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GBIC Problem

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GBIC Problem

Dear Forum Members,

We just got a VA7100 array and I'm following the checklist in the installation guide. I'm on Step 6, having just powered on the array. I have a windows PC connected via the null-modem cable for low-level tasks, and the array won't go to the 'Ready' status. It goes to a prompt that reads 'Warning Status'.

When I do a dsp -s, I see a whole bunch of status information, followed by 'GBIC problem'.

What does that mean? I searched the forums and documentation, and can't find any reference to that specific warning. The installation guide says that if the status is not 'Ready', to reset the array, format the array, then do a dsp -s and contact support for assistance. I've done all those, except contacting support for assistance, which I will do if no one here has seen this error before.

Thanks!
11 REPLIES
Uwe Zessin
Honored Contributor

Re: GBIC Problem

John,
GBIC is for 'GigaBit Interface Converter'. That is the small module that converts the optical signal to electrical (and the other way, of course). You could first try to swap GBICs if you have a spare one.
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Re: GBIC Problem

Thanks, Uwe,

I don't have a spare one, but I removed both of them, and the array went to 'Ready' status and I was able to continue the activities I needed to do at that level. However, it sounds like I might have a problem with either (or both) of them.

Two questions about GBICs -- is there any way for me to test them to see if they're bad? We plan to use the array on an HP3000 MPE/iX box. Do you know if different hosts require different GBIC types or if GBICs are all the same?

It sounds like I may have to open a case with HP.
Uwe Zessin
Honored Contributor

Re: GBIC Problem

There are GBICs with short-wave lasers and long-wave lasers. The first ones are usually used between end-nodes and hubs/switches together with multi-mode cables (50 or, for old installations 62.5 micrometers core diameter). The long-wave ones are used together with mono-mode cables (9 micro) for extended distances - they are typically not found on end-nodes like storage arrays and servers. The type should be written on the GBIC.
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Re: GBIC Problem

Thanks Uwe,

The GBIC shows it's a Multi-Mode 850nm unit. There is no HP part number on it, but I was able to find the parts on partsurfer.hp.com by searching for the array as a whole. I guess my next step is to put them back in the array one at a time to see if they both give the warning message, or only one does. From that information, I'll probably call HP.
Uwe Zessin
Honored Contributor

Re: GBIC Problem

John,
that's the way I would do it as well - let us know how it went. We all love to hear about stories that ended well.

850 nanometers, in case you didn't know, but are interested in, is the wavelength of the light that the laser uses.
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Re: GBIC Problem

Thanks for the info Uwe,

I understood, after looking at it, that the 850nm was the wavelength. I was surprised by the size of the GBIC -- I didn't realize the laser technology was so compact. A whole new world for me.

I just tried swapping the GBICs between the two controllers, and got the 'GBIC Problem' warning each time. I was just wondering, since we don't have the array hooked up to any host yet, could the GBICs be registering a problem because they're not connected to anything?
Uwe Zessin
Honored Contributor

Re: GBIC Problem

Well, a GBIC is even large by today's standards.
http://partsurfer.hp.com/cgi-bin/spi/showphoto?partnumber=234458-001

The next step is the SFP for 2 GigaBit speed:
http://partsurfer.hp.com/cgi-bin/spi/showphoto?partnumber=229204-001

It is an amazing technology, indeed.


I only have the output from a VA7410 and it just says 'Link State: down' when no cable is connected, but I cannot tell for the VA7100, sorry.

If the host ports are configured for fibre channel arbitrated loop (FC_AL or Private Loop topology) you could connect both host ports together with a cable to see if a link comes up. Make sure the ports have different Loop-IDs.
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Re: GBIC Problem

Thanks for the photo links, Uwe, it is an amazing technology.

Unfortunately, I can't connect a cable to both controllers, as the only cables I have are the ones to go to the FC adapter card, and the ends are different.

We have an HP field engineer coming onsite today for a visit, so I'll ask him what's the best way to proceed. I'll post back what I find out.

One final question -- we're going to connect this array directly to adapter cards in a host, no hubs, bridges, or switches between the host and array. What topology do I want? Private Loop, Public Loop, or Direct Fibre attach?
Uwe Zessin
Honored Contributor

Re: GBIC Problem

You want private loop.

Private Loop means that the device only uses an 8-bit address (the AL_PA) to talk to other devices in a loop or on a direct link.

Public Loop means that the device can share the switch port with other devices in the same loop, but the switch will assign a 16-bit Loop-address. The device adds this to its 8-bit AL_PA to form a full 24-bit FC address, so that it can 'break out of the loop' and talk to other devices in the fabric, too.

Direct Fabric Attach means a direct link to a port on a fibre channel fabric switch. The device will work with a 24-bit FC addresse it receives from the switch.
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Re: GBIC Problem

Thanks, Uwe!

I just verified that it is set to private loop on both controllers. I then did a full reset just to make sure it boots that way. It does.

I'll post back after I talk to our field engineer.
kris rombauts
Honored Contributor
Solution

Re: GBIC Problem

John,

when their is no cable connected ,the VA71xx will post a warning for the GBIC. The array F/W is not able to determine if this is a GBIC problem or a link problem external to the array.

As you experienced, once the GBIC is removed the message goes away, this is normal behavior and by design.

Your GBIC's itself won't have an issue if this is the only condition under which you see this error.

just fyi

HTH

Kris