In Unisphere for PowerMax 9.1 release we have increased the integration with PowerPath.  With a new PowerMax array with a FX/Pro license (premium) you are entitled up to 75 host licenses. PP will now automatically acquire the FX license from the array for all OSes supported by PowerPath 6.3 and later. The license will appear as “FX” in Unisphere, PowerPath Management Appliance (PPMA) and the array.

 

With over 25 years of engineering and development behind it PowerPath is a family of multipathing software products that automate and optimize I/O performance in physical and virtual environments. PowerPath intelligently manages I/O path loads and failover to increase application availability and reduce latency. Proprietary optimization for Dell EMC PowerMax and VMAX increases I/O performance 2X - £3X over native multipathing.

 

We have heard from customers they want to see more integration with our existing software products in order to help their ongoing automation drive and provide enhanced troubleshooting capabilities from our side.

 

Flaky Path Reporting

The isolation of a flaky path can be a lengthy manual process, therefore PowerPath has been identifying paths as Flaky for years and reporting them in PowerPath GUI. Starting with PowerPath 6.5 – the Flaky path reporting will be sent and saved on the array. The array stores the HBA/WWN/FA Port, Host details and the timestamp in order to monitor the status of the path.

 

Every 24 hours, PP re-tests to see if the previously reported flaky path is still having issues. Then if the array is notified within 25 hours that the flaky path is still problematic the array dials home with the appropriate error code.

 

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Now let’s look at Unisphere to see how its reported. In the example above we have two initiators on the same physical host connecting to the same FA port through the same switch on Fabric A.

 

With multiple physical HBAs reporting the issue against the same FA port, and with the H/W lab having checked the array side of the fabric and rule it out - the customer may choose to look at the switch port that FA 1d:30 connects to in order to find the root cause of the reported flaky path problem.

 

Oracle Instance Name


The objective of this feature is to allow users to identify which PP devices are being used to store Oracle data and log files and they can then use this device list to create consistent or recovery snapshots of the database. Here we can see from the Oracle side the instance name “testdb”

 

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Now in Solutions Enabler you can track the Oracle instance name in a symdev list command with the command structure outlined.

 

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In Unisphere for PowerMax you can track the Oracle instance name in the storage group>volume view.

 

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Path Redundancy Verification Oracle Instance Name


This is a really useful feature which will allow customers to validate that 2 or more paths exist from a device to a host in that it will allow you to display multiple HBAs, multiple Fabrics/multiple switches within a fabric, multiple FA ports.

On an initial view at the cli output below, a customer may determine that they have no single point of failure in their setup below which has paths to 2 different FA’s over 2 different HBA’s.

 

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However, when looking at the Masking View Path Details screen, we can see that while the paths are across two different switches (FCID 0x21100 and 0x29900), both of these switches are actually on the same fabric as indicated by the Fabric column on the right-hand side of the screen.  Therefore, the screen below shows the fabric as the single point of failure.

 

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Symppath command


The symppath executable is a new SYMCLI command included with the SE 9.1 release and was created to support future expansion of SE related PP commands.

 

Previously symcfg was used to turn on/off PP related functionality.  This functionality still exists in the symcfg command for SE 9.1. To find out more just run symppath -h from the command line.

 

I hope you found these use cases helpful and if you have any questions please let me know. We plan to keep enhancing PowerPath functionality in the future and build tighter integration with our management software.

 

I would like to thank some learned PowerPath colleagues in preparing this, Owen Crowley in QE and Eric Don in Engineering.