HP MSA1510i with ESX3i switching controllers

Experimenting with ESX3i running on an IBM server with MSA1510i iSCSI.  The MSA has two controllers, one active, one passive.  The controllers have been switching unannounced from one to the other leaving the ESX system without connection to the virtual machines.  Now the controllers ahve experienced no problem that I can identify; and why ESX loses comnection is not understood.
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andyalderConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I just checked and capitals aren't valid in an iqn. Google iqn and "lower case".
davismisbehavisConnect With a Mentor Commented:
ESX comes with it's own multipathing software,  worth checking what you have this setup as.  Can't imagine it would cause the problem but you never know.

Seeing as you are using the MSA 1510i,  I'm presuming it's an ISCSI connection.  Ensure that the switch ports and the ISCSI NIC port in your ESX have the same speed and duplex settings.  I'm presuming it's 1GB Ethernet as well,  recently did some experimentation with iSCSI and 100MB Ethernet with really bad results.

The other thing to maybe look at is to ensure that if you have Cisco swithces that portfast is enabled,  this cuts down on Spanning Tree Protocol events which can take a network port out of action for 30 seconds + this can sometimes appear like a link failure to an ESX box and could be the reason for false positive failovers.

Paul SolovyovskyConnect With a Mentor Senior IT AdvisorCommented:
When I installed a few of these last year the MSA 1510i didn't support multipathing with both controllers.  They were going to upgrade the firmware, you may want to see if they have it available.  The last one I used was version 1.32, make sure you're using a newer once.
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andyalderConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I think that's still true paulsolov, single controller model is all that is supported according to www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/detail.php?device_cat=san&device_id=1370
Paul SolovyovskyConnect With a Mentor Senior IT AdvisorCommented:
that's what I thought..

1. Single Controller only.
2. Support for Windows guest operating system only.
3. iSCSI software initiator SP failover is not supported.

Only thing I can think of is an iSCSI HBA, but I would check with HP first
jbriley3Author Commented:
Thanks for the suggestioons.  I'm thinking of deactivatimng one of the controllers and see how it goes.  Will get back to you all.
Paul SolovyovskyConnect With a Mentor Senior IT AdvisorCommented:
Just an FYI that cost me a week worth of troubleshooting on this model.  When configuring hostnames on the ESX hosts do not use capital letters, the MSA1510i will not interpret the iqn correctly and will not connect at all.  After spending a week with HP/VMWare I wish they had a technote on it.
jbriley3Author Commented:
Thanks.  Hadn't hung up on that yet.
andyalderConnect With a Mentor Commented:
snip-snip from somewhere private...
Name Vendor Family Controller Firmware Host Mode
HP StorageWorks 1510i
Modular Smart Array Single
Controller Only
HP MSA MSA1510i 2.00 Build 803 VMware
General Disk Array (1) Notes:
Supported Drive Shelves:
MSA30 (Ultra320): Firmware ver. CP20
4314 (Ultra3): Firmware ver. JB4G or later
MSA20 (SATA): Firmware ver. 1.52

(plus windows only - nothing about capital letters though)
jbriley3Author Commented:
Thanks for all the useful input.  You guys should consult for HP.  They have seemed incapable of correcting MSA problems.

Have to do some checking.  But the tip that the MSA only wants one controller is especially useful.  Going to have the MSA reconfigured to stop fail over.  Maybe disable one controller and use it when the active controller fails, which seems to be too often.  Will get back to assign points in a week or two.

Will attach a show tech_support file for each controller.

Thanks again.
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