This is a repost of a writeup that I orriginally did for DellTechCenter.com
This past Monday (2/27/2012), I had the opportunity to attend Dell’s San Francisco event, led by CEO Michael Dell, VPs Praveen Asanth and Forrest Norrod along with Sr. VP David Johnson, at which they unveiled several new offerings across their enterprise product line. While you can read all about the wonderful sales figures that Dell shared on other financially focused corners of the webosphere, I want to spend a few posts focusing on the event and products themselves and what stood out to me.
Dell announced their acquisition of AppAssure today, a software based enterprise backup solution for physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures. They feature both local (DAS, SAN, remote disk) and cloud based backup, replication and recovery.
This further supplants the idea of Dell as being a hardware company and continues them on their path to a more solutions and services focus. As some colleagues in the field and I were just talking (@plankers, @tscalzott) that hardware (especially storage/server/network) are becoming ubiquitous, the real value will be in features and software innovations.
Here’s the press release from Dell:
An issue has come up on one of my Dell PowerEdge R610 ESXi hosts that I wanted to attempt a downgrade of the firmware on my Broadcom BCM5709 network adapters for troubleshooting, but was not finding any easy way between the Server Update Utlities, OpenManage Essentials, etc.
This didn’t fix my issue, but it was a PITA to figure out the best/fastes/easiest way to get this done, that I thought it worthwile to share.
My first thought was to attempt to use the Firmware Upgrade wizard built into the Dell Management Plug-in for VMware vCenter because it offers an option to select an update executable from a CIFS share, but that, unfortunately, just threw me an error even though I was using a valid DUP file.
Failed sending update file: (NETW_FRMW_WIN_R299290.EXE) to iDRAC – Details: The update package (NETW_FRMW_WIN_R299290.EXE) is not supported via 1×1 update feature. Use the repository method to update this device. This error can also be seen if package is not named according to Dell naming standards.
So I decided to build my own repository and point the Plug-in to that, and here’s that process:
I racked my 2 new EqualLogic PS6100E SANs today, furthering my belief that storage is sexy.
Today, Dell released Update 1 to the 1.0.1 version of their Management Plug-in for VMware vCenter. The biggest highlight among the fixes and changes would be the added support of ESX5 (vCenter 5). If you’re currently running the 1.0.1 plugin under a vCenter 5 environment (which ‘works’, just not in a supported kind of way), you’ll need to unregister and re-register the Dell Management Plugin after upgrading (see the Release Notes for all issues/resolutions).
One of the major changes from the original 1.0 to the 1.0.1 plug-in was the promise that updates to the appliance/software would come as an RPM patch and not tied to re-deploying another OVF. I’m glad to report that this worked wonderfully. You can find full instructions in the Dell Management Plug-in for VMware vCenter User Guide (page 41), but here’s the quick and dirty:
- Always backup your appliance. Always backup pre-upgrade. When? Always.
- Open up and log into the web admin portal (https://myApplianceHostname/)
- Click on ‘Appliance Management’ in the left menu
- Click ‘Upgrade’
- This will boot you out of the portal, upgrade the software and reboot the VM (the User Guide makes no mention that it reboots the VM, so just know that it does).
- I recommend opening up a VM Console so you don’t have to just sit and refresh the page to see if it’s back up or not
- Restart your vCenter Client (this might just be me because I was having some DNS issues at the time on my desktop)
The whole process took about 10 minutes for me. It took about 7 minutes before I saw the appliance reboot.
Ok, I’ve had the plug-in running for a few weeks and have gone through some of the primary functions of it (firmware updates, inventory, monitoring, warranty retrieval, create hardware profile for deployment)
I’m not going to go through the initial setup, that’s been covered pretty well on DellTechCenter.com.
Here are the claimed major functionalities with my notes as far as day to day usage as well as some miscellaneous thoughts at the end.
Dell unveiled an update to 2 of their EqualLogic PS series array platforms today along with their first sub-$10k array. The new PS6100 and PS4100 series arrays are a refresh of their PS6000 and PS4000 units. The new boxes are being touted as having up to a 67% improvement in I/O performance.
Here are the major new features for each:
- shrinks down to 2U
- 24 x 2.5″ drives – up to 21.6TB
- 12 x 3.5″ drives – up to 32TB
- Now starting at under $10,000
- 2U version with 24 x 2.5″ drives – up to 21.6TB
- New 4U design with 24 x 3.5″ drives – up to 72TB
- NEW Dedicated management port
Both arrays will ship with the latest 5.1 firmware and are certified for VMware’s vSphere 5.0 storage APIs (VASA, VAAI, etc.). The SSD options will go up to 400GB per drive, which I’m sure will be slightly over the $10,000 starting price in the PS4100.
This may sound lame, but the addition of the dedicated management port on the PS6100 is something that I’m very excited about. I never understood why there was one on the PS4000 but not the PS6000. It was maddening to lose 25% of my total network throughput on an array if I needed to attach it to a dedicated management network.
Being in the market for a Sumo (Dell’s EqualLogic Monster PS6500 series array), I was hoping that those would get the same refresh, and even though I knew it wasn’t going to be refreshed yet, I’m still a bit bummed that I may have to purchase it just before it gets its own upgrade.
Just got word Tuesday that I’ll have the honor to be a delegate for Gestalt IT’s Tech Field Day 7 focusing on Datacenter IT Infrastructure. The event seeks to bring together some of the industries great thinkers, authors, bloggers, influencers and vendors to engage each other. You can read more about the Tech Field Day at their site to get an idea of what these guys are about.
As excited as I am to get some pretty good face time with a few great vendors, I’m stoked about being able to meet some people in the IT community whom I’ve admired for quite a while. These are guys whose resources I’ve been reading for a while for a good deal of information as I’ve built up my knowledge and experience specifically in the virtualization and storage arenas. They are, in my mind, rock stars in the Datacenter IT world. I’m humbled to be brought in as a newer member of this event along side some veterans. The complete list of delegates is:
The event this time will be in Austin, Texas on August 11th and 12th. The sponsors are Dell (it’s Austin, after all), Veeam, SolarWinds and Symantec. All vendors that I either currently use or have used in the past. Looking forward to our discussions, hands on experience and feedback with them.
Thank you to Stephen Fosket
and Matt Simmons
for organizing this and to the vendors for their sponsorship and belief that this type of interaction with the community is worthwhile.
With our ever growing complexity within our virtualization environment, it’s getting a bit un-wieldy to manage all the disparate pieces (physical servers, virtual servers, storage, network, etc.). Actually, managing the pieces is getting easier. It’s managing the management pieces that’s becoming difficult. I’ve got SANHQ and Group Manager for my SAN, vCenter/Veeam for my vSphere, OpenManage for my Dell servers, and on and on. Anything that cuts down on the number of management infrastructure components is a god send.
Enter the Dell™ Management Plug-In for VMware vCenter, which is billed as a way to “seamlessly manage both your physical and virtual infrastructure.”. I’ve downloaded the trial (version 1.0.1) and will blog about my experience with it after I run it through some paces. The intial difference I see from the older one is that the older version’s download (188.8.131.52) came with the Users Guide built in to the extract, but the new one did not. Had to go find it here along with the Quick Install Guide and the Release Notes.