Move over El Capitan, hello Yosemite!

With all this talk about El Capitan, Apple’s as of yet unreleased version 10.11 of OS X, and its wondrous new features in Xsan, I think it might be time to upgrade to last year’s breakthrough version of OS X, Yosemite. Sure, you might be excited by the press releases for the built-in DLC in El Capitan but seriously sane folks stay 1-year behind the bleeding nose upgrades provided by Apple. So if OS X 10.11 is all the rage before its released it must be time to seriously consider upgrading that working Xsan running OS X 10.8 or OS X 10.9.

In my case, I upgraded a working Xsan running on Mac Minis and OS X 10.8.5. Here are some screenshots from the process. As always think worked better than I could have expected, and it is a much easier process that one expects. But stay sharp kids, danger lurks when you wake the dreamer…. Upgrading a SAN is serious business and doing anything like this without proper backups is taking your life in your own hands. In my case, full disk backups on Promise Pegasus RAIDs and full tape backups using Archiware P5.

Download the Yosemite installer form the App Store. Install. Download the new Server.app from the App Store. Install. Now upgrade your Xsan. That’s it. You’re done. No surprises, aren’t you happy? Ha ha. I’m kidding. The fun is just getting started.

If you’re actually following along, this isn’t a step by step recipe. Go to Apple’s site and read this Kbase and check out the migration guide.

Restore Xsan

Restore Xsan

Step 1 is to launch the new Server.app, find Xsan Admin. Just kidding, it isn’t there. Enable Xsan, and choose to Restore a previous SAN configuration. That wasn’t hard. High five! Actually, we’re not done yet. Set up OD now. Go!

Step 2. Set up your Xsan controller as an Open Directory (OD) master. Does’t matter if it’s joined to another domain, Xsan keeps itself organized in OD, so you need it.

Set up OD

Set up OD

Step 3. Admire your upgraded SAN, “how lovely the flowers do smell…. life is good.”

XSAN LIST

Xsan list

Step 4. Where did my Xsan admin go? Where do I add clients? Where are my clients? Huh? What? Why did I upgrade a perfectly working SAN to this version? Ha ha.

Take it all in, take a good look at what you’ve done to your Xsan. What? Just so the editors could have the latest version of Final Cut Pro (v.10.2.1) which is only compatible with OS X 10.10.4. I see what you’ve done Apple, very clever indeed. Hmm…

Click on the “Save configuration profile” button and download the profile somewhere. Use this to set up the SAN on your clients. Distribute via Profile Manager or install it manually. Up to you. I haven’t gotten it to work with Munki quite yet. Installing it requires the admin password for the Xsan controller. How convenient.

When you client is configured you’ll see a Profile in System Preferences. Remove it and your client is un-configured. No more Xsan.prefpane to list volumes and mount or unmount them. Nope. That would be too easy. Learn to love “xsanctl”, as in “xsanctl mount Xsan”. Read some xsanctl tips in this Kbase

Step 5. Set up a backup Xsan controller. You have one of those, right? In my case, I had a client which I wanted to promote to be a controller.  But first what to do about its status a client of the Xsan?

backup cannot be client

backup cannot be client

Open Server.app, enable Xsan, join current Xsan as a backup controller and set up a replica OD. Confirm, confirm, confirm. Think about what you’re doing, then do it!

confirm OD replica

confirm

Apple wizards are the best wizards, uh, i mean Setup Assistants. No wizards here…. So, you’ve setup a backup Xsan controller, and OD replica, and now look in Server.app. How amazing is that… wait, what? Where’d my Xsan volumes go? Huh? Where are the controllers? Weird. Very strange. Not comforting at all.

Xsan 4 no SAN list crop 122815

The Xsan window eventually shows the volumes and controllers, bur geez, almost gave me a heart attack. It’s not like I never seen Xsan go bad before. Xsan 1 nightmare still haunt me. They do. Backups. Need more backups. Archiware P5 Backups, do it now!

OK, you’ve survived the uncertainty of Xsan upgrades…. But wait more minute… cat the fsnameservers (no, it’s not the name of a band, it’s a command). Check it out. Holy smokes, batman. Xsan 4 by default will set your metatadata network to the public LAN, something that’d would be laughed at years ago, but they do it now by default. Of course, upgrading our SAN kept out metadata network the same. But strangely the Xsan backup controller is set to use the public for metadata when the primary controller is not. WTF.

Change your metadata network. Read the Kbase, and once again wield xsanctl like a boss.

Xsan 4 in OS X 10.10 (Yosemite)

Apple released Yosemite (OS X 10.10) today.  The big news for me is the built-in version of Xsan is v.4. But don’t get too excited and upgrade your OS without some planning (and backups). If your systems are in production then please leave them as is. Install OS X 10.10 on a test system first. Install a test Xsan and play with that. Don’t test in production. ‘Nough said.

What you need to know is, if you upgrade your Mac to 10.10 then it is officially incompatible with Xsan 3. You can NOT have Xsan 3 (10.9) clients on a 10.10 Xsan, and I don’t think that 10.10 (Xsan 4) clients will work on a Xsan 3 based SAN. There may be a hack to get incompatible versions working together but that’s left to imaginative tinkerers and not useful for production where deadlines are involved.

I’ve done some basic testing with Xsan 4 and it does away with the Xsan Admin app, all setup is done in the Server.app. Also, it depends on Open Directory (and DNS, of course). If there is no OD master set up then it will create one (same with DNS). If you have OD then join your Xsan controllers to it as replicas or else they will create a new OD master on the first Xsan controller and a replica on the second. You were warned.

To configure the clients you export a config profile and install it on the clients, or alternatively you can enrol the Xsan controller in MDM (Profile Manager, for example) and push out the config to the clients.

I have not tested Xsan 4 with StorNext but I expect there is compatibility, as usual.

In Summary:

More testing is needed, but strictly speaking Xsan 4 is not going to work with Xsan 3 and vice versa. If an Xsan 3 (10.9 client) is part of Xsan 4 (10.10) then it may work but commands and configs will not come across (unmount / mount the volume, the volume is destroyed stop looking for it, etc).

And now for some screenshots of the actual setup.

Step 1. Install Server. Turn on Xsan and get ready to rumble.

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 2.02.06 PM

Step 2. Change your name. If you’re using dot-local change it.

Change-dot-local-name-Xsan4

Step 3. Set up valid DNS

Setup-DNS-if-you-dont-have-none

Step 4. Set up a new SAN

Set-up-new-SAN

Step 5. Choose a SAN name

Choose-SAN-Name

Step 6. Configure Users and Groups (OD)

Config-users-groups

Step 7. Choose your organization name

OD-name

Step 8. Create the Xsan volume

Add-Xsan-volume2

Step 9. Add LUNs to your storage

Edit-storage-pool-add-LUNs

Step 10. Save a configuration profile

Save-mobile-config

Step 11. Deploy config to clients

Use MDM or manually deliver the file to your clients.

Stay tuned.