Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Because It's There

One of my favorite things about Lumenate is that we have a lab where we can test out new technology, stage for customer engagements, and perhaps most importantly indulge our inner geek impulse to try ill-advised stuff.

This story does not begin, though, with the ill-advised stuff. Instead it begins with fully supported stuff. As we bring new folks into the fold the lab is a key resource for teaching them - before they go to class they can kick the tires on zoning, mapping storage, virtualizing storage, etc.

And so the plan was to show one of the new folks how to virtualize an AMS2100 behind a USP-VM. Easy as pie, it should work like a hose, let me show you this quick virtualization demo. Except it didn't work. Instead of popping up with "HITACHI" for the Vendor, and "AMS" for the Product Name we got the dreaded "OTHER" "OTHER." That's not exactly the demo we were hoping for.

We double-checked everything and still no luck. Well, maybe it's the release of code on the AMS, let's upgrade that. Nope. Hmm, how about the code on the USP-VM. Nope. Eventually we went back and noticed that someone (who for the purposes of this blog shall remain nameless) changed the Product Id on the AMS from the default, which is "DF600F" to "AMS2100". Changing it back fixed the problem.

After basking in the success of accomplishing something that would normally take just a few minutes, we thought to ourselves, "Hmm, what else have we got that we could virtualize?" And because it's a lab, and because there are no repercussions (and because Justin loves him some ZFS) we decided to virtualize a Sun X4500, or "Thumper".

I won't cover the steps for setting up an OpenSolaris box as a storage server, since it's well documented under COMSTAR Administration on the Sun wiki. But basically we followed the documented steps and presented the LUNs up to the USP-VM. And, as you'd expect, got "OTHER" "OTHER" for our trouble.

And that's where the "Bad Idea" tag comes in. You see, it's possible to load profiles for new arrays into Universal Volume manager. We took the profile for a Sun 6780, modified it to match the COMSTAR information, and loaded it up, to get this:

After that, it virtualized without issue and we presented it up to a Solaris server to do some basic dd's against it. As far as the host knew, it was just another LUN from the USP-VM.

Of course this is just one way to do it. After a little more thought maybe you could recompile parts of OpenSolaris (like this one, for instance) and have the OpenSolaris server tell the USP-V that it's something else entirely. We'll leave that as an exercise for the reader, though.

Let me reiterate: This is a Really Bad Idea for a production array because it's not supported (or supportable).



  1. Very cool! Good to see you back in the saddle Chadwick!

  2. Good to be back in the saddle. You need to start a blog (or get more detailed on you exploits on Facebook)!

  3. How about you add me to this blog and i'll give a "customer perspective" blog entries. :-)