About SAN storage at Thoughtworks - Part 3
Having finalized that we want an Oracle ZFS Storage SAN, we placed an order for our SAN and eagerly waited for it. Some of our team received and installed it along with the local vendor, and then even put it to use. After a few days of use, we started to notice performance problems with our most important use case - VMs on VMWare.
Here's a checklist that you should followin:
a. Ensure that everyone understands what you're buying.
Modern day SAN devices include a lot of advanced technology that we usually don't see even on servers.
b. Get the support contract in place.
We had to seek support from Oracle once to understand why we were seeing poor performance, (more on that in the next post), and we were really pleased with the skills and competence of the Oracle Premium Support Engineer.
c. Validate the entire setup by Oracle.
Ensure that the SAN is installed and configured by Oracle themselves. Do not involve your local partner for this. You are paying money already, and Oracle wants to take the responsibility of the SAN. Let them do so. There may be commercials involved, so talk to your Oracle representative.
d. Ensure that the Welcome Kit and support are activated.
e. Ensure that the OS is upgraded.
f. Configure and test the Phone home service once.
g. Read the documentation at least once.
This is not your typical SAN, and this is not your typical filesystem. You need to know what you are doing incase you want to deviate from Oracle recommended configuration. If you want to configure custom disk pools, etc, remember that your various Windows and Linux and other SAN lessons _do not_ apply here. This is especially, especially important because the GUI makes things easy to configure and mis-configure, and if you're used to LVMs and what other SANs, you can easily make a mistake.
h. Run the SAN for a week before declaring it ready for production.
This is another important point. The SAN itself can actually work very well right from day one. However, you need to get used to the SAN since there's a lot of power packed in. There's also the GUI which you should get familiar with. If you need to reconfigure the SAN (a likely scenario), you would have the opportunity to do so.
Now that we have the above out of the way, let's move on to Part 4 - the SAN GUI !