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Moving SCSI to Fibre - Part One

We have purchased an EMC Fibre solution and will be moving our data from SCSI to Fibre. What do you feel would be the best way to get my data from these SCSI connections to the new Fibre connections? I have (28) NT servers connected to a Symmetrix and will be moving all (28) to a new Symmetrix that will be using Fibre cards instead of SCSI.

Any insight would be helpful. I have about 30 days to complete the move of just a little over 1tb of production data.


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Randy,

I just finished a couple days of trying to dig down into NT and Win2000 issues surrounding your question, and have some thoughts that might be helpful.

First, your situation raises an important point which I haven't thought about for some time, which is the importance of separating the operating system storage from data storage. If you are using the SCSI Symmetrix now as a boot disk, you should think about migrating the OS to some other local storage, such as a pair of mirrored SCSI disks. I think it makes a lot of sense to treat the OS and its disks as belonging to individual systems, while the application data and its storage belongs to the broader IT organization and, as such, may need to be accessed by other systems at some point.

With the OS out of the way, it is easier to consider the rest of the process. There are several key logistical aspects to weigh:

1) Uptime requirements of your production systems. If they don't require 24x7, it will be much easier.

2) Completeness of the migration. It is probably essential to get all data migrated.

3) Capacity of server volumes you want with the new storage.

4) Availability of adapter slots in your production servers. It helps if you can add the FC cards early in the process.

5) Availability of a spare system(s) to help transfer data.

It is recommended that care be taken in segregating the I/O paths between your servers and the FC Symmetrix disk volumes. This can be done through zoning in Fibre Channel switches as well as by LUN masking in HBAs or in the storage subsystem. My recommendation is to use zoning in switches unless you understand the advantages and pitfalls of other segregation techniques. It is also possible to establish direct connections between servers and storage without using switches by setting up point-to-point connections between server HBAs and Symmetrix FC ports.

The "Totally lucky" case
The simplest solution assumes you have downtime where you can halt user access and application processing on your servers and there is room in your servers for FC adapters. If you are so lucky, establish a Fibre Channel (FC) connection between the server and the Symmetrix FC disk volume and create an NT disk of the capacity you want. Run SCOPY to transfer the data from the SCSI disk to the FC disk. Look up the SCOPY command parameters to transfer all the appropriate metadata (ACLs and such) - An NT systems administrator can probably figure this out and the Microsoft web site has information on SCOPY if you need help. If using NT you should use SCOPY, in Win2000, this functionality has been included in the more familiar XCOPY.

More to come in Moving SCSI to Fibre - Part Two


This was first published in March 2001

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