Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Host to Clariion Configurations

Here we are looking at only three possible ways in which a host can be attached to a Clariion. From talking with customers in class, these seem to be the three most common ways in which the hosts are attached.

The key points to the slide are:
1. The LUN, the disk space that is created on the Clariion, that will eventually be assigned to the host, is owned by one of the Storage Processors, not both.
2. The host needs to be physically connected via fibre, either directly attached, or through a switch.


In Configuration One, we see a host that has a single Host Bus Adapter (HBA), attached to a single switch. From the Switch, the cables run once to SP A, and once to SP B. The reason this host is zoned and cabled to both SPs is in the event of a LUN trespass. In Configuration One, if SP A would go down, reboot, etc...the LUN would trespass to SP B. Because the host is cabled and zoned to SP B, the host would still have access to the LUN via SP B. The problem with this configuration is the list of Single Point(s) of Failure. In the event that you would lose the HBA, the Switch, or a connection between the HBA and the Switch (the fibre, GBIC on the switch, etc...), you lose access to the Clariion, thereby losing access to your LUNs.


In Configuration Two, we have a host with two Host Bus Adapters. HBA1 is attached to a switch, and from there, the host is zoned and cabled to SP B. HBA2 is attached to a separate switch, and from there , the host is zoned and cabled to SP A. The path from HBA2 to SP A, is shown as the "Active Path" because that is the path data will leave the host from to get to the LUN, as it is owned by SP A. The path from HBA1 to SP B, is shown as the "Standby Path" because the LUN doesn't belong to SP B. The only time that the host would use the "Standby Path" is in the event of a LUN Trespass. The advantage of using Configuration Two over Configuration One, is that there is no single point of failure.

Now, let's say we install PowerPath on the host. With PowerPath, the host has the potential to do two things. First, it allows the host to initiate the Trespass of the LUN. With PowerPath on the host, if there is a path failure (HBA gone bad, switch down, etc...), the host will issue the trespass command to the SPs, and the SPs will move the LUN, temporarily, from SP A to SP B. The second advantage of PowerPath on a host, is that it allows the host to 'Load Balance' data from the host. Again, this has nothing to do with load balancing the Clariion SPs. We will get there later. However, in Configuration Two, we only have one connection from the host to SP A. This is the only path the host has and will use to move data for this LUN.


In Configuration Three, hardware wise, we have the same as Configuration Two. However, notice that we have a few more cables running from the switches to the Storage Processors. HBA1 is into the switch and zoned and cabled to SP A and SP B. HBA2 is into the switch and zoned and cabled to SP A and SP B. What this does now is to give HBA1 and HBA2 an 'Active Path' to SP A, and HBA1 and HBA2, 'Standby Paths' to SP B. Because of this, the Host now can route data down each active path to the Clariion, allowing the host "Load Balancing" capabilities. Also, the only time a LUN should trespass from one SP to another is if there is a Storage Processor failure. If the host were to lose HBA1, it still has HBA2 with an active path to the Clariion. The same goes for a switch failure and connection failure.


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