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On 4th May,2015, EMC unveiled XtremIO™ version 4.0 . XtremIO is EMC's all-flash storage array that has been designed from the ground-up to unlock the full performance potential of flash and deliver array-based capabilities that leverage the unique characteristics of SSDs, based on flash media. XtremIO was also named a leader in the 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Solid State Arrays with a 31.1% share, with over a ten percentage point share lead to its nearest competitor.

In this blog, let us discuss about some aspects of installation for this market-leading product. The installation comes under the following headings;-

  1. Hardware Setup
  2. Cabling Setup
  3. Storage controllers Setup
  4. Cluster Initialization
  5. Post-Installation Procedures


Let us discuss the above components one by one:-



Hardware Setup The XtremIO Storage Array package comes in the following configurations:

  • Factory-assembled rack
    • In this configuration, all components are already installed and wired within either a 40U or a 44U EMC rack
  • Mini-rack
    • In this configuration, all components are packed within one or more 12U shipping racks


Further details on the above options can be found in the Software and Hardware Installation and Upgrade Guide.



Cabling Setup : The following cables kit need to be set-up as demonstrated in Figure 1.



Figure 1. Cabling and labeling



Storage controllers Setup : Each Storage Controller within the XtremIO array runs a specially customized lightweight Linux distribution as the base platform. The XtremIO Operating System (XIOS) runs on top of Linux and handles all activities within a Storage Controller, as shown in figure 2.


Figure 2. X-Brick Block Diagram



The storage controller configuration menu is shown in figure 3.


zz3.pngFigure 3. Easy Install Menu

Using the TECH port of a Storage Controller, the Easy Install menu (xinstall) allows for IP configuration from a single Storage Controller for all of the Storage Controllers in a cluster. By choosing the configuration menu on the Storage Controller, the Storage Controller Configuration sub-menu appears. The IP configuration for all Storage Controllers can now be configured for a single or multiple X-Brick installation. This is accomplished by using auto-detection of the Infiniband ports. IPMI addresses are no longer required during IP configuration, only management IP addresses are required.


During the installation of the XtremIO 4.0 code onto the Storage Controllers, the software will create WWNN, WWPN and an IQN scheme based on the X-Brick PSNT. Encoding is as follows:


  • Cluster PSNT is encoded into the WWNN
  • Cluster PSNT and WWPN are integrated into the iSCSI IQN
  • The X-Brick ID, SC and HBA port number are encoded into the WWPN


Cluster Initialization: When initializing a new cluster using version 4.0, the CLI command “create-cluster” displays elapsed time for cluster configuration progress. The initialization will discover the cluster then activate the OS modules. It will then perform SSD firmware upgrades before the cluster initialization is complete.



Figure 4. Cluster Initialization Process



After cluster creation, the command prompts the service technician to perform a Battery Backup Unit test. As per EMC recommendation, the battery backup test is to be run after cluster creation.



Post-Installation Procedures: The following CLI commands should be run on the XMS after the successful creation of a cluster. We should look for positive output, such as healthy, active, and connected, from the commands as shown in figure 5.



Figure 5. Post Installation Commands



The above installation steps are just a short overview of the installation process for XtremIO 4.0. For more details, you may consult the XtremIO site or consult XtremIO 4.0 installation manuals.

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