Xsan Deployment Checklist

April 10th, 2012 by Charles Edge

One of the harder aspects of building systems consistently in a repeatable fashion is that you often need a checklist to follow in order to maintain that consistency. Therefore, we’ve started an Xsan Installation Checklist, which we hope will help keep all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed. Feel free to submit any items we should add to the checklist and also feel free to use it to verify the configuration of your own Xsans.


[ ] Work out ahead of time how permissions will be dealt with:

  • Active Directory
  • Open Directory
  • Local Clients in same group with different UIDs.

[ ] If Active Directory is already in place, verify that system are bound properly.

[ ] If Open Directory is already in place, verify that system are bound properly.

[ ] If Open Directory is not already in place, configure Open Directory.

[ ] All client Public interfaces should have working forward and reverse DNS resolution.

Fibre Channel (Qlogic)

[ ] Update Qlogic firmware to latest on all switches.

[ ] Set nicknames for all devices in the fabric.

[ ] Export the nicknames.xml file and give to customer or import to workstation running Qlogic San Surfer.

[ ] Set the domain IDs on the Qlogic. Different Domain ID for each switch.

[ ] Set port speed manually on Qlogic and clients. Don’t use auto-negotiation.

[ ] Configure the appropriate Qlogic port properties for Targets (Storage) and Initiators (Clients).


  • Device Scan On
  • I/O Streamguard Off
  • Initiators
  • Device Scan Off
  • I/O Streamguard On

[ ] Avoid fully populating Qlogic 9200 blades, only use 8-12 ports of each blade to avoid flooding backplane.

[ ] If the switch has redundant power, plug each PS into different circuits.

[ ] Split HBA (client port) and storage ports across switches, i.e. port 0 on switch 1, port 1 on switch 2.

Storage (Promise)

[ ] Update Controller firmware to latest version

[ ] If client has a spare controller, update that as well.  Also label box with updated firmware number

[ ] Work out LUNs for MetaData/Journal and Data (MD should be RAID 1, Data should be RAID 5 or 6)

[ ] Adjust script for formatting Promise RAIDs Рrefer to this link  http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1200

[ ] Start formatting LUNS according to strategy – this can take up to 24 hours.

Metadata Network

[ ] If customer has Spanning Tree enabled, make sure Portfast is enabled as well. If possible, disable ST.

[ ] Verify that both clients and servers have GigE connection.

General Client/Server

[ ] Label your NICs clearly: Public LAN and Metadata LAN.

[ ] Configure Metadata network with IP and Subnet Mask only. No router or DNS.

[ ] Disable unused network interfaces.

[ ] Make sure Public Interface is top interface in System Preferences/Network

[ ] Disable IPv6 on all interfaces.

[ ] Energy Saver settings: Make sure “put hard disks to sleep when possible” is disabled.

[ ] Make sure Startup Disk is set to the proper local boot volume.

Metadata Controllers

[ ] Install XSAN on Snow Leopard machines and below (XSAN is included with Lion)

[ ] All MDCs should have mirrored boot drives, with AutoRebuild enabled.

[ ] Sync the clocks via NTP. Make sure all clients and MDCs point to same NTP server.

[ ] Add MDCs to XSAN

Volume Configuration

[ ] Label all the LUNs clearly.

[ ] Configure the MetaData LUN as a mirrored Raid 1.

[ ] Use an even number of LUNs per pool.

[ ] Use Apple defaults for block size and stripe breadth and test to see if performance is acceptable.

[ ] Do NOT enable Extended Attributes.

[ ] Verify email notification is turned on.

[ ] Make sure the customer knows not to go below 20% free space.

XSAN Creation/Management

[ ] Verify that the same version of Xsan is running on on all MDCs and clients.

[ ] For 10.6 and below – Add XSAN Serial numbers to XSAN Admin

[ ] Add Clients to XSAN

[ ] Verify performance of XSAN

  • Test speed
  • Test IO
  • Test sustained throughput
  • Test with different file types
  • Test within applications (real world testing)

[ ] Document XSAN for client

[ ] Upload documentation


Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.