Posts Tagged ‘JBOD’

Connecting EMC/NetApp shelves as JBOD to a Linux machine

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Let’s say you have old shelves of either EMC or NetApp with SAS or SATA disks in them. And let’s say you want to connect them via FC to a Linux machine and have some nice ZFS machine/cluster, or whatever else. There are few things to know, and to attend in order for it to work.

The first one is the sector size. For NetApp – this applies only to non SATA disks (I don’t know about SSDs, though), and for EMC this could apply, as far as I noticed, to all disks – sector size is not 512 bytes, but 520 – the additional 8 bytes are used for block checksum. Linux does not handle well 520 blocks – the following error message will appear in the logs:

Unsupported sector size 520.

To solve it, we will need to identify the disks – using sg3_utils (in Centos-like – yum install sg3_utils) and then modify them to block size of 512 bytes. To identify the disks, run:

sg_scan -i
/dev/sg0: scsi0 channel=3 id=0 lun=0
HP P410i 3.66 [rmb=0 cmdq=1 pqual=0 pdev=0xc]
/dev/sg1: scsi0 channel=0 id=0 lun=0
HP LOGICAL VOLUME 3.66 [rmb=0 cmdq=1 pqual=0 pdev=0x0]
/dev/sg2: scsi3 channel=0 id=0 lun=0 [em]
hp DVD A DS8A5LH 1HE3 [rmb=1 cmdq=0 pqual=0 pdev=0x5]
/dev/sg3: scsi1 channel=0 id=0 lun=0
SEAGATE SX3500071FC DA04 [rmb=0 cmdq=1 pqual=0 pdev=0x0]
/dev/sg4: scsi1 channel=0 id=1 lun=0
SEAGATE SX3500071FC DA04 [rmb=0 cmdq=1 pqual=0 pdev=0x0]
/dev/sg5: scsi1 channel=0 id=2 lun=0
SEAGATE SX3500071FC DA04 [rmb=0 cmdq=1 pqual=0 pdev=0x0]
/dev/sg6: scsi1 channel=0 id=3 lun=0
SEAGATE SX3500071FC DA04 [rmb=0 cmdq=1 pqual=0 pdev=0x0]
/dev/sg7: scsi1 channel=0 id=4 lun=0
SEAGATE SX3500071FC DA04 [rmb=0 cmdq=1 pqual=0 pdev=0x0]
/dev/sg8: scsi1 channel=0 id=5 lun=0
SEAGATE SX3500071FC DA04 [rmb=0 cmdq=1 pqual=0 pdev=0x0]
/dev/sg9: scsi1 channel=0 id=6 lun=0
SEAGATE SX3500071FC DA04 [rmb=0 cmdq=1 pqual=0 pdev=0x0]
/dev/sg10: scsi1 channel=0 id=7 lun=0
SEAGATE SX3500071FC DA04 [rmb=0 cmdq=1 pqual=0 pdev=0x0]
/dev/sg11: scsi1 channel=0 id=8 lun=0
FUJITSU MXW3300FE 0906 [rmb=0 cmdq=1 pqual=0 pdev=0x0]
/dev/sg12: scsi1 channel=0 id=9 lun=0
FUJITSU MXW3300FE 0906 [rmb=0 cmdq=1 pqual=0 pdev=0x0]
/dev/sg13: scsi1 channel=0 id=10 lun=0
SEAGATE SX3300007FC D41B [rmb=0 cmdq=1 pqual=0 pdev=0x0]
/dev/sg14: scsi1 channel=0 id=11 lun=0
SEAGATE SX3300007FC D41B [rmb=0 cmdq=1 pqual=0 pdev=0x0]
/dev/sg15: scsi1 channel=0 id=12 lun=0
SEAGATE SX3300007FC D41B [rmb=0 cmdq=1 pqual=0 pdev=0x0]
/dev/sg16: scsi1 channel=0 id=13 lun=0
SEAGATE SX3300007FC D41B [rmb=0 cmdq=1 pqual=0 pdev=0x0]
/dev/sg17: scsi1 channel=0 id=14 lun=0
SEAGATE SX3300007FC D41B [rmb=0 cmdq=1 pqual=0 pdev=0x0]

So, for each sg device (member of our batch of disks) we need to modify the sector size.

Two ways to do so – the first suggested by this post here, is by using sg_format in the following manner:

sg_format –format –size=512 /dev/sg2

Another post suggested using a dedicated program called ‘setblocksize’. I followed this one, and it worked fine. I had to power cycle the disks before the Linux could use them.

I did notice that disk performance were not bright. I got about 45MB/s write, and about 65-70 MB/s read for large sequential operations, using something like:

dd bs=1M if=/dev/sdf of=/dev/null bs=1M count=10000
dd bs=1M if=/dev/null of=/dev/sdf oflag=direct count=10000 # WARNING – this writes on the disk. Do not use for disks with data!

Fairly disappointing. Also, using multipath, when the shelf is connected to one FC port, and then back to another, showed me that with the setting:

path_grouping_policy multibus

I got about 10MB/s less compared to using “failover” flag (the default for Centos 6). Whatever modification I did to the multipathd.conf, I was unable to exceed this number when using multiple access. These results were consistent when using multibus or group_by_serial, however, when a single path was active and the other was passive, It clearly showed better. I did modify rr_min_io and rr_min_io_rq, but with no effect.

The low disk performance could suggest I need to flush the original disk firmware, however, I am not sure I will do so. If anyone is reading this and had different results – I would love to hear about it.