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EMC VNX/VPlex and OpenVMS

The Brit
Honored Contributor

EMC VNX/VPlex and OpenVMS

We are a multi-platform(/OS) shop and we are currently reviewing our Storage Options.     We had not recently looked at EMC (for use with OpenVMS), primarily because of poor reviews back 6-7 years ago.    However things change, and the EMC offering has improved dramatically over this period, so we find ourselves giving them serious consideration.     


The sad part is that this has been brought about by HP themselves.    Our experiences with the EVA platforms and XP10K/XP24K subsystems have been mixed, and basically come down to the fact that the capabilities of Command View, have not kept pace with other vendors.    XP's have been super reliable, although the same could not be said for the EVA line.


Another consideration is that although we have a significant investment in the HP bladesystem/Virtual connect technologies, (with both Proliant and Itanium blades), we still struggle to reach that warm, fussy point with their software and technology.    Advisories (indicating bugs and problems) are still being released with alarming frequency, at least a couple per week.


As a result, we are considering a move which would take our Windows and Linux systems to an alternative BladeSystem (and Storage subsystem).      Our Itanium blades would (of necessity) remain to host the OpenVMS environments.


In light of these considerations, we are examining our options for Storage vendors who could support all of our platforms (including OpenVMS).      So EMC storage is again up for consideration.


In addition to the OpenVMS support, a big attraction of the EMC offering is their Data Replication implimentation using VPlex.




Question:       Is anyone currently using EMC’s VNX Storage Platform (with or without VPlex), to provision storage to your OpenVMS systems???
EMC is telling us that they have customers doing this (?), but seem to be slow in responding to referral requests.
Thanks for any information you can provide.



Peter Zeiszler
Trusted Contributor

Re: EMC VNX/VPlex and OpenVMS



Did you ever get the OpenVMS working with multiple EMC arrays and VPLEX?  Any best practices or gotchas?


We have been using clarrions and VNX5500 but are now considering VNX5600 with VPLEX.  Still waiting for information from EMC about its operation with OpenVMS and how the OS handles losing one array.




Re: EMC VNX/VPlex and OpenVMS

We are running rx2800 i2 / OpenVMS 8.4 with an EMC VNX SAN server but I don't know the name of the replication scheme we are using.  EMC has some options, but what you use apparently depends on how you wish to use the replicated data.  I'll give a brief commentary.


We WERE (past tense) on EMC D-series systems for our SAN and they worked OK, just needed to set some bits in the controllers to make them look kind of like something you might use for HPUX or similar disks.  Something to do with LUN mapping - but it just takes a little time and effort to get that to work.  Took us less than two days of experimenting to get the bits right, zones mapped, etc.  We were and still are running fiber to EMC's FC.  On our Alphas we used KGPSA, but on the Integrity we are using QLogic ISP253x fiber.  We like the 253x because it runs rings around the KGPSA.


Now that we are on the V-series EMCs, the replication scheme we are using has this little "feature" (if you want to call it that).  We are doing essentially continuous replication between our "live" site and our "standby" (warm-failover) site.  Because of the configuration we bought, the servers on the standby side of the transfer cannot ever be allowed to mount the disks being replicated because the configuration uses the standby's "real" disks to receive data.  In order to mount the standby disks, we have to tell the VNX to stop replication and then let the disks quiesce before we can do the mount command.  Otherwise we get destructive interference and could actually destroy files.  At the least, we get discrepancies between the INDEXF.SYS file and some of the directories.  We need to do ANALYZE/REPAIR when we do that and it is usually very ugly.  But if we shut down the "live" site, let the "standby" site catch up, and then bring up the associated disks - no problems at all.


It is possible that we do this type of replication because we work for a cheap.... 'scuse me, I meant "parsimonious" department.  If we had bought more disks to all the full STD-R1-R2-RBCV replication, which we had for the DMX SAN, the mount restrictions wouldn't apply.


I'd say go ahead with the EMC V-series boxes.  They work fine and the 8 Gb fiber speed on the ISP253x is a good match for the FC adapters used on the EMC boxes.  Just look into the facets of the replication scheme so you won't be caught by surprise.


In an aside, EMC isn't necessarily the fastest company to reply to queries.  They also bought VMWare (which we use) and Legato (which we use) and sometimes it is like pulling teeth to get them to answer things.  Another piece of the puzzle is that EMC either is being bought or has already been bought by DELL, so there is sure to be a lot of confusion in their ranks regarding continued employment.


Security+ Certified; HP OpenVMS CSA (v8)

Re: EMC VNX/VPlex and OpenVMS

Fast Forward from Original Posting...  


FWIW,   We've utilized HP EVA4400, HP P6300 and now HP 3PAR SSD for OpenVMS Clusters here.  I've recently migrated the last of the EVA4400 and P6300 to all Solid State Drives on HP 3PAR for our VMS Clusters running rx2800's.     All these (HP) mentioned storage solutions have served us very well indeed for both our VMware, Windows and VMS systems.  (Prior to these EVAs, we were on HSG80 just for VMS)  So we've been on a steady progression to utilize amongst the best storage offerings for VMS and I'd highly recommed the 3PAR SSD solutions for OpenVMS.   





John K.