Isilon, SRM, Storage, Virtualization, VMware

Problem with the EMC Isilon Storage Replication Adapter

VMware vCenter SRMA lot of folks out there use the VMware vCenter SRM to create and manage disaster recovery scenarios for their virtualized environments.

Besides having a button to click to fail over (parts of) your environment to a different site, it has one benefit: It forces you to think about your systems. You need to consider which systems are vital to your infrastructure, and you need to be aware of dependencies that you may have in your environment. There are numerous other things that SRM can help with, but that’s not what I wanted to highlight here.

A couple of days ago, I was at the VMware office in Munich, and was helping setting up a SRM 5.0 demo that would serve as a hands-on lab for people interested in SRM. The base of this SRM installation is a virtualized Isilon cluster, that offers the ability to easily provision storage, and offers replication between sites (a quick video overview by my colleague Nick Weaver can be found ).

While setting up the Isilon SRA which you can download from the VMware website, I ran in to a problem. When you download and extract the actual SRA, you’ll get a bunch of PDF files, and two executables. One is the installer for the actual storage replication adapter. It’s called “EMCIsilonSRASetup_1_0.exe”, and you need a current Java development kit to get that one running, but it should install correctly.

The second file is called “IsilonReplicationHelperSetup.exe”, and this is used to configure the SRA before using it in SRM. Now, when starting this helper, both me and Jase McCarty have seen errors that refer to a missing Java class (com.izforge.izpack.installer.Installer), for a program called IzPack which was used to create the installer. After extracting the actual executable, it seemed like some classes/libraries were missing from it.

I’ve been in touch with Isilon support after running in to the error, and after checking with them, they gave me an MD5 hash of a working copy of the IsilonReplicationHelperSetup.exe, which is:
416535bc1c7d7f133037af04b5502e3b However, MD5 for the executable that I got was:
4342E880A99EE2ED6DA1205F1018233DWhich obviously is different. The MD5 of the downloaded file, and the MD5 that VMware shows for the actual zip that contains the SRA matched up though.

So, I’m putting this post out there as a word of warning. It seems like one of the Isilon SRA files on the VMware website is non-functional. Should anybody out there see this, make sure to contact Isilon support and reference case 00169080, which is my case number.

I’m still working with the Isilon support to see what the next steps are going to be, and I’m sure this is going to be resolved soon enough, but I wanted to put this information out there for you in the meantime, to avoid people having to go through the same process as I did. It might save some folks a bit of time. And I’ll make sure I update this post when I get a solution from the Isilon support team.

Update – January 16th 2012:

While I’m still working with the Isilon support group to get everything sorted out, I did get a version of the IsilonReplicationHelperSetup Java archive that seems to be working. Now, I’m sharing this with you all while we try to get things resolved, and to get the working download on the VMware site, but I need to add a large disclaimer:

This file is not officially supported by EMC and/or Isilon, and while this file worked for me, your mileage may vary, and I would recommend that you do not use this file in a production environment! The file might work in a test environment, but please refrain from using it in a productive environment. Use the official files from the VMware download site, or create a case with Isilon and/or VMware support!

Now, to help you verify this file, the MD5 for the Java archive is:
FFAC907E70FD0BFC73076793B9D5FCB4and you can get the file here.

Update – February 10th 2012:

VMware has updated the Isilon SRA file, and the new MD5 for Version 1.0, (released 01/18/2012) currently is:d8b8408ab259d64ee3f5a83486e2a25eThis actually contains the working files, so you should be all set. 🙂