Automate and standardize SAP operations using Dell ESI for storage integration
Thu, 23 Mar 2023 17:46:21 -0000|
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SAP landscapes for enterprises can have multiple interrelated instances when you include the nonproduction systems that are used for development, testing, training, and sandbox experimentation. SAP Landscape Management (SAP LaMa) software combined with the Dell Enterprise Storage Integrator (ESI) for SAP LaMa simplifies management of these complex SAP environments using advanced storage-based replication services - local and remote - that are integrated into Dell storage systems.
Dell Technologies offers SAP customers one of the industry’s broadest portfolios of storage array options. ESI for SAP LaMa software supports all the storage systems that are listed in the following table for simplifying landscape management. Customers can choose a solution from N and N-1 PowerStore and PowerMax storage array models, and then purchase integration with SAP LaMa to improve management of their SAP systems. The new PowerStore All-Flash Storage appliance provides a data-centric design and adaptable architecture. PowerMax arrays are larger storage platforms that accelerate applications with end-to-end NVMe flash storage, global deduplication and compression, and data protection.
The following table shows the ESI-supported storage arrays:
Unified SAN and NAS
SAP LaMa is an automation and orchestration solution that replaces manual or scripted processes for creating clones and copies and monitoring activities. Simplified landscape management provides key business benefits including improved service quality and the capability to drive new business innovation. SAP LaMa combined with Dell ESI provides a single pane of glass for operations like SAP system relocation, creating and using snapshots, provisioning processes, and more. This increases manageability and enables business agility by facilitating administration teams to address rapidly changing organizational demands. Dell ESI supports SAP LaMa in physical, virtual, and cloud environments, providing a single pathway to manage most landscape configurations.
Improved operational capabilities with ESI for SAP LaMa include:
- SAP LaMa System Relocation: This operation enables relocation of an SAP system from the original host to another host that is recognized by SAP LaMa. System relocation operations are useful when the primary SAP server system needs scheduled maintenance or an upgrade. The entire relocation operation is automated, with ESI enabling administrators to quickly move the running SAP system from one host to another. All the following configurations are supported:
- Physical-to-physical (P2P) bare-metal to bare-metal
- Physical-to-virtual (P2V) bare-metal to VMware virtual using Raw Device Mapping (RDMs) and conversely
- Virtual-to-virtual (V2V) VMware VMDK discs from one VM to another
- Managed SAP LaMa: The managed snapshots operation enables all source volumes from an SAP system to be “snap copied” using a single API call to maintain storage consistency. Storage snapshots are a low-overhead point-in-time image of source volumes on a storage system that can be used in place of full copies for many management tasks. For example, PowerMax arrays use SnapVX to create a consistent image of SAP system volumes. Snapshots are more efficient than full copies because only the data changes between the source volumes and the images are copied to the “snap copied” volumes. For many SAP landscape management operations, PowerMax snapshots consume only a small fraction of the space that is used on the primary SAP system storage system.
- SAP LaMa system provisioning:
- System Clone: This operation duplicates a currently running system or previously created managed snapshot. The duplicated clone and source systems have identical system IDs. The clone is isolated (fenced) from the network to prevent data transfer to an incorrect system by mistake. The default configuration for all system clones, copies, and refresh processes that are created on Dell storage systems is to use space-efficient snapshots of the source volumes (space-saving copies).
- System Copy: This operation creates a copy of an SAP system with a new unique SAP system ID (SID), hostname, and IP address. A system copy is useful when the business needs a copy of either a production or nonproduction system for quality assurance, development, or testing. The key differences between a system clone and system copy are the creation of a new identity (SID) when using a copy operation, and the use of new storage volumes and full space allocations by the copy. Also, the target system is temporarily fenced until the changes take place.
- System Refresh: This operation refreshes a specified part of an existing system, either complete or used. Three options are enabled by system refresh procedures: system refresh, database refresh (database only), and restore-based refresh. The restore-based system refresh operation integrates with the leading Dell Data Protection solutions, such as PowerProtect Application Direct Database Agents and Data Domain with DDBoost.
Figure 1: Dell ESI integration with SAP Landscape Management
Additional operations such as monitoring and data protection can be streamlined by enabling Dell integration with SAP LaMa. For example, with data protection integration, customers can perform on-demand and scheduled backups of the SAP source system. Using PowerMax ESI integration, customers can automate most storage system operations for SAP. In addition, the opportunity for increased storage savings using efficient storage snapshots means that SAP customers can have more SAP systems consuming less overall space on their Dell storage systems.
- To start learning about the features and capabilities that are offered by Dell storage systems and PowerEdge servers, visit Dell Technologies Solutions for SAP.
- If you are interested in technical prerequisites for deploying ESI, see Enterprise Storage Integrator for SAP Landscape Management Simple Support Matrix.
- The SAP Landscape Management website is the ideal place to learn more about the benefits of automation and orchestration and post any questions you may have.
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CloudIQ: Cloud-based Monitoring for your Dell Technologies IT Environment
Wed, 25 May 2022 19:49:28 -0000|
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CloudIQ is Dell’s cloud-based AIOps application for monitoring Dell core, edge, and cloud. Born out of the Dell Unity storage product group several years ago, CloudIQ has quickly grown to cover a broad range of Dell Technologies products. With the latest addition of PowerSwitch, CloudIQ now covers Dell’s entire infrastructure portfolio, including compute, networking, CI/HCI, data protection, and storage systems.
According to a survey conducted last year, IT organizations were able to resolve infrastructure issues two to ten times faster and save a day per week on average with CloudIQ.1
- Storage: PowerStore, PowerMax, PowerScale, PowerVault, Dell Unity XT, Dell Unity, SC Series, XtremIO, VMAX, and Isilon
- Converged & HyperConverged: VxBlock, VxRail, and PowerFlex
- Networking: PowerSwitch and Connectrix
- Data Protection: PowerProtect DD Series, PowerProtect DD Virtual Edition, and PowerProtect Data Manager
- APEX Data Storage Services
- VMware integration
Figure 1. CloudIQ Supported Platforms
CloudIQ has a variety of innovative features based on machine learning and other algorithms that help you reduce risk, plan ahead, and improve productivity. These features include the proactive health score, performance impact and anomaly detection, workload contention identification, capacity forecasting and anomaly detection, cybersecurity monitoring, reclaimable storage identification, and VMware integration.
With custom reporting features, Webhooks, and a REST API, you can integrate data from CloudIQ into ticketing, collaboration, and automation tools and processes that you use in day-to-day IT operations.
Best of all, CloudIQ comes with your standard Dell ProSupport and ProSupport Plus contracts at no extra cost.
Keep an eye out for follow up blogs discussing CloudIQ’s key features in more detail!
Figure 2. CloudIQ Overview Page
With the addition of PowerSwitch support, CloudIQ now gives users the ability to monitor the full range of their Dell Technologies IT infrastructure from a single user interface. And the fact that it is a cloud offering hosted in a secure Dell IT environment means that it is accessible from virtually anywhere. Simply open a web browser, point to https://cloudiq.dell.com, and log in with your Dell support credentials. As a cloud-based application, it also means that you always have access to the latest features because CloudIQ’s agile development process allows for continuous and seamless updates without any effort from you. There is also a mobile app, so you can take it anywhere.
How do you become more familiar with Dell Technologies and CloudIQ? The Dell Technologies Info Hub site provides expertise that helps to ensure customer success with Dell Technologies platforms. We have CloudIQ demos, white papers, and videos available at the Dell Technologies CloudIQ page. Also, feel free to reference the CloudIQ Overview Whitepaper which provides an in-depth summary of CloudIQ.
 Based on a Dell Technologies survey of CloudIQ users conducted May-June 2021. Actual results may vary.
Author: Derek Barboza, Senior Principal Engineering Technologist
Looking Ahead: Dell Container Storage Modules 1.2
Mon, 21 Mar 2022 14:42:31 -0000|
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The quarterly update for Dell CSI Drivers & Dell Container Storage Modules (CSM) is here! Here’s what we’re planning.
New CSM Operator!
Dell Container Storage Modules (CSM) add data services and features that are not in the scope of the CSI specification today. The new CSM Operator simplifies the deployment of CSMs. With an ever-growing ecosystem and added features, deploying a driver and its affiliated modules need to be carefully studied before beginning the deployment.
The new CSM Operator:
- Serves as a one-stop-shop for deploying all Dell CSI driver and Container Storage Modules
- Simplifies the install and upgrade operations
- Leverages the Operator framework to give a clear status of the deployment of the resources
- Is certified by Red Hat OpenShift
In the short/middle term, the CSM Operator will deprecate the experimental CSM Installer.
Replication support with PowerScale
For disaster recovery protection, PowerScale implements data replication between appliances by means of the the SyncIQ feature. SyncIQ replicates the data between two sites, where one is read-write while the other is read-only, similar to Dell storage backends with async or sync replication.
The role of the CSM replication module and underlying CSI driver is to provision the volume within Kubernetes clusters and prepare the export configurations, quotas, and so on.
CSM Replication for PowerScale has been designed and implemented in such a way that it won’t collide with your existing Superna Eyeglass DR utility.
A live-action demo will be posted in the coming weeks on our VP YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/itzikreich/.
Across the portfolio
In this release, each CSI driver:
- Supports OpenShift 4.9
- Supports Kubernetes 1.23
- Supports the CSI Spec 1.5
- Updates the latest UBI-minimal image
- Supports fsGroupPolicy
Kubernetes v1.19 introduced the fsGroupPolicy to give more control to the CSI driver over the permission sets in the securityContext.
There are three possible options:
- None -- which means that the fsGroup directive from the securityContext will be ignored
- File -- which means that the fsGroup directive will be applied on the volume. This is the default setting for NAS systems such as PowerScale or Unity-File.
- ReadWriteOnceWithFSType -- which means that the fsGroup directive will be applied on the volume if it has fsType defined and is ReadWriteOnce. This is the default setting for block systems such as PowerMax and PowerStore-Block.
In all cases, Dell CSI drivers let kubelet perform the change ownership operations and do not do it at the driver level.
Standalone Helm install
Drivers for PowerFlex and Unity can now be installed with the help of the install scripts we provide under the dell-csi-installer directory.
A standalone Helm chart helps to easily integrate the driver installation with the agent for Continuous Deployment like Flux or Argo CD.
Note: To ensure that you install the driver on a supported Kubernetes version, the Helm charts take advantage of the kubeVersion field. Some Kubernetes distributions use labels in kubectl version (such as v1.21.3-mirantis-1 and v1.20.7-eks-1-20-7) that require manual editing.
Volume Health Monitoring support
Drivers for PowerFlex and Unity implement Volume Health Monitoring.
This feature is currently in alpha in Kubernetes (in Q1-2022), and is disabled with a default installation.
Once enabled, the drivers will expose the standard storage metrics, such as capacity usage and inode usage through the Kubernetes /metrics endpoint. The metrics will flow natively in popular dashboards like the ones built-in OpenShift Monitoring:
Pave the way for full open source!
All Dell drivers and dependencies like gopowerstore, gobrick, and more are now on Github and will be fully open-sourced. The umbrella project is and remains https://github.com/dell/csm, from which you can open tickets and see the roadmap.
Google Anthos 1.9
The Dell partnership with Google continues, and the latest CSI drivers for PowerScale and PowerStore support Anthos v1.9.
NFSv4 POSIX and ACL support
Both CSI PowerScale and PowerStore now allow setting the default permissions for the newly created volume. To do this, you can use POSIX octal notation or ACL.
- In PowerScale, you can use plain ACL or built-in values such as private_read, private, public_read, public_read_write, public or custom ones;
- In PowerStore, you can use the custom ones such as A::OWNER@:RWX, A::GROUP@:RWX, and A::OWNER@:rxtncy.
For more details you can:
- Watch these great CSM demos on our VP YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/itzikreich/
- Read the FAQs
- Subscribe to Github notification and be informed of the latest releases on: https://github.com/dell/csm
- Ask for help or chat with us on Slack
Author: Florian Coulombel