Dell EqualLogic Roadshow

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I went to the Dell EqualLogic User Group and Roadshow in Dallas yesterday afternoon and really enjoyed it. Three things really jumped out at me.

  1. Most guys there were Windows admins / most companies were Windows shops. Only one other guy was running Linux.
  2. These (Windows) guys aren’t running all the software. EqualLogic comes with all the software. You don’t have to pay for CIFS or NFS or snapshots or replication or the host integration tools or monitoring separately. It’s all included.
  3. The plugin for vmware is really cool. Licensed versions of vmware (not the free hypervisors) can run the EqualLogic Storage Manager plugin and VM.  This is new to me, but I really like it.

Note: I have not received anything from Dell, nor have they paid me in any way to write this. This is my own opinion. I just really like EqualLogic SANs. My favorite part is that the software is all inclusive. They don’t nickle and dime you for everything.

Note2: CIFS & NFS come on the FS series NAS, not the SAN. I thought that would be self explanatory, but maybe not. The NAS uses the SAN for storage, though.

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Preventing Accidental Reboots with Molly-Guard

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Until a few weeks, I hadn’t heard of a Molly Guard. But after my coworker accidentally rebooted our production NAS, I was tasked with creating a script that kept you from rebooting the wrong server. I wanted it to be much like the Dell Equal Logic PS Series’ [

Until a few weeks, I hadn’t heard of a Molly Guard. But after my coworker accidentally rebooted our production NAS, I was tasked with creating a script that kept you from rebooting the wrong server. I wanted it to be much like the Dell Equal Logic PS Series’]3 command that requires you to type “DeleteAllMyDataNow” (which is the best “are you sure?” message ever).

Legend has it that a mainframe programmer’s daughter Molly kept hitting the Big Red Button to power down the mainframe, so he created a Plexiglas cover as a “Molly-Guard” to keep little Molly from hitting the button again.

Well, the good folks over at Debian createda package called “molly-guard” for Debian systems… which is great, unless you don’t run Debian or a derivative thereof. So for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and its derivatives like CentOS or Scientific Linux, a very generous person modified it and released it for RHEL.

http://lazarus-corner-of-the-world.blogspot.com/2012/11/rpm-builds-for-molly-guard.html

Note: Molly-Guard only works via ssh, not on the console. It assumes you know what you’re doing on the console.

I created a github repo for it so that the code doesn’t disappear someday: https://github.com/tmhorne/molly-guard

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DeleteAllMyDataNow

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One of my favorite things about the Dell Equal Logic SANs is that they make management both simple and foolproof direct. I can name a lot of other reasons too, but I digress.

Last year some time, we bought a new shelf for our SAN and we removed an older one to take to our Disaster Recovery site. While it was in the lab, I had the chance to reset it to factory defaults, which removes all configuration on the thing and you lose ALL your data. We had migrated off of the thing and removed it from the rack and it was in a lab environment, so there was no potential for impact.

Here is the beauty of the Equal Logic PS Series: It’s totally unambiguous as to what you’re doing.

To run the “reset” command, you mustn’t just type “yes” to confirm. You REALLY have to confirm it. They make you type DeleteAllMyDataNow. It’s awesome.

I had photos of it after I entered “DeleteAllMyDataNow”, but I can’t find them. I did have a memory card fail in my phone around that time, so it is probably gone forever.

It looks like this:

prod-grp-01> reset
Warning: This command resets an array to the factory
defaults (original condition). The result is the
elimination of all group and volume configuration
information and any volume data residing on the array.
Before resetting an array that is a member of a group,
it is recommended that you delete the member from the
group.
Reset this array to factory defaults? [n/DeleteAllMyDataNow]>
<strong>DeleteAllMyDataNow</strong>
Connection closed by foreign host.

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Kickstart / Kicksmart

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If you’re building a new Linux Kickstart file and you accidentally typo your /boot partition for –size=10 instead of –size=100, it will fail spectacularly when /boot runs out of disk space.

Broken:

part /boot --fstype ext3 --size=10 --ondrive=sda

Working:

part /boot --fstype ext3 --size=100 --ondrive=sda

 

Not that this is news to anybody, but it was really funny to me when I saw my mistake.

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Pogo Linux

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I can’t go into the details, but I wanted everyone to know that Pogo Linux is an awesome company. We recently bought a new Nexenta based NAS from them. We were apparently an edge case and one of our requirements didn’t work right.  Through no fault of Pogo’s, the NAS really just didn’t work for us and they agreed to take it back and refund us.

I’ve got a bitter taste in my mount from Nexenta, but I sure do love Pogo. Their support was stellar.

I would happily do business with Pogo again and would recommend them to anybody.

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