NetApp® Recovery Manager 1.0 for Citrix® ShareFile®

NetApp Recovery Manager for Citrix ShareFile (NRM-CS) provides a background service for Citrix ShareFile administrators to restore user files that have been removed from the Citrix storage center.

Designed to leverage the data protection and replication provided by Snapshot™, SnapVault®, and SnapMirror® technology, NRM-CS provides the ability to fully automate the file recovery process that has been previously performed manually by the administrator. NRM-CS automation performs the following tasks:

  • Read the Recovery queue and detect the old filename (the associated ID for the file); then search for that file (by the associated ID) in Snapshot, SnapVault, and SnapMirror.
  • Copy the file to a new filename on the CIFS volume as specified by the Recovery queue; then mark the Recovery queue as “success” or “failure.”

It is very easy to install and configure the recovery manager. Check a youtube demo how to setup a sharefile Recovery Manager.

Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 3.03.27 PM

Also check a demo how to recover a deleted file using NetApp Recovery Manager for Sharefile.

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Excalibur: The merge of XenDesktop and XenApp

With XenDesktop 7.0 release, the new unified Citrix FlexCast management architecture combines VDI and hosted shared desktops and apps from a single platform. XenApp farms can now be deployed and managed within XenDesktop Studio.  This also means XenApp servers can be provisioned using the Machine Creation Services linked-clone delivery model or with the better performance and better scalability PVS solution.

NetApp, Cisco and Citrix believe that mobile work styles, powered by the cloud, have transformed business and are spurring an architectural revolution in IT. We are working on reference architecture on FlexPod with XenDesktop and different hypervisors vSphere, Hyper-V and XenServer.

  • Citrix XenDesktop (XenDesktop + XenApp) is the leading desktop solution in the market with more than 50% market share in the mid size and enterprise markets.
  • Citrix XenApp is a market dominant solution for hosted shared desktop model, and application delivery use cases.
  • Citrix XenDesktop is a leading VDI model.
  • FlexPod has been a popular infrastructure choice for Desktop Virtualization, specially Citrix XenDesktop.

The solution architecture is, at its core,  detailed in the FlexPod Deployment Guide. Connectivity remains the same, as are other component configurations. Diagram below shows our end to end infrastructure diagram.

  • Two nodes FAS 3240 NetApp Cluster ONTAP storage systems with 4 DS2246 shevels
  • Two Cisco Nexus 5596 storage cluster interconnects
  • Two Cisco Nexus 5548 switch connects Cisco UCS and NetApp storage
  • 16 Cisco B200 M3 B-series blades UCS Manager 2.1 within the FlexPod
  • Cisco Nexus 1000V for Hosted Virtual Desktop hosts to extend QoS to the virtual desktop and provide network administrators with the ability to manage the VM network with the familiar NXOS

We have management inbound and outbound network. The storage network, VM network and vMotion network are vPC virtual port channel.Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 2.00.53 PM

Below our storage architecture diagram:

solution SA

2000 VDI clients in parallel using Login VSI medium workload

  • 1000 Hosted Shared Desktop (Streamed XenApp by PVS)
  • 500 Pooled HVD (Hosted Virtual Desktops)
  • 500 Hosted HVD w/ pVDISK

In the reference architecture, we will show case following NetApp values:

  1. NetApp Data ONTAP 8.1.2 will be utilized on the FAS system,demonstrate Data ONTAP’s Cluster-mode ability to seamlessly move 250 running users from one controller to the other while running the test workload.
  2. NetApp deduplication savings for: Personal vDisk and CIFS share with profile management and redirected folders
  3. FlashCache for accelerating CIFS traffic
  4. Personal vDisk backup/recovery using NetApp Virtual Storage Console plugin
  5. NetApp OnCommand Balance for monitoring and troubleshooting virtual infrastructure and storage
  6. Demonstrate NetApp VAAI integration for provisioning infrastructure VMs on NFS datastores

Currently we are doing lab setup. I will share more detail as we move along.

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Addressing the Evolution to a Mobile Workforce

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and mobile work styles are driving the demand for delivering desktop, apps, and data as a service to any mobile device. Data needs to always be available so it can be delivered to end-users at a moment’s notice to ensure that business is not disrupted. Companies are also looking to build an IT foundation that is more agile and scalable and can allow for future expansion.

To help organizations address these business trends, today at Citrix Synergy, we announced new solutions and integrations between NetApp clustered Data ONTAP software and various Citrix technologies for desktop and application virtualization, mobile collaboration, and cloud services. NetApp and Citrix have collaborated on new technologies focused around XenDesktop 7, ShareFile, and XenServer that ensure non-disruptive operations and increase storage efficiency throughout a Citrix environment.

One of the announcements at Citrix Synergy is on XenDesktop 7 (aka. Project Excalibur). XenDesktop 7 introduces simplified architecture and management capabilities, enabling customers to deliver applications and desktops from a single platform. This also means customers can now provision their applications and desktop workloads using the Machine Creation Services linked-clone delivery model or with provisioning services (PVS) feature… and this is where NetApp brings addition value to XenDesktop 7.

I can summarize the NetApp value-add to Citrix in three key areas – desktop and application virtualization, mobile collaboration, and cloud services.

  • Desktop and Application Virtualization: NetApp is introducing new validated designs and a management plug-in (XenDesktop 7 on NetApp FAS Storage Systems, XenDesktop 7 on FlexPod from Cisco and NetApp with clustered Data ONTAP, and Virtual Storage Console 2.0 for XenServer), which allow customers to quickly deploy; scale a complete desktop virtualization solution; and deliver applications instantly, while reducing overall cost expenditures.
  • Mobile Collaboration: NetApp and Citrix have collaborated to deliver NetApp Recovery Manager for Citrix ShareFile. This new software fully automates recovery of user files and folders from NetApp storage-array based Snapshots, directly from inside the ShareFile user interface.
  • Cloud Services: Citrix CloudBridge with NetApp SnapMirror helps customers achieve faster data replication with NetApp SnapMirror accelerated with Citrix CloudBridge. Working together, NetApp and Citrix provide enterprises with a cloud-ready storage environment that deliver efficiency, optimize maintenance, and accelerate IT agility.

What does this all mean? NetApp, Cisco and Citrix believe that mobile work styles, powered by the cloud, have transformed business and are spurring an architectural revolution in IT. We are jointly working on reference architectures for FlexPod with XenDesktop and different hypervisors such as vSphere, Hyper-V and XenServer to deliver to customers a simple way to deploy mobile services rapidly.

For more details about the solution architecture take a look at the FlexPod Deployment Guide.

And don’t forget to drop by the NetApp booth #207 at Synergy to hear more about it.  We also have a session on Thursday, May 23rd @ 2PM to talk about XenDesktop 7 with FlexPod.

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Free iPad from Citrix Synergy 2013 NetApp booth Mini Theater

Citrix Synergy 2013 is next week. I have been preparing the presentation and booth demos.  If you mention my blog, I will buy you a beer. Looking forward to meeting you.

Below is NetApp mini theater topic and time. I wish you could win a iPad.

Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 4.17.31 PM Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 4.17.42 PM Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 4.17.51 PM

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NetApp Clustered ONTAP NDMP Copy Configuration

I was moving virtual desktop data last week between a four node NetApp Cluster and a two node cluster.  NDMP copy becomes handy for moving data. NDMP copy is different from cluster mode to 7 mode so I want to share the steps with you here.

  1. Verify that the NDMP user has a password.

In Data ONTAP 8.1 Cluster-Mode, NDMP uses a special account called ‘root’ for authentication. This ‘root’ account is not the same as the root account in the systemshell or the nodeshell.

Note: There is no ‘root’ account on the clustershell.

The ‘root’ user ID can use plain-text or MD5 passwords.

Run the following command to change the password for the ‘root’ user ID:

cluster::> ndmp modify –node * -user-id root

Please enter password:
Confirm password:
X entries were modified.

Passwords can be modified on a per node basis also. However, all nodes can only use the ‘root’ user ID for NDMP authentication.

2. Perform the following steps to re-enable ndmpcopy:

1)Log in to the cluster and enter the node shell:

2)cluster::> node run local


4)Re-enable ndmpcopy:   nodeshell> options nodescope.reenabledcmds ndmpcopy

3. Finally perform the ndmpcopy command:

1)ndmpcopy -sa <username:password> -da <username:password><source_nodemgmtIP:/vservername/vol_name> <dest_nodemgmtIP:/vservername/vol_name>

My example is:

ccr-cmode-1-01*> ndmpcopy -sa root:netapp -da root:netapp

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Virtual Storage Console 2.0 For XenServer is GA today






Virtual Storage Console 2.0 can be download from NetApp support site today. Screen Shot 2013-05-09 at 5.11.01 PMVSC for Citrix XenServer is a “no charge” software; however, performing various tasks in VSC for Citrix XenServer might require the purchase of one or more NetApp software licenses. For more information on required software licenses, see the Installation and Administration Guide.

VSC for Citrix XenServer software offers fully orchestrated, XenServer administration-driven provisioning and cloning capabilities:

  • Storage controller discovery and configuration.
  • Network File System (NFS) and block-based (Fiber Channel (FC) and iSCSI (Internet Small Computer System Interface)) storage repository provisioning, deduplication, resizing, and destruction. Note: Resizing is available for NFS-based storage repositories only.
  • Rapid VM cloning (in existing and new NFS-based storage repositories only) for persistent desktops and virtual servers powered by NetApp FlexClone.
  • Cloned VMs are instantly available in the Citrix XenDesktop for placement into catalogs.
  • Exporting NFS storage repositories to an entire subnet.
  • Role-based access control (RBAC) support, visible through the user interface.
  • Host management
    • Apply NetApp-recommended values when working with block-based storage repositories.
    • Display host information and storage usage.

To learn more on VSC 2.0, you can view my helper Remash’s demo on SR creation with NetApp unified storage NFS, iSCSI and FCP.

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Data Mobility Demo

I posted volume move blog a few weeks back. I recorded a demo for Citrix Synergy yesterday and want to share with my blog friends.

Please view demo NetApp cluster ONTAP data mobility for virtual desktop.

Volume move is supported with all protocols. This makes administrators life much easier. You can upgrade software or hardware in NetApp system with live user on.


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Citrix XenDesktop on NetApp Storage Solution Guide

I am very happy to announce new technical paper Citrix XenDesktop on NetApp Storage Solution Guide is released.  Thanks for Neil Glick to architect and set up the whole infrastructure with me, and Will who did all the performance testing.Image

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Non-disruptive operation for data center and cloud solutions

One of the benefits of NetApp clustered OnTap is non-disruptive operation. The key to efficiency and the lynchpin of clustering is the ability to make sure that the cluster does not fail—ever. The nondisruptive collection of independent nodes working together and presented as one holistic solution—is the ability of data to move freely within the boundaries of the cluster.

To prove that, I did a XenDesktop PVS write cache volume move from one node to the other while the virtual desktops are up and running.  WriteCache volume is moved from node 1 to node 4.

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 4.09.12 PM

For Mid-Range (these were FAS3040 controllers) rates ranged between 150- 250MB/s. For High-End ( these were FAS6070/80 controllers) rates ranged between 250-350MB/s.

After 52 minutes, the job is finished.  The used data in that volume is .82TB and the total size is 2TB. Now writecache1 volume is on node 4. All the VMs are still up and running. No operation is disrupted.

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 4.14.57 PM

Clustered OnTap non-disruptive operation is great for upgrade, and load balance. You can   easily moving data from one cluster node to another without any down time.

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Personal vDisk and IO redistribution

With the persistent (assigned) desktop configuration utilizing Citrix personal vDisk, the effect of I/O to the storage can be summarized as follows:

  • Much of the workload that went to the write cache in a nonpersistent desktop now goes to the personal vDisk. Write cache workload is much lower in a persistent environment.
  • Per Citrix, the personal vDisk driver on the guest machine contains a small read cache. This results in 10-20% decrease in total operations to the storage over nonpersistent desktops.

The amount of I/O that the personal vDisk incurs will be highly variable and dependent the applications that are installed on the individual desktops. The I/O is affected by the type of application installed on the personal vDisks in the environment and where that data is stored. As an example, a desktop environment that uses highly I/O intensive applications or performs copy or compression of large files will see much higher I/O to the personal vDisk storage than an environment that only runs word processing or spreadsheet applications.

In our LoginVSI testing most of the applications were installed on the golden image; therefore, the majority of reads were serviced from the PVS server cache instead of the personal vDisk storage. This will naturally give best results in terms of storage resource utilization and efficiency. The user data written by the Login VSI applications was contained mostly on the CIFS user data storage. The personal vDisk handled mostly OS level changes to the file system.

In a persistent configuration, most of the workload that was serviced by the write cache is now divided among the personal vDisk storage and the CIFS user data if profile management software is in use. One major difference that is observed when using CIFS for user data is that additional overhead of CIFS metadata operations is incurred. This is because of the client’s data being contained on file-based storage rather than its block-based vDisk or VMDK.

The following is a breakdown of IOPs per desktop in each of the persistent (assigned) desktop use cases.

io pvdisk

The total I/O seen in tests with only personal vDisk enabled shows less total I/O to storage than in the nonpersistent tests. A peak average of eight total IOPs was incurred, with two going to write cache and six being served from the personal vDisk storage. The reason for this is that personal vDisk adds an additional read cache at the guest driver layer which slightly decreases the amount of I/O served from storage.

Adding CIFS profile management and home directories into the environment takes some I/O from personal vDisk and adds it to CIFS. The additional metadata operations necessary for SMB file access makes up the remainder.

After the personal vDisk and CIFS user data is configured in a PVS environment, the write cache is mostly relegated to handling operations to the guest OS page file and its I/O is greatly reduced. Most of the I/O to the OS and application files will now be served from the PVS server cache, the personal vDisk storage, and CIFS home directories and sizing and planning should be adjusted accordingly.

The graphs below summarize the breakdown of read and write operations to the personal vDisk and write cache storage during boot and login scenarios for persistent desktops. Again, as in all cases the workload was approximately 90% writes.

500-seat boot and login, I/O comparison, PVS with personal vDisk.

pvdisk io 1 pvdisk io 2

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