Friday, January 30, 2015

Nimble Storage Syslog with Splunk

Hi Friends,

I wanted to share some cool new stuff I've been working on.  In Nimble OS Syslog is now available!  Yep, you can get Nimble events sent to your syslog server to keep you updated on what's happening on your array.

Setup is a snap, click on Administration > Alerts & Monitoring > Syslog and it will take you to the syslog setup screen.

Once there just click on Enable Syslog Server, enter the IP or DNS name of your server and the port your syslog server is listening on.  Click Save and that's it!

If you're a CLI fan Nimble didn't forget about you, syslog can be setup through CLI as well.  If you've got questions, check out the Nimble Storage User Guide.

Okay, so now what?  I've set up syslog, but how do I get my events?  That's where Splunk comes in.  If you haven't heard of Splunk get ready to have your socks knocked off.  It's a super cool tool that does a TON of stuff!  I've set it up and haven't even scratched the surface. Splunk collects and analyzes data generated by infrastructure, security systems, and applications.  As I learn more I'll keep blogging about it.

I set up a simple syslog collection and I'm already receiving information about my array.  See those green bars towards the top of the page?  Those allow you to zoom in and out of times, VERY cool!

I did a storage controller failover to see if Splunk would capture it and what information I'd get.

Here you can see the failover initiated and successfully finished.  This is very handy!  There's tons more, but I wanted to show this cool capability that can help you keep an eye on your Nimble.

Until Next Time!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Why is Everyone in Such a Hurry???

Hi Friends,

I don't normally vent or complain about things that have nothing to do about technology, but here's one that REALLY upsets me and I just don't get it.  My hope is if I speak up and make people aware, MAYBE, just maybe they'll be more courteous.  Maybe?

In California, if you're in the right hand lane and you come to a red light, you must first STOP, make sure there are no pedestrians, bicycles, cars, etc. and when it's SAFE you can turn if there's not a red right arrow or something saying you can't turn.  Take a look:

Simple concept right?  Then why do people get so impatient and angry if you don't immediately go?  It seems if you spend more then 1/2 a second people start to honk at you.

For example, there's a turn by where I live that I take every day.  It's a very busy street and if I leave past a certain time it's certain that the traffic will be really bad and making a right on the red without hitting something is very unlikely.  It NEVER ceases to amaze me how impatient people are!  I'm sitting at the light and 5 or 10 seconds goes by along with a very steady stream of cars and I know what's coming...  I start to get nervous....  And it happens!



I jump in my seat.  What the heck?  It's not safe, I'm not comfortable jumping out into on coming traffic, but I'm being yelled at to move!  The light turns green and I begin to make the turn and the guy who honked at me proceeds to honk at me three more times!

Have you ever seen the Disney short, Motor Mania?  It was made in 1950.  And it's true today as it was 65 years ago.  The polite and friendly Mr. Walker transforms into the impatient, angry and rude Mr. Wheeler as soon as he gets behind the wheel of his car.

Mr. Walker - Just before the transformation.

Mr. Wheeler - The transformation has occurred!

Did the guy who honked at me really accomplish anything accept raise my blood pressure and his?  Did he miss an important life altering meeting because I didn't jump out into traffic 20 seconds earlier?
Was someone's life in jeopardy because I didn't run through a red light?

Why are we always in such a hurry?  To go where?  Work?  School?  Will 20 seconds really make a difference?  Just because you're in your car doesn't make you anonymous or less liable for your actions.  Would you walk up to someone and yell at them, "Get out of my way!"  Do people realize there's a person in the car in the car in front of them that they're honking at?  My intention wasn't to anger this person, but to get to work alive.

Well that's enough venting.  Maybe next time if there's a car in front of you and they're pissing you off for some reason, take a deep breath, is it really worth getting angry and ruining your and their day?

Anger and impatience leads to poor judgment and doing things we normally wouldn't do.  Take a look what happened to Mr. Wheeler.  Is it really worth it?

Demystifying VDI Webinar TODAY!

Hi Friends,

Ugh, why didn't I think of this sooner!!  I'm giving a webinar today at 11:00 Pacific time on VDI.

If you'd like to tune in, head over to the Nimble site and register!  You'll have a chance to win an Amazon gift card too!

VMware Certifies Nimble Storage for Horizon Fast Track 2.0 Proven Storage

Hi Friends,

I'm on the Nimble Storage Website!  Recently we ran through the VMware Horizon Fast Track 2.0 Proven Storage certification.  Have a look how Nimble Storage can help you with your VDI needs!

This calls for a Flash Jump!

Monday, January 19, 2015

**Update** - Restore Single Files - Nimble Snapshots is There Anything They Can't Do? Part II - VMware vCenter Plugin

Hi Friends,

Got some great feedback on the single file restore blog!  One of my SE's mentioned how about doing this with the Nimble VMware vCenter Plug-in?  And another person mentioned running into the All Paths Down issue if the datastore is pulled without properly un-mounting it.  Why I didn't show the plug-in is beyond me, I think my brain has officially turned into tapioca.

Anywho, the cool thing about the Nimble VMware vCenter Plug-in is it takes care of all of the vCenter stuff!  All the mounting and un-mounting, so you don't run into problems.  Let me demonstrate.

Here we've got the "share" datastore we need to clone and mount up.  Click on the datastore to get more information.

There's our snapshot with our really important file.  We select it and click on the clone icon.

I gave it a name called "restore" and click on the Clone button to kick off the clone.

After the clone is finished, the plug-in not only clones the datastore, but mounts it up!  How cool is that?

Next we mount up the disk on a host like we did in the previous blog.

The disk is mounted up and there is our really important file!

Back in the Nimble Plug-in we can see the "restore" datastore is now listed as a volume.  Note the size!  Gotta love zero copy clones!  :-)

Now let's delete the clone to clean things up.  We do this in the Nimble Plug-in too by clicking on the trash can.

We get this warning, just to be sure we really want the datastore deleted.

But Brain, you didn't un-mount the datastore from the virtual machine in vCenter, isn't that going to cause all kinds of problems?

Ahhhhh!  I'm glad you asked that!  Hey, we've gotcha covered!  Once I remove the datastore from the Windows host I can successfully delete the datastore.  Here's the error I got before I un-mounted the datastore from the virtual machine.

And to avoid All Paths Down.  We properly remove the datastore from VMware vCenter.

Until Next Time!

Friday, January 16, 2015

A General System Error Occurred. Alias Value Should Not Be Empty - vCenter Emergency!

Hi Friends,

Got a weird one today.  I had a virtual machine get stuck while it was trying to remove a snapshot and instead of waiting for it to finish I got impatient and rebooted the machine and then powered off the machine.  That made things interesting....  To make a long story short I rebooted the ESXi server and forgot it also had all of my infrastructure on it.  Whoops....

When I restarted everything I tried logging into vCenter and got an error I've never seen before, A General System Error Occurred.  Alias Value Should Not Be Empty.  Or something like that.  Had NO idea what that meant so I Googled the error and found a VMware KB and some community discussions around it.  One of the discussions said they had to rebuild their whole environment, another said something was messed up with active directory.  All of these colorful words started going through my head!

But wait, the last response someone said they had a similar error and a reboot fixed it.  NAH!!!  It can't be that easy!!

Sure enough after a reboot and all of the services started, vCenter let me log in!


So if you have a catastrophic environment reboot due to some unforeseeable force and this error message pops up, maybe a reboot might help.

Bye Bye Everybody!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Citrix Summit 2015

Hi Friends,

I just got back from Citrix Summit 2015 and had a great time.  I was in the Nimble booth for about 12 hours and my feet hurt!

I got to meet a ton of great people that came to the Nimble booth, and if you did stop by, put up a comment and let me know what you thought!

I got to see my sister Rachel who I don't get to see nearly enough.  One of these days she and her family will move to California!

Here's me in front of the booth.

And here's me with a couple of my co-workers in the booth.

Until Next Time!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Restore Single Files - Nimble Snapshots is There Anything They Can't Do? Part II

Hi Friends,

Have you ever had a file share and someone deleted or corrupted one of your files?  Or maybe you accidentally did it?

Normally this would be cause for great confusion, anger, sadness, more anger, colorful language, you get my point.  Well if you had your data on a Nimble Storage array with VMDK's and were performing snapshots, you'd be in luck my friend!  Today I'm going to show you how to restore single files from Nimble snapshots if the disk was attached through VMware using VMDK's.

So here we can see our file that we want to keep.

Unfortunately, things happen and...

Yep, you guessed it, our really important file is GONE!  Or is it?.....

With Nimble Storage you can take snapshots and even synchronize with VMware vCenter so your data is synchronized.  How cool is that?  Well, backups are only as good as the restore, so let's see how we restore our Really Important File.

In an earlier blog I showed you how to restore an entire volume and bring it back online in VMware vCenter, but what if new stuff has been written to this volume and I don't want to replace the whole thing?  What if I just want my really important file back?

This looks like a job for this guy!!

Or Nimble Storage snapshots!

Since I couldn't get a hold of the flying bunny, here's how you do it with Nimble and VMware.

Remember, this is with VMware VMDK mounted storage, not direct connect.  There are different methods to use with direct connect which I won't go over right now.

Okay, head over to your Nimble Storage GUI, select the volume your really important file was on and click on the Snapshot tab.  Select the snapshot that has the data on it and click on the Clone button.  Give the volume a name and you're done!  Well, done on the Nimble side.  :-)  Take note of the time stamp, that's going to be really important in a little bit.

Back on the Volumes page we can see our clone CIFS-Restore and we can see the parent is share2012-cifs4. 

Excellent, we're ready to go to vCenter!

We're going to add this volume as a datastore.  There's the volume and we'll add it and give it a new signature so we can have both the original and the clone mounted at the same time.

Okay, almost there!  Now let's add the datastore to a host.  What host do you ask?  Excellent question!  It's a good idea not to mount the volume on the same machine it came from?  Why?  Well we gave the disk a new signature at the VMware level, but the OS might still get confused since it has it's own disk signature at it's level.

Now that we have a host to mount the disk to, add it through vCenter as an existing virtual disk.

Select the clone from the list of datastores and presto!

Oh crap, which one do you use?  Remember I said to pay attention to the time?  Choose the file with the same time stamp.

Outstanding!  We now have our volume mounted up to a Windows host.  Head over to the Windows host and look at the disks in computer management.  Mine was mounted up and ready to go!

Go to Windows Explorer and your really important file should be there!

Until Next Time!