Reliant - Unisphere Service ManagerIf you’re an EMC user who has ever gotten frustrated while adding expansion shelves or upgrading the software on your system, then understanding Unisphere Service Manager (USM) is key to making your life a little bit easier. USM is a free, Java-based application designed to help you upgrade, install, and maintain your CX4 and VNX arrays.

At Reliant, we often work with users who never received much quality training on the VNX platform. They mostly learned by doing, reading manuals and figuring out the troubleshooting process as they go. These users usually have no problem with more basic troubleshooting measures such as changing a failed drive, but dealing with anything on the back end can be confusing.

If you’re one of those users who is used to just plugging cables up, USM gives you a much better way to go about it. Basically, USM gives you a visual representation of what you’re doing, while you're doing it.

USM consists of four utilities that guide you through common EMC maintenance tasks. Each utility provides context-sensitive help on how to perform particular steps, so you no longer have to just rely on the manual. The four USM utilities include:

Disk Replacement Utility

The Disk Replacement Utility (DRU) guides you through the replacement of a faulted disk. DRU provides a step-by-step wizard interface with the following process:

■ Runs rules to determine if disk may be replaced.
■ Checks whether enclosure software (FRUMON firmware) requires upgrading to support new drives.
■ Shows the rebuild progress.
■ Sends information back to EMC.

Software Installation Utility

The Software Installation Utility guides you through the process of installing and upgrading of software like FLARE code releases and patches, replication applications (SAN Copy, SnapView, MirrorView) and Hotfixes. The Software Installation Utility does the following:

■ Checks for conditions that would preclude upgrading the storage system.
■ Performs the installation.
■ Monitors the installation.
■ Performs post-installation tasks.
■ Completes the process to register the storage system.

Array Registration Utility

The Array Registration Utility (ARU) sends system registration information automatically to EMC. It’s Diagnostics Options allow you to verify the status of your storage system.

Online Disk Firmware Upgrade

Finally, we have the Online Disk Firmware Upgrade (ODFU). ODFU is for CX4 storage systems running Release 30 and VNX systems. ODFU does the following:

■ Checks for disk firmware update recommendations.
■ Downloads the latest disk firmware
■ Installs the firmware on the appropriate disk drives without disruption to storage system operations.

Aside from the four main utilities described above, Unisphere Service Manager does some other useful things. WIth USM, you can download your Storage Processor collects (SP collects) to produce an Excel or HTML file that gives you a complete overview of your system.

The document shows you the configuration of your trays, RAID groups, and storage pools. It's a comprehensive look at your storage, all in one place. The document is especially helpful when you need to do any replacements.

The precursor to USM, called Navisphere Task Manager wasn’t as useful, and some admins never bothered with it. Don’t make the mistake of thinking USM is just a new name for Navisphere Task Manager. While Navisphere Task Manager had its uses, USM is a must-have that will make your life easier.

If you have any questions about USM or have an EMC project coming up you’d like to discuss, reach out to one of our EMC storage experts or give us a call at (404) 551-4534 and we’d be glad to help.