Nothing to stimulate you like a simulator!! I know it sounds corny but what the heck. The Sun Unified Storage simulator did stimulate my interest and I found the going good. So here is my story of how to setup the Sun Unified Storage simulator and work with it.
I have been thinking of installing some simulator on my system and working with it. As it generally happens, you keep postponing it in small steps and before you know the idea has vanished from your mind. Luckily for me, I had registered myself in the Sun site for information and they sent a mail to me asking me to download the simulator. I had some time on my hands and it was too tempting an offer to resist.
First things first. In order to download this simulator, you need to register yourself at the Sun site. Then you get access to download the Sun Unified Storage simulator. The simulator zip file is around 370MB and it expands close to 2.5 GB. You better have enough space on your hard disk for this. You can get the simulator at this site Scroll down to find the simulator.
What do you need to run this simulator? I installed this simulator on my laptop, which is Core 2 Duo system with 2GB RAM running Windows XP SP3. So I guess if you have this or something better, it should work. For the simulator to work, you also need VMware Player on your system. If you don’t have one, you can download it free of cost from the VMware site. In essence, to make your simulator work on Windows XP, you need to download the VMware Player and you need to download the Sun Unified Storage Simulator.
The Sun Unified Storage Simulator is a virtual appliance, which means you don’t need anything else with it. The steps to follow to install the Storage Simulator are simple:
- Download the simulator zip file from the Sun site
- Unzip this file. In the extracted files, there will be a uni.vmx file
- Now start your VMplayer and select the uni.vmx file
- The installation starts now. Have patience
The next steps are from the Sun site:
“When the simulator initially boots you will be prompted for some basic network settings (this is exactly the same as if you were using an actual 7110, 7210 or 7410). Many of these should be filled in for you. Here are some tips if you’re unsure how to fill in any of the required fields:
- Host Name: Any name you want.
- DNS Domain: “localdomain”
- Default Router: The same as the IP address, but put 1 as the final octet.
- DNS Server: The same as the IP address, but put 1 as the final octet.
- Password: Whatever you want.
After you enter this information, wait until the screen provides you with a URL to use for subsequent configuration and administration. Use the version of the URL with the IP address (for example, https://192.168.56.3:215/) rather than the host name in your web browser to complete appliance configuration”
What the above steps do is to setup the virtual simulator on your system. This also provides an IP address to the Storage simulator. Once that is done, you see a login prompt on your VMware player. This would probably be the same if you are using the actual hardware. At this point in time you have two options:
- Login with ‘root’ as the user name and the password you have entered during the setup time and start using the CLI (or)
- Use the Web and the GUI provided there to manage the simulator
Though I love Unix and the CLIs generally, I decided to go ahead and try the web. You can access the web gui by typing in the link given during the setup phase. It will be something like <some ip address>:215/ (I got 192.168.22.128:215 as my address. It can be different for you.) Once you type this in your browser you will get the login screen.
The Sun Unified System has lot of features and you can test them using the simulator. There are features like replication, compression, snapshots, analytics etc. My initial idea was to do the simplest possible thing. Create a LUN and create a filesystem and export it. Then use this LUN or Filesystem. So I have not yet checked the other features.
The Sun Unified Storage allows you to use NFS, CIFS and iSCSI. In the GUI, on the top you have a tab called ‘Shares’. This allows you to create shares of the type you want. Shares can be grouped together as projects, making it easy to administer shares of the same kind. Under ‘Shares’ you have the Filesystem and the LUN tabs. If you want to use NFS or CIFS, you need to create that filesystem using the Filesystem tab. If you want to use iSCSI, you can just create a LUN using the LUN tab.
I first created a filesystem and exported it. It was easy seeing it over Windows. I just gave the path and it immediately saw the share. I then wanted to see the same share via Linux. I started another VMplayer with Ubuntu virtual machine running it. Initially I had a few hiccups since the portmapper package is not installed as a default on my system. My friend Sagar sent me a link on the packages required on Ubuntu to make NFS work. (The Ubuntu link here.) Once I installed the required packages and configured the system, I could immediately mount the share and copy some files into it.
The next step was to try accessing some LUNs via iSCSI. I don’t have an iSCSI HBA so I had to use the Software Initiator. I downloaded the Software Initiator from the Microsoft site and I also downloaded the documentation related to it. (I downloaded the initiator which ends with -x86fre.exe) The funny part is that the software and the document are of almost same size!! The download and installation happen fast. No reboot is required. Once installed, you can see the iSCSI software initiator under ‘Programs’. The iSCSI initiator works as a GUI and a CLI is also provided. In case you are just testing, the GUI should do fine.
Once you have downloaded the Software Initiator, you need to now go to the simulator and create a LUN. (Since you will expose this as a iSCSI target you should not create a filesystem.) You should go into the Protocols tab in the simulator to say that iSCSI protocol needs to be used and allow access for all initiators. Once this is done, get back to Windows and open the iSCSI initiator GUI. In this GUI:
- Provide the IP address of simulator under the ‘Discovery’ tab.
- The exposed LUNs will be automatically discovered and shown to you in the ‘Targets’ tab
- Select each of the targets and press the ‘Login’ button. This will ensure you are now connected to the LUN
Once these steps are done, the disks will be visible in ‘Disk Management’ (under ‘Computer Management’) These are raw disks, which you can initialize and partition. I created two LUNs of 0.5GB each. I was able to see them using iSCSI and was able to initialize and partition them.
Thus ended my two days tryst with Sun Unified Storage Simulator. I must say I am impressed with this simulator. Very easy to install and very easy to configure and use. I will probably try out the other features soon and will writeup about them if I do. I am now raring to go and try other Storage simulators. I know Celerra simulator exists but I am not sure if it is open. NetApp has a simulator but it for NetApp client only I think.
If you have the time, do try out the Sun Simulator. You can get the installation and configuration documents at this site My thanks are due to Chris M Evans, who provided me with the link to the documents when I asked him. (The document also comes a part of the simulator. You can press the ‘Help’ tab in the simulator to get the complete document. ) Chris Evans (@chrismevans) , who blogs as Storage Architect, has written a series of posts on Sun Unified Storage. You can check out those articles at The Storage Architect blog.
Hope this was useful and hope it makes at a few of you to wake up from your slumber and try something 🙂