Posts Tagged ‘multipath’

Multiple iSCSI interface on the same subnet

Friday, April 14th, 2017

As far as routing goes, it is a very bad idea to place multiple network interfaces with IPs of a single network (subnet). The routing table, which decides which interface to route the data through, reads the table line by line, thus – all traffic goes through a single interface of the batch (-> of the interfaces “living” on the same network). A common way of working around it is by using network teaming (Linux = bonding) to handle round-robin or active/passive of multiple interfaces on a single network, and that means that the interfaces are “bonded” into a single logical interface, which, then, has no routing issues whatsoever.

Having multiple network interfaces with IPs of the same network does not help with throughput, but does it increase redundancy? The simple answer is “no” – It does not. In Linux, when an interface is disconnected, it does not go down automatically (unlike Windows, for example), meaning that the routing table does not get updated with remaining interfaces. The traffic would still be targeted at that “dead” interface. Moreover – even if Linux did do that, this is a solution for a single type of a problem. What if someone changed the switch to have a different network VLAN on that particular (one of two or more) port? Link remains up, but communication doesn’t get anywhere.

These problems are more noticeable when the single network is an iSCSI network, and the system needs both multiple path access to the iSCSI storage, and redundancy becomes an issue, because iSCSI network is commonly – a critical network.

It is common to connect multiple iSCSI networks and not multiple ports on a single network, maintaining fabric-like separation of networks, and devices, where possible. However – this article will point at what to do if the network layout is not under your control and you need to place multiple network interfaces on the same physical network.

As mentioned before, the routing table will make sure that all your communication to that particular network go by the first routed network interface. However – the iSCSI daemon (open-iscsi) has the capability to bind to specific interfaces. To do so, you need to define an interface to iSCSI. Do so by running the command:

iscsiadm -m iface -I NIC_NAME –op=new

The name is user defined. I recommend using the same names used by the OS, like ‘eth5’ or ‘ib0’ or ‘eno1’ – to keep it simple. This is a declarative definition only. To actually bind the ‘iface’ to the real interface device, you need to run the following command:

iscsiadm -m iface -I NIC_NAME  –op=update -n iface.hwaddress -v 00:AA:BB:CC:DD:EE

Use the real interface MAC address. Then you can discover and login to targets with the defined interfaces only:

iscsiadm -m discovery -t st -p TARGET_IP -I NIC1 -I NIC2

iscsiadm -m node -L all -I NIC1 -I NIC2

According to the documentations, this will require setting the sysctl net.ipv4.conf.default.rp_filter to 0.

This should do the trick, so now multipathing should show the right amount of paths.

Hot resize Multipath Disk – Linux

Friday, August 19th, 2011

This post is for the users of the great dm-multipath system in Linux, who encounter a major availability problem when attempting a resize of mpath devices (and their partitions), and find themselves scheduling a reboot.

This documented is based on a document created by IBM called "Hot Resize Multipath Storage Volume on Linux with SVC", and its contents are good for any other storage. However - it does not cover the procedure required in case of a partition on the mpath device (for example - mpath1p1 device).

I will demonstrate with only two paths, but, with understanding this process, it can be well used for any amount of paths for a device.

I do not explain how to reduce a LUN size, but the apt viewer will be able to generate a method out of this document. I, for myself, try to avoid as much as I can from shrinking LUNs. I prefer backup, LUN recreation, and then restore. In many case - it's just faster.

So - back to our topic - first - increase the size of your LUN on the storage.

Now, you need to collect the paths used for your mpath device. Check this example:

mpath1 (360a980005033644b424a6276516c4251) dm-2 NETAPP,LUN
[size=200G][features=1 queue_if_no_path][hwhandler=0][rw]
_ round-robin 0 [prio=4][active]
_ 2:0:0:0 sdc 8:32  [active][ready]
_ round-robin 0 [prio=1][enabled]
_ 1:0:0:0 sdb 8:16  [active][ready]

The devices marked in bold are the ones we will need to change. Lets get their current size:

blockdev --getsz /dev/sdb

Keep this number somewhere safe. We can (and should!) assume that sdc has the same values, otherwise, this is not the same exact path.

Collect this info for the partition as well. It will be smaller by a tiny bit:

blockdev --getsz /dev/sdb1

Keep this number as well.

Now we need to reread the current (storage-based) size parameters of the devices. We will run

blockdev --rereadpt /dev/sdb
blockdev --rereadpt /dev/sdc

Now, our size will be slightly different:

blockdev --getsz /dev/sdb

Of course, the partition size will not change. We will deal with it later. Keep the updated values as well. Of course, the multipath still holds the disks with their original size values, so running 'multipath -ll' will not reveal any size change. Not yet.

We now need to create editable dmsetup map. Use the current command to create two files: cur and org containing this map:

dmsetup table mpath1 | tee org cur
0 419424892 multipath 1 queue_if_no_path 0 2 1 round-robin 0 1 1 8:32 128 round-robin 0 1 1 8:16 128

Important part - explaining some of these values. The map shows the device's size in blocks - 419424892. It shows some parameters, it shows path groups info (0 2 1), and both sub devices - sdc being 8:32 and sdb being 8:16. Try it with 'ls -la /dev/sdb' to see the minor and major. At this point, if you are not familiar with majors and minors, I would recommend you do some reading about it. Not mandatory, but will make your life here safer.

We need to delete one of the paths, so we can refresh it. I have decided to remove sdb first:

multipathd -k"del path sdb"

Now, running the multipath command, we will get:

mpath1 (360a980005033644b424a6276516c4251) dm-2 NETAPP,LUN
[size=200G][features=1 queue_if_no_path][hwhandler=0][rw]
_ round-robin 0 [prio=4][active]
_ 2:0:0:0 sdc 8:32  [active][ready]

Only one path. Good. We will need to edit the 'cur' file created earlier to reflect the new settings we are to introduce:

0 419424892 multipath 1 queue_if_no_path 0 1 1 round-robin 0 1 1 8:32 128

The only group left was the one containing 'sdc' (8:32), and since one group down, the bold number was changed from 2 to 1 (as there is only a single path group now!)

We need to reload multipath with these settings:

dmsetup suspend mpath1; dmsetup reload mpath1 cur; dmsetup resume mpath1

The correct response for this line is 'ok'. We pause mpath1, reload and then resume it. It is best to be in a single line, as this process freezes IO for a short period of time on the device, and we prefer it to be as short as possible.

Now, as /dev/sdb is not a part of the multipath managed devices, we can modify it. I usually use 'fdisk' - deleting the old partition, and recreating it in the new size, but you must make sure, if your device requires LUN alignment, that you recreated the partition from the same start point. I will dedicate a post some time to LUN alignment, but not at this particular time. Just a hint - if you're not sure, run fdisk in expert mode and get a printout of your partition table (fdisk /dev/sdb and then x and then p). If your partition starts at 128 or 64, it is aligned. If not (usually for large LUNs - at 63), you are not, and you should either be worried about it, but not now, or should not care at all.

Back to our task.

We need to grab the size of the newly created partition, for later use. Write it down somewhere.

blockdev --getsz /dev/sdb1

Following the partition recreation, we need to introduce the device to the multipath daemon. We do this by:

multipathd -k"add path sdb"

followed by immediately removing the remaining device:

multipathd -k"del path sdc"

We need to have our 'cur' file updated, so we can release the device to our uses. This time, we update both the size section with the new size, and the new, remaining path. Now, the file looks like this:

0 734003200 multipath 1 queue_if_no_path 0 1 1 round-robin 0 1 1 8:16 128

As mentioned before - the large number in bold is the new size of the block device. The amount of failure groups is one (1), also in bold, and the device name is 'sdb' which is 8:16. Save this modified file, and run:

dmsetup suspend mpath1; dmsetup reload mpath1 cur; dmsetup resume mpath1

Running the command 'multipath -ll' you will get the real size of the device.

mpath1 (360a980005033644b424a6276516c4251) dm-2 NETAPP,LUN
[size=350G][features=1 queue_if_no_path][hwhandler=0][rw]
_ round-robin 0 [prio=1][active]
_ 1:0:0:0 sdb 8:16  [active][ready]

We will need to reread the partition layout of /dev/sdc. The quickest way is by running:


This should do it. We can now add it back in:

multipathd -k"add path sdc"

and then run


(which should result in all the available paths, and the correct size).

Our last task is to update the partition size. The partition, normally, is called mpath1p1, so we need to read its parameters. Lets keep it in a file:

dmsetup table mpath1p1 | tee partorg partcur

We should now edit the newly created file 'partcur' with the new size. You should not change anything else. Originally, it looked like this:

0 419424892 linear 253:2 128

and it was modified to look like this:

0 733993657 linear 253:2 128

Notice that the size (in bold) is the one obtained from /dev/sdb1 (!!!) and not /dev/sdb.

We need to reload the device. Again - attempt to do it in a single line, or else you will freeze IO for a long time (which might cause things to crush):

dmsetup suspend mpath1p1; dmsetup reload mpath1p1 partcur; dmsetup resume mpath1p1

Do not mistaked mpath1 with mpath1p1.

Our device is updated, our paths are online. We are happy. All left to do is to online resize the file system. With ext3, this is done like this:

resize2fs /dev/mapper/mpath1p1

The mount will increase in size online, and all left for us is to wait for it to complete, and then go home.

I hope this helps. It helped me.

iSCSI persistent configurations agains us all

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Using iSCSI with dm-multipath is rather common setup. With iSCSI running over Ethernet cables, which are too easy to disconnect (either on purpose or by mistake), being cheap and common technology – multipath becomes a must. If you have multiple network links, this is only expected that you use multipath for your iSCSI configuration. It’s cheap, it’s easy and it works.

This, however, comes with a price tag. Not money – the components are cheap and common, but there are configuration acts which should take place.

It is easy to find info either in the open-iscsi documentations, the Internet, whatever, and I will go over them just below, but there are some catches which one should be aware of.

Per the common documentation, unlike regular iSCSI communication, when dealing with multipath, you would like iSCSI to fail rather quickly and let the SCSI layer handle the errors, thus letting dm-multipath handle the errors and do its work.

The configuration directives are rather simple. In the iscsid.conf file (on RHEL5 located in /etc/iscsi/iscsid.conf ), you need to change the value

node.session.timeo.replacement_timeout =

To a very short period of time. By default, it is set to 120 seconds, which are two minutes before anyone will notify the SCSI subsystem of any disk IO errors. A good value would be 5 seconds, which should allow for very short network disconnection (which could happen) and still – let the dm-multipath manage errors fast enough so that applications would not fail on disk timeouts.

Another two parameters which should be defined are the following (read the comments above them in the config file):

node.conn[0].timeo.noop_out_interval =
node.conn[0].timeo.noop_out_timeout =

These values control the interval in which the iSCSI layer tests communication to the targets.

Also, in multipath.conf you will need to set the following feature, so that IOPs will not be lost:

features		"1 queue_if_no_path"

These configuration directives can be found in these two pages from RedHat:



This is nice and pretty. However, if you have failed to do so at start, and defined your iSCSI targets based on the default configurations, you will notice that it still takes very long for iSCSI to notify the SCSI subsystem of the errors. You could check the values used by iSCSI through running the command:

iscsiadm -m node -T <target name>

Check out especially the line called node.session.timeo.replacement_timeout. Its value is the one which decides the actual behavior of iSCSI.

To change it, there are several methods. One of them is to clean up the iSCSI persistent configurations, located in /var/lib/iscsi and then re-login to the iSCSI targets. Only then you will have the new target configuration.

Check again with iscsiadm as described above, and check that this value matches.

dm-multipath and loss of all paths

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

dm-multipath is a great tool. Its abilities were proven to me on many occasions, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. NetApp, for example, use it. HP use it as well (a slightly modified version, and still), and it works.

A problem I have encountered is as follow – if a single path fails, the device-mapper continue to work correctly (as expected) and the remaining path becomes active. However – if the last link fails, all processes which require disk access become stale. It means that many tests which search for a given process pass correctly even when this process becomes stale through delayed (forever) access to the filesystem. Also – tests which attempt to write/read a file to/from such a stale filesystem, become stale themselves, which can bring down an entire system (assume we have a cron which creates a file every minute. Every new process becomes stale immediately, so after an hour, we’ll have 60 more processes, and after a day – 1440 additional processes – all stale (D) and waiting for the disk to come back).

Certain detection systems actually fail to auto-detect cases of stale filesystems when using dm-multipath. This is caused by a (default) option called “1 queue_if_no_path”. I discovered that when this option is omitted, such as in the configuration below (only the “device” section):

vendor “NETAPP”
product “LUN”
getuid_callout “/sbin/scsi_id -g -u -s /block/%n”
prio_callout “/sbin/mpath_prio_ontap /dev/%n”
# features “1 queue_if_no_path”
hardware_handler “0”
path_grouping_policy group_by_prio
failback immediate
rr_weight uniform
rr_min_io 128
path_checker readsector0

multiple disk failures will actually result in the filesystem layout reporting I/O errors (which is good). A disk mounted through these options can be mounted with special parameters, such as (for ext2/3): errors=continue ; errors=read-only or errors=panic – my favorite, as it ensured data integrity through self-fencing mechanism.

HP-UX – allowed shells, and connecting FC Multipath to NetApp

Thursday, August 10th, 2006

When adding a certain shell to an HP-UX system, for example, /usr/bin/tcsh, each user set to use this shell will not be able to FTP to the machine, until there is entry in /etc/shells. The trick is that even if the file doesn’t exist, you have to create it. By default, HP-UX allows only /sbin/sh and /bin/sh shells, but as soon as you setup this file, you can allow more shells. Mind you that you have to include /sbin/sh and /bin/sh in /etc/shells, else other things might not work correctly. Taken from here.

Connecting HP-UX to SAN storage is never too simple. The actual list of actions is:

1. Install HP-UX drivers for the FC adapter

2. Map the PWWN obtained from (reading the sticker at the back of the machine, or querying the storage/SAN switch) the machine to the relevant LUNs.

3. Run “/usr/sbin/ioscan -fnC disk” and see that the new disk devices are detected.

4. Run “/usr/sbin/ioinit -i” to create the relevant device files.

A note – HP-UX might require a reboot after the initial connection. On several cases I’ve noticed that if the server was running for a while with disconnected fiber, only being connected during before startup would result in link and in SAN registration. Of course, the driver must be installed then.

If you are to connect your HP-UX to NetApp device, as we did, take a day (or more) notice and open “now” account in You can find documentation about HP-UX (including step-by-step), you can find the “SAN Attach Kit for HP-UX” which will make your life easier, and set of best-practice guides. Just follow these guides, and you will find it easy and simple task to do.