Local Replication improvements in the New Unisphere for PowerMax 9.0

Local Replication improvements in the New Unisphere for PowerMax 9.0

Since Unisphere 9.0 has been totally overhauled it’s worth taking a few minutes to explore the new interface for snapshot management with SnapVX, our local replication solution for VMAX All Flash and PowerMax Systems. Full details of SnapVX and how it all works is detailed in the excellent technical note from my colleague Mike Bresnahan, linked here https://www.emc.com/collateral/technical-documentation/h13697-emc-vmax3-local-replication.pdf.

Once you’ve provisioned storage on your VMAX system for your applications, if the data is important, and if it’s living on VMAX or PowerMax it usually is, we want to make sure we have protection in place for recovery from a variety of scenarios, as well as making copies of data available for development or test scenarios. SnapVX snapshots provide this capability and Unisphere makes it really easy to do.

From the Storage Group list view in Unisphere, search for your storage group and click on it to select, and click Protect.


From the Protection wizard select Point in Time Using SnapVX and click NEXT.


Give your snapshot a name, in this Case I’m calling mine HourlySnap – you can be more descriptive if you like up to 64 Characters (avoid special characters) note if there are already snapshots you can create a new version using the existing snapshot name. You can also set the snapshot to autoexpire using the Time To Live value which can be either hours or days. I’ve set my retention to be 6 hours, so I will have this version of my snapshot for at least that amount of time, meaning I have a 6 hour Recovery Time objective (RTO).


When I Click Next I get a summary screen which enables me to be able to set a schedule, this is a Creating the recurring snapshot from within this window (or wizard or at same time as the snapshot) provides and improved and (more efficient?) workflow over previous versions of Unisphere


I can select a date and time for the first run of the job.


The Summary has now been updated and I can see my schedule, I also have the option to make changes before adding to the job list to be executed.

Once the job is added to the Joblist it should appear on the jobs list alert at the top of the screen.


Managing existing snapshots is done from the Data Protection Dashboard, as shown below.


I’ve selected the CriticalDatabase storage group. You can note the number of snapshots, and the creation time of the last one. In order to make this snapshot available to a host click on the Link button and the link snapshot wizard is launched


The link snapshot wizard allows the user to select the snapshot, and version of a snapshot highlighted. Note the latest version is always (0).

When the Wizard runs, if you choose to create a new storage group for the linked target, the wizard automatically creates the required devices and completes the link. This is evident from the details on the output below.


To finish the process and make the snapshot visible on the host the new storage group needs to be part of a masking view, from the Storage Groups list simply select your storage group, click provision select the host and click Next>Next>Run Now couldn’t be simpler.


While we have made it extremely simple to take snapshots, it’s worth noting that you should monitor your array for snapshot usage. We are space efficient in how we share tracks between snapshots and production but space is not an infinite resource, it’s good to keep an eye on things. The capacity dashboard makes this easy to do, and Storage Group Demand reports allow you to see which applications are consuming the greatest amount of space and if that space is from snapshots.


It’s also highly recommended that alerting be enabled so that you are proactively alerted on capacity or resource issues so that action can be taken, the settings are accessed from the little cog on the top right and you can enable the threshold alerts as shown below.


Hopefully this post has given you a good feel for the updated interfaces, be sure to have a read of our technote https://www.emc.com/collateral/technical-documentation/h13697-emc-vmax3-local-replication.pdf and the release notes for PowerMax OS 5978 for full details on microcode enhancements for working with SnapVX.

More Posts to follow.


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