VNX File + Linux CLI

If you can learn Linux/UNIX command line and leverage it in your job, I firmly believe it will make you a better, faster, more efficient storage/network/sysadmin/engineer.  egrep, sed, awk, and bash are extremely powerful tools.  The real trick is knowing how to “stack” up the tools to make them do what you want…and not bring down the house in the process.  Note: I bear no responsibility for you bringing your house down!

Today I was able to leverage this via the VNX Control Station CLI.  I had a bunch of standard file system replications to set up and Unisphere was dreadfully slow.  If you find yourself in this situation, give the following a whirl.  I’m going to document my thought process as well, because I think this is equally as important as knowing how to specifically do these things.

First what is the “create file replication” command?  A quick browse through the man pages, online, or the Replicator manual gives us something like this:

nas_replicate –create REPLICATIONNAME –source –fs FILESYSTEMNAME –destination –pool id=DESTINATIONPOOLID –vdm DESTINATIONVDMNAME –interconnect id=INTERCONNECTID

Looking at the variable data in CAPITAL LETTERS, the only thing I really care about changing is the replication name and file system name.  In fact I usually use the file system name for the replication name…I feel like this does what I need it to unless you are looking at a complex Replicator set up.  So if I identify the destination pool ID (nas_pool -list), the destination vdm name (nas_server -list -vdm), and the interconnect ID (nas_cel -interconnect -list) then all I’m left with is needing the file system name.

So the command would look like (in my case, with some made up values):

nas_replicate –create REPLICATIONNAME –source –fs FILESYSTEMNAME –destination –pool id=40 –vdm MYDESTVDM01 –interconnect id=20001

Pretty cool – at this point I can just replace the name itself if I wanted and still get through it much faster than through Unisphere.  But let’s go a little further.

I want to automate the process for a bunch of different things in a list.  And in order to do that, I’ll need a for loop.  A for loop in bash goes something like this:

for i in {0..5}; do echo i is $i; done

This reads in English, “for every number in 0 through 5, assign the value to the variable $i, and run the command ‘echo i is $i'”  If you run that line on a Linux box, you’ll see:

i is 0
i is 1
i is 2
i is 3
i is 4
i is 5

Now we’ve got our loop so we can process through a list.  What does that list need to be?  In our case that list needs to be a list of file system names.  How do we get those?

We can definitely use the nas_fs command but how is a bit tricky.  nas_fs -l will give us all the file system names, but it will truncate them if they get too long.  If you are lucky enough to have short file system names, you might be able to get them out of here.  If not, the full name would come from nas_fs -info -all.  Unfortunately that command also gives us a bunch of info we don’t care about like worm status and tiering policy.

Tools to the rescue!  What we want to do is find all lines that have “name” in them and the tool for that is grep.  nas_fs -info -all | grep name will get all of those lines we want.  Success!  We’ve got all the file system names.

name      = root_fs_1
name      = root_fs_common
name      = root_fs_ufslog
name      = root_panic_reserve
name      = root_fs_d3
name      = root_fs_d4
name      = root_fs_d5
name      = root_fs_d6
name      = root_fs_2
name      = root_fs_3
name      = root_fs_vdm_cifs-vdm
name      = root_rep_ckpt_68_445427_1
name      = root_rep_ckpt_68_445427_2
name      = cifs
name      = root_rep_ckpt_77_445449_1
name      = root_rep_ckpt_77_445449_2
name      = TEST
name      = TestNFS

Alas they are not as we want them, though.  First of all we have a lot of “root” file systems we don’t like at all.  Those are easy to get rid of.  We want all lines that don’t have root in them, and once again grep to the rescue with the -v or inverse flag.

nas_fs -info -all | grep name | grep -v root

name      = cifs
name      = TEST
name      = TestNFS

Closer and closer.  Now the problem is the “name   =” part.  Now what we want is only the 3rd column of text.  In order to obtain this, we use a different tool – awk.  Awk has its own language and is super powerful, but we want a simple “show me the 3rd column” and that is going to just be tacked right on the end of the previous command.

nas_fs -info -all | grep name | grep -v root | awk ‘{print $3;}’


Cool, now we’ve got our file system names.  We can actually run our loop on this output, but I find it easier to send it to a file and work with it.  Just run the command and point the output to a file like so:

nas_fs -info -all | grep name | grep -v root | awk ‘{print $3;}’ > /home/nasadmin/fsout.txt

This way you can directly edit the fsout.txt file if you want to make changes.  Learning how these tools work is very important because your environment is going to be different and the output that gets produced may not be exactly what you want it to be.  If you know how grep, awk, and sed work, you can almost always coerce output however you want.

Now let’s combine this output with ye olde for loop to finish out strong.  Note the ` below are backticks, not single quotes:

for fsname in `cat /home/nasadmin/fsout.txt`; do echo nas_replicate –create $fsname –source –fs $fsname –destination –pool id=40 –vdm MYDESTVDM01 –interconnect id=20001; done

My output in this case is a series of commands printed to the screen because I left in the “echo” command:

nas_replicate –create cifs –source –fs cifs –destination –pool id=40 –vdm MYDESTVDM01 –interconnect id=20001
nas_replicate –create TEST –source –fs TEST –destination –pool id=40 –vdm MYDESTVDM01 –interconnect id=20001
nas_replicate –create TestNFS –source –fs TestNFS –destination –pool id=40 –vdm MYDESTVDM01 –interconnect id=20001

Exactly what I wanted.  Now if I want to actually run it rather than just printing them to the screen, I can simply remove the “echo” from the previous for loop.  This is a good way to validate your statement before you unleash it on the world.

If you are going to attempt this, look into the background flag as well which can shunt these all to the NAS task scheduler.  I actually like running them without the flag in this case so I can glance at putty and see progress.

If you haven’t played in the Linux CLI space before, some of this might be greek.  Understandable!  Google it and learn.  There are a million tutorials on all of these concepts out there.  And if you are a serious Linux sysadmin you probably have identified a million flaws in the way I did things. 🙂  Such is life.

Sometimes there is a fine line with doing things like this, where you may spend more time on the slick solution than you would have just hammering it out.  In this made up case I just had 3…earlier I had over 30.  But solutions like this are nice because they are reusable, and they scale.  It doesn’t really matter whether I’m doing 1 replication or 10 or 40.  I can use this (or some variation of it) every time.

The real point behind this post wasn’t to show you how to use these tools to do replications via CLI, though if it helps you do that then great.  It was really to demonstrate how you can use these tools in the real world to get real work done.  Fast and consistent.

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