27 June 2013

F5 Renaming and editing existing objects such as nodes, pools and virtual servers

Some object allow you to change certain parameters, but as a general rule, once an object has been created is is fixed and cannot be altered or renamed in the GUI.  Sometimes this is just a nuance, but sometimes it can set off a shuffle of creating and deleting temporary object just so you can reuse the name.

As an example I am going to step through changing the IP address of an existing node.  The follow can all be done directly from the shell.

  • SSH onto BigIP as root

Next up you have to find the correct bigip.conf file.  Depending on whether you have management partitions or not they will be in either:

/config  or

Start off by making a backup of the file

  • cp bigip.conf bigip.conf.bak

The easiest way to edit the file in the shell is with nano.  Open the file for editing the with the following command:

  • nano bigip.conf

The file is fairly easy to interpret and understand.  take some time to get used to the structure before you make any changes.

Find and replace for the IP address or the node name you want to change. I would suggest this over manually scrolling through the file - just in case you  miss an entry.

  • Ctrl W will bring up the search bar
  • Ctrl R will allow you to specify the text you want to replace (The current IP addess of the node), press enter and it will allow you to specify the text to replace it with (the new IP address of the node)
  • It will now prompt you for each replace unless you select all at the first prompt
  • Once the changes are all made you can exit nano with Ctrl X, this will also prompt you to save the file
You can verify that your config file is correct with the following command:

  • tmsh load sys config verify partitions all
If no errors are reported you can apply the new config with the following command:

  • tmsh load sys config partitions all
If you refresh the GUI you will now see that the change is reflected.

That's all there is to it!


A more user friendly, if slightly more long winded way of doing this is to use WinSCP.  Connect to the bigip and browse to the relevant partition. Right click the file - copy and then edit the original.

You would still need to execute the following command from the shell once changes are made
  • tmsh load sys config verify partitions all
  • tmsh load sys config partitions all
Hopefully this comes in handy some time and saves you some effort.

26 June 2013

How to Configure Windows Server 2012 MPIO iSCSI storage with Dell PowerVault MD3200i

The Dell PowerVault MD3200i is an iSCSI storage device containing 8 x 1GB Ethernet interfaces over two RAID controllers. The aim is to have a configuration that provides increased performance and also fault tolerance.

Design Goals:

  • Best possible performance at disk layer
  • Best protection form enclosure layer
  • Active /Active redundant iSCSI paths

Configure the PowerVault
To make sure everything works on Server 2012 make sure you have at least the updated software:
Dell PowerVault MD Series Storage Array Resource DVD version 

I struggled a bit to get it downloaded, and needed to use "Free Download manager" to finally get it down.
Completing the full install on the server will install the management too but also importantly the updates MPIO drivers for Server 2012

PowerVault iSCSI Targets
The PowerVault is configured with a iSCSI data NIC connected directly to a NIC on the windows server.  One per RAID controller.   The layout is as follows:

Windows Server   --->   PowerVault
DATA NIC0   --->   RAID 0 Port 0   --->

DATA NIC1   --->   RAID 1 Port 0   --->

Logical disks
I created two logical disk groups.  Each containing 3 drives per enclosure.  Each logical disk is manually configured to prefer an alternate RAID controller

Configuring the Windows Server 2012

Add MPIO Support
Add the MPIO by following the add roles and feature wizard

After the install launch the MPIO from the Server Manager Tools menu

Select the Discover Multi-Paths tab
Check Add support for iSCSI devices
Ok and reboot the server

When you open the MPIO again you should now see that the MPIO Devices lists the Powervault as well as the Microsoft iSCSI Bus

iSCSI initiator
The iSCSi initiator is the tool that will be used to identify the server to the PowerVault.  It is also the tool that will be used to define the additional IO path(s).

Step 1 
Launch the iSCSI initiator
In the target specify the PowerVault RAID0 Port0 IP address click Quick connect

At this stage you should get a connection to the PowerVault.  
**The connection would now have notified the PV of the servers iSCSI initiator name. You can now complete the storage mapping.**

Step 2
Check that all the required LUNS are visible to the server.

Step 3
Define additional IO path

  • Open the iSCSI initiator
  • Select the discovered name
  • Disconnect
  • Connect
  • Check Enable multipath
  • Click advanced
  • Specify the adapter as Microsoft iSCSI initiator
  • Initiator IP is Server data NIC0
  • Target Portal is  PowerVault RAID0 Port0 / 3260
  • The status should now be connected
  • Click Properties
  • There should be a single identifier
  • Click add session
  • Check Enable multipath
  • Click advanced
  • Specify the adapter as Microsoft iSCSI initiator
  • Initiator IP is Server data NIC1
  • Target Portal is  PowerVault RAID1 Port0 / 3260
  • There should now be two identifiers listed, each one representing a separate physical path

On the iSCSI initiator properties select the active target - click devices - It should list all the device one line per path, so if there are two LUNS you will see the same two LUNS twice.

Select a LUN the click MPIO
Here you can see the load balance policy as well as the link status.  one would be active and the other standby.  Clicking on the details will reveal the IP pair the path relates to.

Step 4 
Initialize the disk and bring them online and create volumes.
If everything is working properly here you are all set.  (I got to this point with the older Dell drivers but could not get past here because of errors bringing the disks online)

Step 5 
Start transferring data and randomly disconnect the network to the storage and watch as performance degrades but keeps going.

18 June 2013

Dell PowerVault MD3200i password and management IP recovery

The PowerVault MD3200i is an iSCSI SAN device.  It comes with two raid controller each with it's own management network interface.  Generally all management is done through the "Modular Disk Storage Manager" application.  If however you have inherited this device form someone else, or have totally forgotten what the IP and or password is then you can recover or reset these with the following.

You will need the serial management cable.  This looks like a PS2 flug on the one side and RS232 COM port on the other.

Plug this into your PC and controller 0 on the MD3200i (The top one)
Use putty to establish a serial connection.  You need to set the baud rate to 11520

To get into the service menu you need to press
<Ctrl> & Pause / Break

Then type CAPITAL S for Service Interface and enter
The default password here is "supportDell"

From here you can:
Display the Current IP configuration
Change the Current IP  configuration
Reset Storage Array Administrator Password

It is pretty straight forward text based procedure to complete any of the steps above.  Generally you will have to reboot the PowerVault, so keep this in mind.

Alternatively if you have the IP addresses already or they are still on the default can can reset the password by pressing and holding for 5 seconds the "password reset button" on the controllers.