Array, go to Manage, Array.

10.  Here we're looking for the storage network our array and XenServer should be talking over.  Copy the Target Discovery IP Address, we're going to need it soon.

11.  Go to XenCenter, click on your server, then click on the Storage tab and then the New SR button.

12.  Select Software iSCSI as your Virtual disk storage.  Click Next.

13.  Give the new SR or Storage Repository a name.

14.  Remember that Target Discovery IP Address you wrote down from the Nimble Array?  Paste it into the Target Host.  Next click on Discover IQNs and Discover LUNs.  The LUN you just created should be discovered.  Click Finish.

15.  Now since this is a new LUN being attached XenServer, it will most likely want to format the LUN so XenServer can use it.

WARNING:  Make sure you don't have any data on this LUN that you want keep!

That's it!  You've just created a new LUN that can be used by XenServer.

Until Next Time!