Quick check multipath status

Recently I had a huge activity in a customer’s datacenter, moving rack cabinets around for some works on the power supply lines. I love working on the hardware or inside datacenters, some people consider it a low profile work but I always found it very inspiring and it gives me so much satisfaction, sadly it happens rarely :( BTW, I managed to complete this tasks without shutting down anything and without any downtime thanks to power redundancy on almost any device (server, blade chassis, network or storage switch/device), a couple of 32A extension wires and a very precise action plan. Winner winner chicken dinner! One critical aspect was the storage, we had a lot of systems which extensively use SAN over FC interfaces, and some of the SAN FC switches had only one PSU, any storage path had redundancy but cutting down half of your storage devices on production systems require to be very careful and test everything. If you have a lot of servers with different environments (GNU/Linux, Windows Server and Vmware ESX) and you need to cut off and restore paths multiple times, you need to be very precise in checking paths status to avoid storage losses and potential data corruptions. Here is some quick hints to check your multipath devices on those environments, thanks to command line interface you’ll be able to check many systems with very few commands, save a lot of time and avoid a lot of headheaches.


On GNU/Linux checking multipath status is very easy, you’ll only need to run “multipath -ll” and you’ll get the status of each path for every multipath device on your server. Regarding HBA all you need to know is under /sys/class/fc_host directory where you’ll find one host* directory for each device, inside those directories you’ll find port_name and node_name with WWPN and WWN. With basic bash skills and ssh you can easily grab those information on each server, this is a trivial example.


The only requirement is the fantastic and free PsExec utility from Mark Russinovich Edit a text file with a list of all your server’s ip or hostnames, one per line (server.txt). PsExec @server.txt -e -u <USERNAME> mpclaim -s -d <DEVICE ID> If you want to see all the details (for example node number and port number) of your HBA launch Get-InitiatorPort command on a Powershell instance with superuser grants. PsExec @server.txt -e -u <USERNAME> powershell Get-InitiatorPort

Vmware ESXi

First of all you must enable ssh daemon on each Vmware host (follow this Vmware KB article), if you want to login with ssh keys follow this KB article. For checking multipath status you must run this command “esxcli storage nmp device list”, the output is quite verbose so it’s better to grab only the information we need adding a nice “| grep Working”, each line shows the paths for every datastore on the Vmware server. You can find WWN and WWPN with “esxcli storage core adapter list” As for GNU/Linux server you can easily cycle through your Vmware servers using ssh and bash to grab those information with a single script.


Dell Latitude E7470

Finally I changed my working laptop, 8 years ago I switched from an old IBM ThinkPad R50 (yes! It was a true IBM ThinkPad!) to a T500 ThinkPad from Lenovo.

It was a good pc, not very powerful but sturdy, with a full size keyboard and so many options for upgrade like any other ThinkPad, a war machine!
Now the glorious T500 needs to retire, everything works but I need an SSD, the screen resolution was ridiculous, CPU and RAM were inadequate to run any virtual machine in local, so I started to look around for a new pc, these were the requirements:

  • CPU at least Core i5
    I don’t need a huge computing power beacause I don’t have to render or compile source (I usually spend most of my working time in an ssh shell) and I don’t want a Boeing 747 fan on my side and a heavy PSU.
  • RAM at least 8GB
  • SSD storage (I think I don’t have to explain why…)
  • Display resolution at least 1920×1080 (I don’t want to go crazy with external display for work)
  • 14″ chassis (I hate those horrible 15,6″ chassis with the imho useless numbers keypad)
  • Business line laptop

I started looking for a laptop with these requirements and I came to the Dell Latitude 5000 series, nice line, solid, realiable and with a great customer care (this is my experience with any Dell product, pc or server).
Sadly I had a bad experience with a Dell partner so I started to looking around for an alternative… but last week one of our historic wholesale providers started to sell Dell products and I found the shiny Latitude E7470 which fits perfectly into my requirements to an honest price… check, check, check!


So, here it is my brand new laptop, my first experience with a Latitude product.

My first impressions:

  • it’s thin and light (it’s branded as ultrabook although I don’t think it fits the Intel requirements for that) but it’s super sturdy!
  • the display is AWSOME! It fully deserves all the good feedbacks you can find online.
  • great I/O and options, It has 3 USB 3.0 ports (not bad for a thin laptop), two display output (mini DP and HDMI), it has uSIM slot and also an integrated smartcard reader.
  • nice storage performance (more than 500 MBps in sequential read and more than 250 MBps in sequential write) and I read It’s possible to install a second SSD on another slot.

The only complaint I had is about some keys (for example HOME and END keys which I use a lot) that need the FN key, and obviously the stupid Windows 10 scaling which blurs everything (but this is not a Dell problem).

And yes… I have to use Windows for now… :\

Here is the beast

e7470_1 e7470_2


SSD galore!

I don’t know why, but I always had a bad feeling about Samsung products, every time I bought or tried one of them I always had  so many problems…

In december 2014 I gave to my brother a brand new Samsung 840 Evo SSD for his old MacBook Pro.
The original MacBook Pro hard drive was a crap, 5400rpm and really really slow, with this SSD it would take off like a rocket!

Everything was ok (except the stupid Apple policy regarding trim on ssd…) until the last february when the system became unstable, after some check I found the problem was the SSD.
I went back to the shop to start an RMA procedure, and finally yesterday (after almost two months!) they sent me a brand new 850 Evo with 3D V-NAND.

Let’s see how it works compared to my good old Crucial M4 (which is 4 years and 3 months old!).

This is the Crucial M4, keep in mind that on this SSD I run the OS (Windows 10 Pro) my software and games (Far Cry 4 and Eve Online atm),  I did nothing to preserve it’s lifetime and performance and it’s 75% full.


as-ssd-bench M4-CT128M4SSD2 29.04.2016 22.29.11

This is the new Samsung 850 Evo with 3D V-NAND (clean and absolutely empty).

CrystalDisk_850EVO as-ssd-bench Samsung SSD 850 29.04.2016 22.20.38

The difference on write test is HUGE, access time is also impressive!
To be honest I did not expect these results from my old Crucial M4, it runs very well also after so many years and so many writings on his back, excellent product!

Let’s see if this new SSD will defeat my Samsung curse! ;)


Time to upgrade

I can’t tolerate these Out Of Memory errors from the latest Call of Duty!
I can’t tolerate the thrashing each time I test something heavy on vmware!

Time to do some upgrade ad switch to 16 gigs of shiny new Corsair RAM for my gaming/testing platform!




Benvenuto Banana PI

Mi rendo conto solo ora che è passato quasi un secolo da quando presentai su questo blog il mio leggendario server domestico basato su Via Epia.

Da allora la mia attenzione in questo campo è aumentata in modo esponenziale e dopo elocubrazioni varie ho varcato la soglia del mondo ARM con Raspberry PI.
Sia chiaro, considero Raspberry PI un progetto STUPENDO e RIUSCITISSIMO, sia dal punto di vista tecnico che di comunicazione, tant’è che ne ho comprati ben due e l’ultimo di questi mi sta fedelmente servendo da parecchio tempo.

Ciò nonostante le limitazioni di Raspberry PI sono palesi, tecnicamente e anche eticamente (etica informatica? Già, perchè no?).
Tecnicamente parlando il SOC di cui è dotato è parecchio datato e poco potente, ottimo per tantissime attività ma dalle performance scarse in molti campi (ad esempio come nas o backup repository, come webserver o application server).
Inoltre bisogna ammettere che il sottosistema di I/O è progettato piuttosto male, tant’è che una delle più frequenti cause di problemi è proprio il controller USB su cui ricadono sia la scheda di rete (a 100 Mbps) che le porte USB, unica connessione disponibile per storage capiente e alternativo alla scheda SD.
Io stesso sono stato costretto a pensionare il mio primo esemplare a causa del controller USB che una volta posto sotto stress disconnetteva il device USB corrispondente al disco esterno da 2.5″ dove risiedono i miei file.
Dal punto di vista etico invece non posso fare a meno di notare la stridente contraddizione di un progetto che ha fatto della filosofia Open Source la sua bandiera, ma che di fatto è fortemente “closed”, tant’è che ad oggi non sono stati resi pubblici gli schemi dell’hardware stesso.

Visto il successo di questo progetto è bastato poco perchè nascessero molte iniziative simili, alcune con tutti i requisiti tecnici per surclassare Raspberry PI (una molto interessante ma dal costo esageratamente elevato è Cubietruck di cui avevo già parlato).
Per fortuna alcune di queste si sono consolidate, hanno creato una discreta comunità di utenti e, cosa che non guasta mai, hanno proposto le loro soluzioni a prezzi accessibili; tra queste le principali sono Banana PI e le board Olimex (delle quali la più interessante ad oggi è la Lime2).

Tecnicamente si tratta di due progetti molto simili, basati entrambi su SOC ARM Cortex-A7 dual-core (Allwinner A20), 1GB di ram, controller SATA, scheda di rete gigabit ethernet e prezzo tutto sommato allineato (circa 45 euro); rispetto a Raspberry PI la potenza computazionale e le performance di I/O sono sbalorditive, e nonostante questo l’assorbimento è persino più basso.
Anche eticamente le due schede sono simili, di entrambi infatti sono disponibili i sorgenti e tutta la documentazione.

Come è intuibile dal titolo ho scelto Banana PI, ero molto incuriosito dal prodotto Olimex ma la disponibilità da Amazon mi ha fatto propendere per il concorrente; oggi poi mi è pure stato recapitato il case in plexiglass con relativo cavo SATA (con alimentazione integrata), per cui quale migliore occasione per immortalare questo magico scatolino?

A breve mi aspetta una colossale migrazione (lavorativa), appena avrò finito e sarò riuscito a tirare un po’ il fiato procederò con la migrazione (domestica) del muletto al nuovo Bananone :)


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