Archive for January, 2016

StorSimple virtual devices


In January 2016, Microsoft released StorSimple software version 2. According to the release notes, we now have the following StorSimple virtual devices:

The following table lays out some of the differences:

Model 8010 8020 1200
Type SVA OVA
Resides Azure On-Premises as VM on Hyper-V or VMWare
Storage Standard (SAS) Premium (SSD) Client-provided
StorSimple Manager Physical Device Series Virtual Device Series
Serves storage as iSCSI (SAN) iSCSI (SAN) or SMB (NAS)
Management Azure Web Interface Azure Web Interface, local console (initial IP), and local web interface (initial Config)
Max Capacity 30 TB 64 TB 64 TB

StorSimple 1200 OVA (On-premises Virtual Array) deployment


In January 2016 Microsoft released a new version of StorSimple, that’s a virtual device that can be deployed on-premises. This is commonly referred to as OVA (On-premises Virtual Array). The online documentation lists its features and installation/management instructions.

Create StorSimple Manager service

At this time (22 January, 2016) we have 2 ‘flavors’ of the StorSimple Manager service in Azure:

  1. Physical Device Series: This is the traditional StorSimple Manager service that is used to manage physical devices models 8100 and 8600 and the virtual devices models 8010 (formerly 1100) and 8020
  2. Virtual Device Series: This is the new StorSimple Manager service that’s used to manage the new On-Premises Virtual Array (OVA)

A StorSimple Manager service of the latter ‘flavor’ can be created in the Azure Management Interface by selecting the ‘Virtual Device Series’ option:

VirtualSS23

The OVA is in early ‘Preview’ release as of 26 January 2016, and many expected features are not available yet. For example, the Virtual Device Series StorSimple Manager service appears to be currently available only in East and West Japan regions!?

I recommend not checking the box to ‘Create a new Azure Storage Account’ here, and to manually create a storage account. I recommend creating a Storage account that’s physically closest to where the OVA will run to achieve lowest WAN latency. I also recommend using Geo-redundant storage.

Deploy StorSimple 1200 OVA (On-Premises Virtual Array)

This OVA is made available as a VHD image for Hyper-V or VMDK image for VMWare.

I deployed the OVA on a Server running Windows 2012 R2 and the Hyper-V role, using the following configuration:

  • Generation 1 VM
  • 8 GB static RAM
  • 4 CPU cores
  • 1 NIC
  • 500 GB dynamic VHDX disk on virtual SCSI adapter

This script automates the task of deploying the OVA on Hyper-V (2012 R2)

Sample script output:

OVA13

Log in using ‘Password1’, and change the password

OVA01

You’ll see a display similar to the following (I’m not using DHCP on this network):

OVA02

Similar to other versions of StorSimple, we’re provided a restricted version of Powershell where only a handful of cmdlets are exposed:

OVA03

I use the Set-HcsIPAdress and Get-HcsIPAddress cmdlets to set and verify the OVA IP settings:

OVA04

The Set-HcsIPAddress does not return any output even with the -verbose parameter!? I guess no news is good news..

StorSimple 1200 OVA (On-Premises Virtual Array) initial configuration

At this point, the rest of the OVA device configuration occurs from the device local web interface:

OVA05

Log in with the new password you set in the prior step:

OVA06

We then get this screen:

OVA07

Network settings (note that it can use DHCP):

OVA08

Device settings:

OVA09

In this page we can change the device name and join it to an on-premises AD domain. I’m accepting the default option to use this OVA as an SMB file server (NAS) not as an iSCSI SAN.

Time settings:

OVA10

Get the Service Registration Key from your StorSimple Manager:

OVA11

and enter that in the Cloud Settings page to register the OVA with your StorSimple Manager service:

OVA12

As of 26 January 2016, there’s no way to recover/change the service data encryption key on the ‘Virtual Device’ type of StorSimple Manager.

 

 

 

 


StorSimple Software Release 2.0 (17673)


In January 2016 Microsoft released software update 2.0 for StorSimple cloud integrated storage arrays. The release notes list some interesting features such as Local Volumes, SVA (StorSimple Virtual Array) model 8020 that provides 64TB capacity and uses Premium Storage (SSD). In the next few posts I will examine each of the new features in v2.0 including:

 


StorSimple 8k series factory reset


In some situations you may need to factory reset your 8k series StorSimple hybrid storage array. There are a few things you should know before you proceed:

  • Offline the volume(s) in the file server(s) under Disk Management
  • Clean up Azure objects (the order here is important):
    Offline and delete all volumes in the Azure classic portal. Delete volume containers. Delete backup policies (important). Delete associated Storage  Account(s) if not used for any other purpose. In the Azure classic portal, deactivate the deviceSS-001

Prior to deactivating the device in the Azure Management Interface, the Get-HcsSystem cmdlet will show a display similar to: HCS001

Looking for ‘Normal’ on all 3: Controller 0 Status, Controller 1 Status, and System Mode. If not, factory reset will fail. This will need Microsoft support assistance to get the device back out of Recovery mode.

After deactivating the device in the Azure Management Interface, the Get-HcsSystem cmdlet will show a display similar to:

HCS002

Notice that SystemMode now says ‘Decommissioned’.

The device will reboot several times. The process can take few hours.

One issue we have now (12 January 2016) is that the device reverts back to the version it shipped with – that’s version 0.2, regardless of what version it was running prior to the factory reset. This means that after re-installation, the device needs to be updated to the latest version which takes several hours. updates may include Maintenance mode updates which require downtime and may need to be installed manually via the device serial console.

This can be seen in this image as well:

Update1b

Notice that the device is on version 17584 (1.2) while the (source) VHD version is still 17361 (0.2). Part of the factory reset process is copying over the source VHD to the boot VHD; from which the device boots.