Gene’s question

21 11 2007

Gene writes:

question about SAN interoperability

…2 windows 2003 server sp2 servers, running on HP proliant dl380 g4 each with one single port fiber hba’s. Servers will be clustered to run sql 2005. HBA’s are hp branded- emulex fc2143’s (Emulex id- is lp1150)…SUN SAN has both 6130’s disk array and 3510 array…we want to use disk from both arrays…(betters disks in 6130, slower stuff in 3510)

Do we actually need multipath drivers? (SUN has come out with DSM’s for both these arrays)…any issue using multiple DSM’s if they are requried.

Any known issues with the type of device drivers for the HBAs? Storport versus scsiport…

any help is appreciated

In general, if you only have one FC port per server, you don’t need a multipath driver. I am not sure if this holds true with multiple subsystems that aren’t under some sort of virtualization umbrella though… you might need a device driver that understands how to work with multiple subsystems. This would not be a multipath driver though- those are for multiple paths to the same LUN.

Regarding scsiport versus storport, I found an excellent whitepaper detailing the differences here. The way I read this is that these layers of the storage stack replace the proprietary device and multipath drivers provided by Sun- if they support it, then you should take storport, the more recent version. Unfortunately, I can’t give you very specific caveats with this technology because every system I’ve worked on used the vendor’s device and multi-path drivers, or a virtualization head to combine multiple physical subsystems into a logical one.

The disk subsystems are withdrawn from Sun’s marketing- have you asked your Sun contact whether they’ll support the setup you’re considering?



3 responses

22 11 2007

I’m a storage admin for a medium size company with multipel sites around the CONUS, and we have around 60TB at our main facility with a couple TB at each site. We have HDS USP, HDS AMS, IBM DS4300 (FasT600), EMC CX400, NetApp, and muliple Cisco MDS fabrics.

I’ve never run into a situation where a HBA needed anything extra with open systems to see multiple storage systems. Most of our systems are not less than four years old and on multipathed systems we use HDLM (HDS) and RDAC (IBM) software. We use Qlogic and Emulex HBAs, and I’ve attached multiple disks from multiple storage systems witout issues.

Just make sure that your HBA driver version is supported on all subsystems!

22 11 2007
Open Systems Guy

Great! Thanks for the help :)

23 11 2007
Tony Pearson

A multipath driver is needed if you have multiple paths to the same LUN. This can happen even in single-port FBAs if they are connected to a switch, which in turn has two or more cables to the disk array. If you are going to access two disk arrays from a single port HBA, then you will need a switch, and you might as well have two cables from the switch to each disk array for load balance, and that is where a multipath driver comes in.

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