A little while back, EMC released a new version of it’s CLARiiON Fibre Logic Array Runtime Environment, or in short “FLARE” operating environment. This release brings us to version 04.30 and again has some enhancements that might interest you, so once more here’s a short overview of what this update packs:
Let’s start off with some basics. Along with this update you will find updated firmware versions for the following:
Enclosure: DAE2 - FRUMon: 5.10 Enclosure: DAE2-ATA - FRUMon: 1.99 Enclosure: DAE2P - FRUMon: 6.71 Enclosure: DAE3P - FRUMon: 7.81
- With version 04.30.000.5.507 you get support for FCoE. Prerequisite is using a 10 Gigabit Ethernet I/O module on CX4-120, CX4-240, CX4-480, and CX4-960 arrays.
- SATA EFD support.
- Following that point, you can now use Fibre Channel EFD and SATA EFD in the same DAE.
- And, you can now also mix Fibre Channel and SATA EFDs in the same RAID group.
- VMware vStorage API support in form of “vStorage full copy acceleration” (basically the array takes care of copying all the blocks, instead of sending everything to and from the application) and in form of “Compare and Swap” (an enhancement to the LUN locking mechanism).
- Rebuild avoidance. This feature will change the routing of I/O to the service processor that still has access to all the drives in the RAID group. You do need write caching to be enabled if you want to be able to use this feature.
- Virtual provisioning, basically EMC’s name for thin provisioning on the array.
There are some nice features in there, but for me personally the virtual provisioning, the FCoE support and the vStorage API support are the main ones.
One thing that caught my eye was in the section called limitations for FLARE version 04.30.000.5.507. In the release notes you will find the following statement:
Host attach support – Supported host attached systems are limited to the following operating systems: Windows, VMWare, and Linux
Which would mean that you have a problem when you are using something else like Solaris or HP-UX. I’m trying to get some confirmation, and I’ll update this post as soon as I have more info.
The statement has changed in the meantime:
Host attach support – Supported hosts that can be attached over an FCoE connection are limited to the following operating systems: Windows, VMWare, and Linux
Which means that this is just related to FCoE connected hosts.
After some feedback on Twitter from among others Andrew Sharrock, I’d thought it might be wise to talk a few sentences about the Virtual Provisioning feature.
In short, Virtual Provisioning was already introduced with FLARE 28. Problem was that at the time, you could only use the feature with thin pools. Basically, with this update, you also get support for a newer version of the feature. Things that were added are:
- Thick LUNs
- LUN expand and shrink
- Tiering preference (storage allocation from pools with mixed drives and different performance characteristics)
- Per-tier tracking support of pool usage
- RAID 1/0 support for pools
- Increased limits for drive usage in pools