Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Fun with a Sun

One of the joys of working in I.T. is the sheer variety of tasks that can await you.

Today I've had the pleasure (ahem) of dealing with a disk upgrade on a Sun A1000 raid controller, connected to a Sun Ultra 60 running Solaris 8.

On paper the job is straight-forward. Simply add the new disks into the array, use them as a raid 5 set, configure a new partition in the new container and adjust the vfstab to mount the new partition at the correct point on the system.

Easy, no?

Stage 1 was started last night. To check how our raid was currently set up we went to check the Raid Array Manager software that comes with the A1000. Not installed. How about disksuite them? Nope. Not installed either.

We couldn't locate the Solaris 8 install CDs but found the Raid Array Manager install CDs so we installed that, and as per the instructions halted and re-booted using "boot -r". And heres where the fun begins.

Now it couldn't see the existing partitions on the Raid, even though the Raid Array Manger showed that the Raid was connected and that the individual drives were healthy.

If you ever find yourself in the situation where you need to see what SCSI devices are attached to your Sun box then this might help.

After halting your box (so you are left at the "ok" prompt) do the following:

setenv auto-boot? false
setenv auto-boot? true

Depending on the circumstances you may need to do "boot -r" instead of just "boot". The difference is that "boot -r" will detect and re-create device nodes as needed.

After a bit of investigation (thank you Google) I removed the Raid Array Manager software, at which point "boot -r" rediscovered the existing partitons. For some reason though it has re-named the device nodes for the RAID disks so I still had to edit the vfstab (after creating a backup of the old one just-in-case) before the server would boot again correctly.

So the alternative is to locate the Solaris 8 media and install DiskManager.

I can see why my colleague had trouble locating the disks. In the end I found them in an un-marked cardboard box, on top of a disused filing cabinet, right at the back of our software store-room.

Disksuite is now installed and the partitions are still visible, so we are now ready to try putting in those new disks. . . . .

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