Friday, March 13, 2009

Question of the WEEK - Storage - DS3000 Family

DS3000 Battery Life

Question of the week:

Before the DS3000 Storage Subsystem Firmware release 7.35, the life of the battery was based on an age counter. H, with the 7.35.x code, it is based on learn cycle. I need to explain to my customers (hopefully with a screenshot) that after the upgrade we will just need to reset the age counter by few screenshot which I could not get on the latest demo. Could you please send me a screenshot for the advance learn cycle after the upgrade which shows the battery is healthy, and also one that shows how to configure the learn cycle.
On top of this, I was told that some of the initial batch of DS3000 systems were not delivered with SMART batteries. Is this true? After I upgrade the Firmware to 7.35, will the Storage Manager tell me if the system does not have a smart battery? If not, how could I tell from the StorageManager whether the battery is smart or not?

Answer of the week:

First of all, a little background on batteries. There are “dumb” batteries like you put in flashlights, and there are “smart” batteries like the ones that go in laptops. The big difference is that the smart batteries can communicate and provide intelligence to the system like State of Charge and State of Health information. With dumb batteries, you don’t. So, smart batteries tell you when they need to be replaced, but with dumb batteries, you can either wait until the light grows dim (flashlight example) or the “average lifespan” time is up to replace the batteries.

The upside of smart batteries is that customers are not changing out perfectly good batteries. The downside to the smart batteries is complexity, cost, and the need to run periodic health checks (called the learn cycle). As with all “system maintenance” functions, it is best to run the learn cycle during a non-disruptive time (weekends, nights, etc) as it may have an impact on system performance (especially lower end systems

With the newer systems (DS3000’s, DS4000’s and DS5000’s), we’ve always utilized smart batteries (batteries with the smart circuitry). So, it is not necessary to try to determine if your system has smart or dumb batteries (DS4300 batteries are dumb, and DS3400 batteries are smart). With the older versions of firmware (pre-7.x), we didn’t implement the intelligence for taking advantage of the smart batteries. Instead, we just utilized the old method of checking their age (for various reasons). With the new version of firmware, the systems now take advantage of the smartness of the batteries. This does bring about changes to the StorageManager, and as pointed out above, those changes do not show up in the simulator (a simulator bug that will be resolved). So, below you will see a screenshot of the “Change Battery Settings” window (under Tools tab in the DS3000 StorageManager interface).

You will notice that you now can reset the age (which does very little), and also select when the learn cycle is run. I’ll also note that the learn cycle is run every 13 weeks, and the StorageManager displays when the next learn cycle will be executed.

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