Solaris 8 SAN Frustrations

Getting Solaris 8 to light up a Qlogic QLA2310 Fibre Channel card using the SUNWqlc and SUNWqlcx drivers can be frustrating enough, but the headaches are only beginning if you want to connect it to a SAN and you don’t have all the right packages installed.

Last week, I installed the QLA2310 in a Sun Fire V210 running Solaris 8. I installed the latest versions of SUNWqlc, SUNWqlcx and SUNWsan. After doing a reboot -- -r, the system came up and attached the driver to the card. I zoned it in the fabric and logged into Navisphere, where the WWN showed up, but neither Power Path or the Navisphere host agent could communicate with the CLARiiON. I also could not see any of the LUNS I had presented.

I thought it was strange that the CLARiiON could see the host, but the host could not see the CLARiiON.

I ran:
luxadm -e port
Which returned:

Found path to 1 HBA ports

/devices/pci@1d,700000/SUNW,qlc@1/fp@0,0:devctl                    CONNECTED

Clearly, it could see the HBA.

I ran:

ls -l /dev/cfg
total 8
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root  root   38 Nov 30 14:31 c0 ->
../../devices/pci@1e,600000/ide@d:scsi
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root  root   39 Nov 30 14:31 c1 ->
../../devices/pci@1c,600000/scsi@2:scsi
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root  root   41 Nov 30 14:31 c2 ->
../../devices/pci@1c,600000/scsi@2,1:scsi
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root  root   48 Dec  4 13:49 c3 ->
../../devices/pci@1d,700000/SUNW,qlc@1/fp@0,0:fc

The card was C3… This becomes useful later when we have to config it.

I ran:
cfgadm -al -o show_FCP_dev
Which retuned:
cfgadm: Configuration administration not supported

There it was… I didn’t have the complete SAN package installed. I hadn’t done this in a few years, so I had forgotten all the packages I had to add to get the Sun SAN package working correctly… There are many.

Happily, Sun has now packaged them in a nice “SAN_4.4.12_install_it.tar.Z”, which you can get from their website if you have a username. It installs everything for you in the right order.

The only thing left to do was another reboot -- -r and run cfgadm -c configure c3 to config the device. After this everything started working nicely.

Solaris X86 Compatible RAID Controller

Every time I have to spec a solution using Solaris, I always have to answer a bunch of questions in meetings about why Sun is so costly compared to Dell servers. Usually the reason for the higher price is not the servers (especially with X86 sun), but rather the storage. Since Sun does not offer a system with a RAID card, you always have to purchase a high-end disk enclosure that is capable of performing the RAID functions unless you want the performance degradation that comes with software RAID.

The good news is that there is finally a really nice PCI RAID card that works with Solaris! The bad news is that it only works with X86 Solaris, and Sun only goes so far as to say that it is”reported to work“.

Anyhow, no matter. Here is the deal:

According to Sun Big Admin, the Mylex Accelaraid 150 is reported to work with Solaris 9 04/04 to Solaris 10 03/05 (read Solaris 9 and 10 X86). The firmware and bios on the card needs to be: BIOS Version 4.10-50; Firmware 4.08-37.

Pity that there still does not seem to be a RAID controller that works with SPARC hardware. If someone would come up with that, it would make my life as a Solaris administrator a whole lot easier.

More Fun With DIY ROVs

Ever since I discovered the article about the $99 home made ROV, I’ve been all excited about building my own and using it to attach decent lines onto wrecks that are below 300 feet. In other words, wrecks that are deep enough to dive on technical scuba, but too deep to spend bottom time searching for. Since the $99 ROV does not have thrusters, I set out about finding a way to build some when I discovered Doug Jackson’s article about his adventures building this ROV named BOB. I have say, I really like his design! Not only does it use reasonably priced parts, but he’s been very clever in how he has used modified vintage Atari video game controllers and relays to drive the thing.

Here is a quick overview of what he has used:

  • Five, 500 gpm Johnson Bilge Pumps as thrusters. He got them for $10 each, but they now cost about $20 when you buy them from Boater’s World.
  • Atari vintage joysticks from eBay
  • PVC pipe, epoxy, wire ties, and Cat 5 cable from the local hardware store.
  • A 9V battery to power the relays
  • A 12V battery to power the pumps
  • An Atlantisâ„¢ Guide View Underwater Camera System
  • A television to serve as the monitor

Doug provides very detailed directions on how by constructed BOB, and even talks about how a person might modify the pumps to be fitted with propellers, thereby making the ROV more effective in areas of heavier current.

In BOB’s lake trial, it was tested to 60 feet and performed well. A neutrally buoyant tether cable was obtained by attaching 1 foot sections of foam pipe insulation every 6 to eight feet. Telling how close the ROV was to objects was apparently difficult, and Doug mentions that it either needs better lighting or lasers that cross 6 feet in front of the device might be of help.

Here are some direct links to areas of interest on Doug’s site:

Again, I really like Doug’s design. I think the most challenging improvements would be to increase the thrust by using propellers and to prevent the pumps from flooding under greater pressure. I’m also not sure about how one could manage the voltage drop over a longer tether cable. I don’t believe the design, as it is, can make it 400 feet down to the S.S. Tahoe, but I do see it making the dive with some HID light, tighter seals, and a little more thrust.

Problems with Ghost and Broadcom NetXtreme DOS drivers

I’ve been struggling to gather an image from our brand-spanking new Dell GX280’s using the Ghost Console, but I kept getting an error saying that “The DOS Network Adaptor Configuration Template is Corrupt…” after the machine initiated the reboot process and unjoined the domain. It turns out that the Broadcom NetXtreme card had some bugs, and are not compatible with the DOS driver versions included with Ghost. I found the following mention of the problem on the Symantec website:

The other NICs causing problems at the moment are the Broadcom NetXtreme (b57). Ghost 7.5 did not include any drivers for the Broadcom NICs, but Ghost 8.0/8.2 does. However, some new Broadcom NetXtreme NICs are not compatible with the DOS driver versions included with Ghost (v6.34 and v6.46). A new version has been released (v7.65), and is available here. Overwrite the b57.dos file in the Boot Wizard, or C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Symantec\Ghost\Templates – b57.dos. You can also check with Broadcom for the lastest NIC DOS drivers. 

Open the Ghost Boot Wizard, select the Network Boot Disk, find your NIC in the list, select Modify, and Browse to the new .DOS file. That’s generally all there is to it. You can also copy the .DOS file directly to the Templates folder listed above.

This is all well and good, but what you really need to do is the following:

  • Download the new Broadcom NetXtreme DOS drivers from here.
  • Launch the “Symantec Ghost Boot Wizard and select “Network Boot Disk”
  • Scroll down to Broadcom NetXtreme Family vX.X
  • Click “Modify” on the side
  • Next to “Filename” click “Browse” and navigate to the new b57.dos file and click “Open”
  • Exit out, and launch the “Ghost Console”

Now we have to update the “Driver Configuration Template” for the target machine.

  • Find the machine you wish to gather and double click on it
  • Click on the “Client” tab
  • Check “Use Manually Selected Template:”
  • Click “Browse” and select the newly updated driver template

The machine should now work normally when you go to gather the image using the Ghost Console.