Blog


14

Jul 2022

Manual Xsan profile changes

When adding clients to an Xsan, the normal process is to install an Xsan profile on the client which tells the client how to talk to the Open Directory.  Then the Xsan configuration is pulled down from Open Directory and the client is able to connect.  Occasionally we need to modify that profile.  Here are 2 ways we have changed the profile in certain circumstances.


07

Jul 2022

Disable Spotlight on an Xsan volume

We have been seeing spotlight processes (mds, mds_stores, mdworker_shared, etc) using a lot of CPU on some of our MDCs.  By itself this isn’t a problem, but we have been dealing with some thermal issues in a couple of small server rooms.  While the benefits of spotlight are nice, it isn’t worth the extra heat in this case. We tried disabling spotlight with mdutil, but...

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04

May 2022

Another ARD offline issue

We have a lot of headless Mac Minis in server racks running Xsans and related services.  So we use Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) quite a bit to connect and work on them.  For most of their history, a Mac Mini without a monitor was limited to low desktop resolutions (like 1280×1024 or even 1024×768), could lose any graphics acceleration from the Quartz Core Graphics framework,...

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14

Apr 2022

Erase and reconfigure your Xsan MDCs

We recently had a situation where an Xsan was misbehaving. Both MDCs were regularly freezing up and becoming unresponsive. We found that the systems were regularly creating core dumps and filling the /cores directory until the drive filled up. We tried to diagnose the cause of this, but were not able to figure it out from the core dump files. So we erased and reinstalled...

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12

Apr 2022

Xsan Software Updates on macOS Monterey

I have been seeing some weird behavior with software updates on our macOS Monterey test Xsan.  After running the software update, the Xsan volume does not mount.  Trying to see the volume with xsanctl list results in xsanctl: unable to connect to xsand: No such file or directory.  Having seeing this before I try to bootstrap the xsand launch daemon, which also fails.  The error now is service is disabled.  To resolve...

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05

Jan 2022

Deleting a lot of data

When supporting Xsans with a lot of data, we occasionally need to remove a lot of data.  As the year rolled over, we have created new folders for the 2022 projects and it is time to remove some old data from the production volumes.  After confirming the tape archive and nearline volumes have the data, we are clearing up some previous year projects to free...

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20

Dec 2021

Apple Remote Desktop constant resizing

We use Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) for many things from working on headless servers to remote users working on Xsan connected systems while working from home.  Occasionally, we run into a problem when connecting to a remove system via ARD where the window wildly resizes itself and eventually errors out. In some cases the cause seems to be a user changing the resolution of the...

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14

Dec 2021

Permissions management on Xsan

I’m sure there are many ways to manage permissions on an Xsan, but we primarily see 2.   The first is that anyone that can connect to the san can see everything on the san.  Access is handled by keeping the san connected computers physically secure and not allowing network access to the san volume(s).  Then permissions on the volume can be set so that...

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08

Dec 2021

xsanctl: unable to connect to xsand & launchd

We recently had a Mac that wouldn’t mount the Xsan volume when rebooting.  We would receive the error xsanctl: unable to connect to xsand: No such file or directory when running xsanctl mount VolumeName.  After confirming that the fibre HBA driver was loaded and the LUNs were available, we thought to check the issue that the error message actually described.


01

Dec 2021

No login window icon if your UID is too large

We ran into an interesting problem on some of our Xsan connected systems.  We created mobile accounts, but some of them wouldn’t show up at the Mac’s Login Window. These Macs are bound to an LDAP server and the user’s UniqueID (UID) comes from the LDAP server.  The UIDs are assigned based on user type, so while employees are small numbers, contractors have ended up...

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24

Nov 2021

If your Xsan volume isn’t mounting automatically

We have seen some systems where our Xsan volume(s) do not mount consistently on restart.  We have seen this occasionally on both macOS Catalina and Big Sur.  After confirming that the fibre channel HBA driver is loaded, and seeing that manually running xsanctl mount <volumeName> works as expected, we can turn to launchd to make sure the volume mounts.


17

Nov 2021

Load fibre drivers at startup

We have seen several Big Sur Macs at different locations not mount their Xsan volume after a restart or power on.   After some investigation, we have found that the fibre HBA driver is not loaded. This has happened with ATTO ThunderLink FC adapters, ATTO Celerity PCI cards, and Promise SANLink FC adapters, so it doesn’t appear to just be one bad driver. The first...

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10

Nov 2021

Create a new Xsan on macOS Monterey

In macOS Monterey the Server.app interface for setting up and managing Xsan is gone.  Apple has produced an Xsan Management Guide (as of 2021-11-2 available on the Apple developer site).  In this post I will walk through creating a new Xsan from scratch on macOS Monterey. Our test environment is made up of 2 Intel Mac Minis with ATTO Thunderlink fibre adapters connected to a...

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04

Nov 2021

Xsan Big Sur to Monterey upgrade

With macOS Monterey, Apple has announced that the Server.app interface for Xsan is going away. One small benefit to this is that we don’t need to wait for the official release of Server.app v5.12 to upgrade our Xsan to Monterey. Both Big Sur and Monterey have the same Xsan versions (Server Revision 7.0.1 Build 589[96634]). This post will show the steps I used to upgrade...

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