The VxFlex OS 3.0 / Kubernetes CSI Plugin is now available

Carrying on from our recently released XtremIO / CSI 1.0 plugin, I’m pleased to announce the release of the VxFlex OS 3.0 (formerly ScaleIO) CSI 1.0 plugin, if you are new to Kubernetes CSI, I highly encourage you to start here

CSI Driver for VxFlex OS Overview:

CSI Driver for VxFlex OS enables integration with Kubernetes open-source container orchestration infrastructure and VxFlex OS.

Highlights of this Release:

  • Dynamic persistent volume provisioning
  • Snapshot management
  • Automated application integration workflow
  • Ease of volume identification
  • Storage pool selection

Software Support:

  • VxFlex OS v3.0

OS Support:

  • CentOS 7.3


The Dell Tech World 2019 XtremIO Sessions Schedule is now ready

The DTW 2019 schedule builder is now available, below you can see the upcoming XtremIO sessions, personally, I will be giving two sessions (each, repeated twice) this year, the usual X2 / VMware best practices and a new one about our upcoming portfolio, containers integration.

Dell EMC XtremIO X2: Integrated Copy Data Management (iCDM) For Applications, Databases, Containers, Devops,… Oh My! XtremIO’s unique integrated copy data management (iCDM) technology combines performance and scalability with reduced operational risk through automation and self-service. Maximize the value of your XtremIO X2 deployment by simplifying application and devops workflows as well as reducing development timelines. Learn how application admins and DBAs can re-purpose different copies of Oracle, SAP and SQL Server databases instantaneously and become more agile



Dell EMC XtremIO X2: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) – Architecture, Sizing & Best Practices For VMware Horizon 7 Hundreds of customers are running millions of virtual desktops on XtremIO today. The XtremIO X2 platform offers opportunities to start with small VDI deployments and scale granularly. In this session, we will present a holistic overview of an XtremIO X2-enabled VMware VDI environment. You will also learn about XtremIO X2 sizing and best practices for VMware VDI deployments.

Monday, Apr 29, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Dell EMC XtremIO X2: New Innovations Update What has the XtremIO team been up to lately? Attend the session to learn all the new updates for the XtremIO platform — Native Replication, Quality of Service, Cloud Monitoring Integrations, Container Plug-ins, and much more! While XtremIO’s metadata-centric architecture continues to deliver consistently high performance with superior data reduction efficiencies, the platform is now complete with rich set of date services and ready for all the applications of today and tomorrow.


Dell EMC XtremIO X2: Mixed Virtualized Workload Best Practices Learn what the new capabilities of XtremIO X2 mean for your virtualized environments. We will examine various deployment models and discuss best practices for both VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V environments. In addition, we will highlight XtremIO integration options for enhanced monitoring, orchestration & automation with VMware vRealize and Microsoft System Center management platforms.



Dell EMC XtremIO X2: Deep Dive Of Architecture Designed For Ultimate Efficiency & Consistent Performance XtremIO was built from the ground up to exploit the full capabilities of Flash in storage array, providing ultimate data efficiencies with consistent and predictable performance in a scale-out architecture. In this session we will discuss how the system was built to achieve this ultimate efficiency: superb usable/raw ratio using XDP, elimination of zeros, global inline dedupe and compression, local & remote copies. We will also drill into the innovations enabling the consistent and predictable performance: scale-out, active/active, XDP and write boost

Tuesday, Apr 30, 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM

Dell EMC XtremIO X2: Efficient, Metadata-Aware Replication Technology Updates, Customer Deployments & Ecosystem Integrations XtremIO X2 delivers a unique metadata-aware and highly efficient replication data services. In this session, we will showcase how customers are quickly adopting the technology and receiving results beyond expectations. You will directly hear from the customers detailing their deployment scenarios. We will also present ecosystem integrations with XtremIO replication and the future of this data service.



Dell EMC Storage Portfolio: Welcome To The Containerized World! Are you starting to work with Kubernetes or may be Pivotal Container Service (PKS) or RedHat OpenShift? Do you want to learn how containers are changing the virtualization landscape and what it means for your storage platform? Then this is the right session for you! In this session, we are going to showcase the long strides the containers ecosystem has made in just a few years along with how to provide a persistent storage layer for your containers. We will discuss Dell EMC Storage integrations for the container ecosystem, complete with XtremIO integration



“Array manager does not have a per array manager on the remote site” when using VMware SRM

One of the common gothca’s I saw in the field in regards to VMware SRM is that sometime, the XMS replication peers aren’t configured with a full qualified domain names (FQDNs), and when you try to pair between the XMS’s in VMware SRM, you get the following error “Array manager does not have a per array manager on the remote site”

The solution is pretty easy, just configure them for FQDN as shown below


The XtremIO / Kubernetes CSI Plugin is now available

Wow..iv’e been waiting to write this one

Back in December 2018, I wrote a blog post which explains our company plans for containers integration, if you are new to all of this and really want to get a good “brief of history” about the early attempts that led us here, I strongly encourage you to have a read first here

read it? Good!

Today, I’m pleased to announce the global availability of the XtremIO / Kubernetes CSI 1.0 plugin, we have created you a bunch of collateral materials to get you started so you don’t need to guess anything but before that

The plugin itself can be downloaded from docker hub (click the screenshot below) but of course, you are going to pull it from the servers that are going to run it.

The deployment scripts which the plugin will pull can be located at GitHub, it will also contain the overview and the details of what exactly is supported

We have created couple of demos that will show you everything from installing it to use it’s basic & advanced capabilities


This part will show both the online installation and the offline one, will examine how the plugin will automatically create the host initiator group and / or use an existing one



Dell EMC XtremIO with Kubernetes CSI – Provisioning and Scaling the running Application

This demo with show the basic operations of the plugin, provision volumes, bring up a modern DB such as YugaByte , create load on it and then, use the XtremIO to scale out the application workload, it will also show how the plugin is smart enough to use the XtremIO cluster with the least minimum space to provision the volumes from. Lastly, it will show the advanced XtremIO QoS (quality of service) to assign different IOPs policy per a container!


Dell EMC XtremIO with Kubernetes CSI – Protecting your running container

this demo will deploy a Microsoft SQL server 2019, running on linux, we will then take a snapshot using the CSI plugin, delete some records form the DB and use the CSI plugin to restore the DB from the snapshot we took!




we have also created you some white papers, the first one, is a short, data sheet explaining the plugin, click the screenshot below to download it

The second one, is a very comprehensive white paper that will walk you through, soup to nuts, about the functionality and how to use the plugin, click the screenshot below to download it

Lastly, none of this was available without the amazing teams from Israel and St.Petersburg, you are awesome!

The XtremIO Pit (Point-in-Time) SRA for SRM is now available

Few months ago, I wrote a blog post which shows our upcoming, unique intergration to VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM), which allows you to failover or test failover to a specific point in time as oppose to the last point in time which SRM only allows to failover to.

The SRA is now avaialble!

What you will need to do in order to make it work is to download

  1. The SRA itself from the VMware website here

  2. The VSI (vCenter) plugin from our Dell EMC web site here

That’s it!

Here’s how it all looks

Dell EMC Ready Solutions for Microsoft SQL: Design for Dell EMC XtremIO

Today’s IT organizations are under pressure to achieve cloud-like elasticity, scalability, and ease of provisioning while lowering the total cost of ownership—a challenging goal, particularly with the complexity of databases. To achieve the anticipated business outcomes requires a clear statement of associated success metrics that often must be negotiated with the executive sponsor. After the success metrics have been defined, the next challenge for the IT organization becomes selecting the technologies that will meet or exceed the success metrics.

Traditionally, selecting a database infrastructure was a long, exhaustive process with a wide variety of complexities that took months to resolve. What if there was a solution where all the components were validated and tested together using real SQL Server workloads? Prevalidation engineering means that the database solution is a proven platform, thus removing most of the complexity and time that is associated with manual integration work. Testing such a solution is more complex. A simple online transaction processing (OLTP) workload test only shows how the system performs if it is solely dedicated to one database. This approach is great for showcasing strong performance but falls short when you want to measure the performance of a multiple-database ecosystem.

A better test is to show how the database solution scales while supporting several SQL Server databases. Scalability is the capability of the database solution to support existing workloads with the potential to accommodate more databases for future growth. The traditional challenge with servers and storage has been growth of the database ecosystem, which has among the most resource-demanding and latency-sensitive applications. For example, as more databases are added to existing infrastructure, processor and storage contention can affect performance. Scalability in the cloud era means greater growth potential while performance remains consistent. Tradeoffs, such as sacrificing application responsiveness due to the growth of the database ecosystem, affect performance and cost of ownership. Today’s IT organizations are looking for database solutions that offer far greater scalability and performance to meet their success metrics.

The new Ready Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server reference architecture has been validated with Dell EMC PowerEdge servers and Dell EMC XtremIO X2 all-flash storage. In addition to validating the solution with SQL Server, the Dell EMC labs pushed the boundaries of scalability testing by running 16 virtualized databases in parallel—8 on Windows Server 2016 VMs and 8 on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) VMs. Key test findings include:

The PowerEdge R840 servers demonstrated strong scalability. The database load on each of the two PowerEdge servers meant oversubscription of CPUs to the virtual machines. Each server had significant unused processor resources while delivering on performance.

The XtremIO X2 array delivered sub-500-microsecond latencies while supporting 275,000-plus IOPS with 72 flash drives. The achievable IOPS per the XtremIO X2 specification sheet is 220,000 IOPS. We found no tradeoff between IOPS and latency during our tests on the XtremIO X2 array.

Microsoft SQL Server 2017

Microsoft® SQL Server® 2017 is no longer just a solution for IT — it delivers 360-degree business intelligence on any device and provides the ability to manage data both on-premises and in the Microsoft Azure® cloud. SQL Server 2017 represents a major step towards making SQL Server a platform that gives you choices of development languages, data types, and operating systems by bringing the power of SQL Server to Linux, Linux-based Docker containers, and Windows. When you embrace Microsoft SQL Server 2017, you’ll be able to gain deeper insights from all your data. With capabilities that go beyond business intelligence, SQL Server 2017 performs advanced analytics within your database and presents rich visualizations for business insights. In addition, SQL Server 2017 delivers a database platform for hybrid cloud, enabling you to easily build, deploy and manage solutions that span on-premises and in the cloud.

And even if all that SQL Server 2017 provides is not enough to drive you towards making a change, the priorities outlined by CIO’s for 2019 (seen here) and the upcoming end of support for SQL server 2005, 2008 and 2008 R2 should be cause for consideration…

IDG: A Guide to the CIO’s 2019 Tech Priorities (Dec 2018)

A Guide to the CIO’s 2019 Tech Priorities

  • About two-thirds (67%) of IT leaders expect their cloud computing spending to increase in 2019, which shows that organizations are either investing in new cloud tools or upgrading their current solutions. When asked what their single most important IT project is currently, 10% of IT executives said cloud computing.

Gartner: Insights From the 2019 CIO Agenda Report; 2019 CIO Agenda: Secure the Foundation for Digital Business (October 2018)

  • According to Gartner – Digital at scale demands new ways of doing business including:
    • Better consumer engagement
    • Faster delivery of digital ‘products’
    • AND A sound, secure information and technology foundation
  • CIOs are also increasing their investment in off-premises capabilities while decreasing investment in on-premises capabilities. In many cases, prior capabilities such as ERP are still required but the means of delivery have evolved. More than half of organizations surveyed have moved at least one function to the cloud, and 1/5 of top performers are running completely cloud-based ERP.

  • The announcement of end of support for SQL Server 2005 and 2008/2008 R2 is also creating a compelling need to transition. End of extended support for 2005 was in April 2016 and 2008/2008R2 is coming fast – July 9, 2019. This means Microsoft will no longer deliver security updates for these releases and as a result customers who have not upgraded to SQL Server 2012 or higher are putting their valuable data and business services at risk. Businesses will be opening up potential weaknesses to hackers/malware and run the risk of not meeting compliance standards and industry regulations, both of which can result in costly fines, loss of business and damage to their reputation.

XtremIO X2 inline data reduction technology reduced the size of a 1 TB SQL Server database to 239 GB, for a data reduction ratio of 3.52 to 1.

The reference architecture delivered substantial consolidation savings:

One PowerEdge R840 server supported eight virtualized SQL Server databases.

XtremIO X2 inline data reduction savings enabled greater consolidation on allflash storage.

This guide provides a detailed overview of the test findings, including a review of performance differences between SQL Server running on Windows Server and RHEL.

This reference architecture offers a great degree of sizing flexibility to meet business requirements. You can start with a minimal configuration that can grow incrementally or with larger configurations to support hundreds of databases. Having been validated with SQL Server, the architecture enables accurate sizing and faster time-to-value.

The eight Windows VMs generated a total of 164,166 IOPS and the Linux VMs generated an additional 111,704 IOPS, for a grand total of 275,870 IOPS on XtremIO X2. The following figure shows the amount of IOPS for each operating system as part of the whole. Per the XtremIO X2 specifications, a fully populated X-Brick module with 72 flash drives supports a maximum of 220,000 IOPS. In our testing of the Ready Architecture for SQL Server, the IOPS load exceeded the maximum by 55,870 IOPS.

You can download the white paper by clicking the screenshot below

XIOS 6.2.1 Is now Available, What’s New

We have just released what I call a “major – minor version” which is basically a release focuses on small enhancements plus bug fixes

New Features and Changes in XIOS Ver. 6.2.1-36

This section describes the following new features and changes that are introduced in this software version.

They include:

  • X2-R FIPS Support
  • Metadata-Aware Replication Improvements
    • Bandwidth Limitation per Session
    • Network Troubleshooting

X2-R FIPS Support

XtremIO X2-R cluster type now supports FIPS certified drives.

Metadata-Aware Replication Improvements

  • Bandwidth Limitation per Session

XtremIO X2 Bandwidth Limitation per Session allows the user to limit the transferred bandwidth per protection session.

  • Network Troubleshooting

XtremIO X2 Network Troubleshooting allows the user to verify connectivity to a remote cluster.

New Features and Changes in XMS Ver. 6.2.1-36

New/Updated CLI Commands

The following XMCLI commands were introduced or updated in Version 6.2.1, to enhance support of the Native Replication feature.

New Command/Property


test-ip-connectivity-ping (new)

Verifies ping connectivity between a source IP address and a target IP address.

test-ip-connectivity-netcat (new)

Verifies connectivity between a source IP address and a specified target IP address and TCP/UDP port.

add-remote-protection-session (updated)

enable-verification and async-bw-limit input parameters have been added.

modify-remote-protection-session (updated)

enable-verification and async-bw-limit input parameters have been added.

Fixed Issues in XIOS Ver. 6.2.1-36

General Fixed Issues


Tracking Number

XtremIO LUNs, belonging to a Shared Storage Pool, that are larger than 2TB are not supported with IBM Virtual I/O Server (VIOS) and XtremIO.


Storage Controller may reboot.


A host may fail to access a mapped LUN if the Volume has a very long name.


A long power button press from a faulty Storage Controller may cause a cluster shutdown.


A software upgrade to version 6.2 may fail due to non-unique Volume name.


A Storage Controller may fail to respond to I/O requests due to an HBA firmware/driver issue.


False IB Switch-to-IB Switch link down alerts


Cluster and Hardware Upgrade Fixed Issues


Tracking Number

A DIMM Uncorrectable error alert may not clear after successfully replacing the DIMM.


Native Replication Fixed Issues


Tracking Number

A Remote Protection Session may enter the “error” state after modifying the size of one or more protected Volumes.


A low bandwidth (1GB or lower) replication link may experience stability issues.


An active IP Link may appear as “initializing”.


NR Improvements – Session QoS

XtremApp 6.2.0 introduced the QoS feature that was able to limit a specific volume’s, CG’s or initiator group’s performance.

This code version introduces an additional QoS mechanism that allows the user to limit the bandwidth of a specific replication session.

By doing that, the user can control his WAN’s utilization.

A remote protection session can be limited upon creating or while its already running

Enabling or disabling this feature isn’t disruptive and does not require pausing the replication session

Note that limiting a remote protection session’s bandwidth may prevent the user from meeting his RPO target

NR Improvements – Session QoS – Internal Implementation

Although this feature has many similarities to the QoS feature, it’s implementation is quite different.

For QoS, the component originating the I/O operation is the host, and therefore, the system cannot assume which R module receives I/O operations and how the load distributes.

To overcome this difficulty, the QoS mechanism is implemented in the R modules, and is dynamic depending on which paths the host sends I/O to.

When talking about native replication, the component originating the I/O operation is the C module.

Each C module has to perform a snap DIFF on an equal subset of a CG and transfer it.

As the assumption is that all C modules have the same amount of work – the system will divide the allowed bandwidth equally between C modules.

C modules will then push a limited amount of data to R modules – Eventually resulting with the expected bandwidth

If a Storage Controller fails, C module bandwidth limitation is updated by the SYM and these start to push more I/O to R modules – Resulting in the expected performance.

Although a user limits a bandwidth of a session, we do not commit to reaching that limitation as the environment may prevent it from doing so:

  1. The WAN could be saturated
  2. The cluster may be busy performing other operations
  3. etc.

Security Fixed Issues


Tracking Number

The zsh, DHCP, procps and yum-utils packages have been updated to remove reported vulnerabilities.


Fixed Issues in XMS Ver. 6.2.1-36

General Fixed Issues


Tracking Number

Adding more than 64 Initiators to an Initiator Group may fail.


CLI incorrectly allows user to provide a privacy key.


Performance Statistics collection may fail.


XMS log file documents many occurrences of missing table logs.


The modify-technician-port-tunnel command may fail following an XMS reboot.


XMS may become slow due to high memory usage.


ESRS-VE gateway may incorrectly report being disconnected.


Cluster shared memory utilization is not exposed via RESTful API.


With the ESRS-VE Call Home Notification configuration, configuration files that were successfully sent to the ESRS-VE gateway(s) are deleted and not kept in the XMS root partition.


XMS log file may wrongfully report “cluster_not_found” alerts.


WebUI Fixed Issues


Tracking Number

WebUI naming of DAE SAS ports and fans have been corrected.


Modifying a legacy ESRS gateway to an ESRS-VE gateway may fail.


User password does not accept all characters.


Protection Schedulers are deprecated in versions prior to 6.1


Re-configuring the Call Home Notification from legacy ESRS-GW to ESRS-VE using the WebUI interface may not prompt the user for RSA SecureID credentials.

For further information, refer to Dell EMC KB# 524862 (


The WebUI limits QoS policy Burst percentage to 100%. To configure larger values, use the XMCLI.


A “read-only” role user is allowed to acknowledge Alerts via the WebUI.


WebUI Improvements – New “Reset Password” button

A new WebUI API exposes the option of regenerating CHAP credentials for IP links

This functionality is already part of the XMCLI

WebUI Improvements – Ethernet interface Properties

The WebUI allows modifying a specific Ethernet port’s:

  • Port type (iSCSI/Replication)
  • MTU

To access this UI – On the top toolbar hit the “Settings” gear icon > Navigate to “Cluster Settings” > “Interfaces”

Note that the cluster’s defined MTU is a general setting that applies to all iSCSI ports – However, this setting allows you to override a specific port’s setting.

WebUI Improvements – Navigate with Selection

“Navigate With Selection” drop down menu should be offered in the following screens:

  • Volume > Navigate to related: Alerts, Events, Data Protection, and Reports
  • CG > Navigate to related: Alerts, Events, Data Protection, and Reports
  • Snapshot Set > Navigate to related: Alerts and Events
  • Initiator Group > Navigate to related: Alerts, Events, and Reports
  • Initiator > Navigate to related: Alerts, Events, and Reports

WebUI Improvements – Easy QoS Policy Assignment

  • Repurpose Copy
  • Optimized Workflow
    • Offer QoS Upon Creation

    WebUI Improvements – Consistency Group improvements

A Consistency Group has a new “Management Locked” attribute.

This attribute defines whether all of this CG’s volumes are “Management Locked”:

  • If all of the CG volumes are set as “Management Locked” – The CG is set to “Management Locked”
  • If only a partial subset or none of the CG Volumes are set as “Management Locked” – The CG is not set to “Management Locked”

As a reminder – Once an object is set as “Management Locked”:

  • It cannot be deleted
  • It cannot be refreshed with data of another volume
  • It cannot be restored to the data of another volume

Note that a CG is set to “Management Locked” can still be deleted (this operation will not delete the volumes inside the CG nor remove their “Management Locked” attribute)

WebUI Improvements – Volume Mapping improvements

  • Better User Experience
  • Optimized Flows
    • Vol > IG
    • CG/SS > IG

IG > Vol/CG

The “Mapping” UI was enhanced to display data in a more intuitive way:

  • The “Source” objects (the object the user decided to map) appears on the left of the UI
  • The “Target” object (the object that the “source” maps to) appears on the right of the UI
  • The specific “Mapping” appears in the middle (including each specific mapping and LUN ID

Here is an example for when a user reaches the “Mapping” UI via selecting a volume:

  • Source is the selected volume
  • Target is the list of Initiator Groups (with relevant filters)
  • Mapping shows the link between the specified volume and each IG including it’s LUN ID

Other optimized flows are:

  • Mapping a Consistency Group or Snapshot Set – Where the “CG” is the Source and “Initiator Groups” are the Target

Mapping an Initiator Group to a Volume, CG, or Snapshot Set – Where the “Volume”, “CG”, or “Snapshot Set” are the Source and “Initiator Groups” are the Target

WebUI Improvements – “Right Click” integration

The WebUI allows using a mouse “Right Click” to easily perform management activities in the:

  • “Configuration” User Interface
  • “Data Protection” User Interface

The menu will offer all management activities except “Tagging” related actions

WebUI Improvements – Snapshot Set Deletion improvements

Deleting multiple protection session snapshot sets takes place when a user doesn’t require irrelevant data or wants to free up space in his DR site.

To reduce repetitive snapshot set deletion operations – The UI offers a new option of deleting all snapshot sets taken within a given timeframe.

This operation can only be performed via WebUI.

WebUI Improvements – Browser Compatibility

WebUI Improvements – New Screen Resolution Support

  • 1920 X 1080
    • Wide Screen
  • 1366 X 768

12.5″ Laptop

CloudIQ Fixed Issues


Tracking Number

Performance data may not be available in CloudIQ.


Native Replication Fixed Issues


Tracking Number

Native Replication sessions scalability limits are not enforced.


Security Fixed Issues


Tracking Number

The zsh, DHCP, procps, python-twisted-web and kernel packages have been updated to remove reported vulnerabilities.


Cluster and Hardware Upgrade Fixed Issues


Tracking Number

Single to dual X-Brick OCE may fail.


AppSync Fixed Issues


Tracking Number

Registering an AppSync server when the XMS is managing only pre-6.2.0 XIOS clusters returns the “Add AppSync Failed” error.

To overcome this limitation, the following conditions should exist:

XMS version 6.2.0

At least one cluster running XIOS 6.2.0 (to work with the pre-6.2.0 XIOS clusters)


The “VM Restore to Alternate Copy” wizard offers irrelevant datastores for recovery.


When configuring vCenter user credentials, the “\” character cannot be used. Use the “user@domain” format instead.


AppSync integration Improvements

VM Exclusion: Provide the ability to exclude/include VMs from service plan execution. There should be a new button in the Service Plans tab titled “Include/Exclude VMs”.

Provide an expandable Advanced setting in the screen above, which displays toggle between:

  • Include all newly created Virtual Machines as VM Consistent copies. – DEFAULT
  • Exclude all newly created Virtual Machines as VM Consistent copies

Include a retry option after a failed attempt to add AppSync Server. In case of unsuccessful registration, the input window should not disappear and all inputs should be preserved so user can adjust.

Provide ability to protect multiple datastores in one operation. The Datastores Tab →All & Protected should allow multi selection of multiple datastores, with the ability to select Protect: Subscribe, Unsubscribe, Run Now