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Smart Storage Administrator (SSA) GUI issue when performing risky and lengthy RAID activites

Occasional Advisor

Smart Storage Administrator (SSA) GUI issue when performing risky and lengthy RAID activites

Hello all,


I had a very annoying (or otherwise said very disappointing) experience with the SSA.


Let me tell it in short:


I downloaded and installed the SSA GUI utility for Windows x64 successfully, and started it. I installed a SAAP license on a SmartArray P410 to perform RAID stripe size migration, that requires SAAP license.

After the license was entered in the SSA tool and accepted, I discovered the new functions in the GUI that became available. One of them was the online RAID stripe size migration. I wanted to ANALYZE the options, and selected to migrate the stripe size on a logical volume. Let me repeat: I DID NOT WANT TO PERFORM THE ACTION immediately, I just wanted to discover the possibilities in the GUI, before I plan for a maintenance window and actually RUN this activity. So, after I selected the new size, I wanted to click next to see if there are any other options to consider, before actually running this risky activity.


Guess what happened, this crap just started to migrate my entrire RAID volume without asking for any final confirmation and any warning about the possible length of this process! You can understand how  shocked I felt!


Let me make it clear: I am not stupid, I clearly understand what the stripe migration means, and the possible length of such activity on a 2 TB volume should it need! What I was expecting on the other hand, that I get some final summary page, and I get a CLEAR AND PROMPT message something like this:


     "Until that point no changes have been performed, but from now on, if you click CONTINUE, the process will indeed be starting. So this is the last point, where you can change your mind and cancel the whole thing withous any issue!"


I felt like all the advancements in the UI space in the last 2 decades were completely forgot by HP engineers when they designed this GUI utility. Such GUI-driven utility should be used in order to protect the customer from performing any mistakes or perform any disastreous activity without informing the user about the consequences.


Luckily, the stripe migration was successful, I did not lose any data. However I completely lost the confidence in this tool. Went through its user manual: HP Smart Storage Administrator User Guide, Part Number: 742648-002, February 2014, Edition: 2. There were no references of the GUI tool (like some screenshots, where I could confirm that the next page after pressing the continue button will actually PERFORM the whole process, etc.), no explanation about cancellation of an already started migration, etc. So in summary, here are my findings where I expect some feedbacks from the owners of this forum:


1) Update the SSA GUI tool so that each activity that does changes to the storage subsystem in any way, should include a summary page, where I can clearly understand what will happen after I click the continue button, or if I change my mind, at this stage I can still click CANCEL without any consequences!

2) Give me (the end user) another warning before performing lengthy RAID migrations or other similar lenghty activities , that this activity may take even DAYS (considering the 15 minutes / Gb average assumption and the known size of the selected logical volume). It does not have to be super accurate, but the enduser should be able to realize, that its not a 5 minutes job, but a 36 hours thing!

3) Explain clearly, if the activity can be cancelled or suspended any time, or the activity cannot be interrupted and must complete after its started.
For example what happens if I shut down the OS in the middle of the stripe size migration? There is not a single word in the manual whether I am allowed to gracefully shut down the OS in the middle, or I have to wait until the migration finishes otherwise the whole array gets corrupted and I lose all 2 TB of data!


Remember, this is a GUI tool, not a scripting utility, where the experienced user can bypass warnings and informational messages in order to work efficiently. If the GUI is the choice of the user, it has a reason: less experience, and more expectation that the utility will guide it through the activity, safe and slow.

Respected Contributor

Re: Smart Storage Administrator (SSA) GUI issue when performing risky and lengthy RAID activites

Good ideas. I think the software engineers sometimes forget that not everyone works in a lab setting and can try stuff out on test servers just to get a feel for how things act. Even if you had access to a test server, sometimes you never get to use some feature except on a production system like that, and unless you've done it before, it would be a big surprise when it just starts going without a final confirmation.
Occasional Advisor

Re: Smart Storage Administrator (SSA) GUI issue when performing risky and lengthy RAID activites

Glad you liked it. Now, all I am really waiting for is a representative from the HP SSA team to acknowledge these problems, and promise an updated version of the tool in the foreseable future.

Occasional Advisor

Re: Smart Storage Administrator (SSA) GUI issue when performing risky and lengthy RAID activites

Any response from the owners please?