EMC XtremIO management console walkthrough
Last week I was lucky enough to be able to get my hands on an XtremIO brick from EMC. These bricks were just released to the general public a couple of weeks ago and before that they were nearly impossible to get your hands on one. I have only had limited exposure to it so far but plan on getting to know it better. That means trying to crush it with different workloads and see how it behaves, until then I thought a walk through of what the management interface for XtremIO looks like would be a good place to start.
The management dashboard is a Java based application, I’m not crazy about Java but I do have to say that it performed pretty responsive. The pages loaded quickly when moving between the different areas and most of the data updates Live so you are not looking at old data.
The dashboard is laid out pretty clear with the main areas shown as icons along the top of the screen. Its very easy to see what your options are and navigate between them. I would say that this layout is carried over and EMC has not muddied it with Unisphere ugliness yet.
In the first image shown below we are looking at the main dashboard screen that you see when logging in. This dashboard gives you different info that lets you know how the brick is performing and its health. On the left side there is capacity information that shows the dedupe ratios and capacity information. The upper right space is showing performance information, the current view is showing the IOPS view, there are other tabs shown below for latency and bandwidth.
The lower two spaces show the health of the brick, the left shows a color view of the health of the unit. While the right shows any alerts for the brick.
The next image is a focused view of the performance section that is showing bandwidth for the brick. The display shows overall bandwidth and both the gauge and line chart show the write and read values along with the total. This is pretty nice because it allows you to see how the bandwidth is being consumed.
The next image is a focused view of the performance section that is showing Latency for the brick. The display shows overall latency and both the gauge and line chart show the write and read values along with the total. In something that I have not seen on other storage offerings is the latency is broken down for the different block sizes that are being services. This is pretty nice because it allows you to see how the latency is being consumed.
The configuration section does pretty much what you think that it would do. In this area you can configure new, edit or delete volumes. You also setup the Initiator groups and link to volumes.
The image below shows the screen for creating a new volume. The process is pretty simple and the brick shows me the presented storage amount and the physical storage amount on the lower part of the screen. This will take some time to adjust to since we are dealing with dedupe and I’m not comfortable with what the brick is capable of yet.
The hardware area of the brick is clean and I like how the information is presented. There are several views that you can look at here, such as front or back views. In the image below we are looking at the front view of the brick. From here if I hover over any part of the brick such as a controller or disk it will give me specific information about that part.
The next view is the cable connectivity view and it shows the back view of the brick. The different cable connections are illustrated between the brick parts and where the storage connections would fit in.
XtremIO Alerts and Events
As part of any good storage platform we need a way to look at events and alerts. With most modern storage appliances this feature is built into the platform and does not require a fleet of separate tools. Good news, XtremIO bricks have this built into the dashboard and its pretty easy to use and understand.
The reporting allows for events or alerts to be filter based on the severity, type and time frame. These are all good filter options and should allow admins to find the information they are looking for.
After performance reporting and alerting any good admin is looking for some more detailed monitoring. Well XtremIO also offers something in this area also. The monitoring section shown below can be configured with more detailed reporting. The options are not endless but there is a good amount of options built into this initial release. I had configure a basic monitoring report that shows the IOPS the brick is providing in a simple bar graph.
You can create multiple different types of monitoring reports on various statistics and having them running or stopped based on your needs. The following images will step through the simple process of creating a new monitor.
The image below shows the first step that allows us to name our monitor and select the display type that we want. Based on the type of monitor you choose all the display types might not be available. For instance in my limited testing when I selected the IOPS report it presented me with 3 display types but only seemed to work with the bar chart type.
The next step is to select the type of monitor we want to create. The image below shows the drop down with all the currently available choices. For the example I am choosing a performance option.
After the monitor type is selected the next step is too choose the properties that you want to be included as part of the monitor. My selection was system performance so the image below is showing the different IO and IOPS metrics that we can monitor.
The last step is the confirmation screen for the monitor that is being setup. This is typical and is showing the selections that I choose before it creates the monitor.
The last section that is left to cover is the administration area, this is where you can configure some of the system settings. The number of items that configured for the brick is somewhat limited since this is more appliance than it is traditional EMC storage.
From this area we can create and manage user accounts to control access to the dashboard. Also there are options to configure email notices, iSCSI settings and access the command line for management.
The last image here is the about information for this XtremIO brick. This is helpful since it shows us the software version and other data that might be required for a support call or troubleshooting.
It has only been a few days since its install but the brick has satisfied some of the questions that I had about how easy it might be to manage and support. I will hold my thoughts on how it performs for now since its just too early to have an opinion on it yet. But I have pretty high hopes for it given the buzz that EMC has been promising and the fact that it is an all Flash storage array, so hopefully it delivers on that promise.
About Brian Suhr
Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design