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MSA1510i and Windows 2003 R2 MSCS Cluster

Lyndon Handy
Frequent Advisor

MSA1510i and Windows 2003 R2 MSCS Cluster

1. Does anyone have an ETA when MSCS clusters will be supported with the MSA1510i (w/ iSCSI)?

2. As many of us know, MSCS clustering will work in this environment but what are the best practices to prevent any issues? Are there known pitfalls, risks? How to avoid these?

For instance I have in place:
- 2x DL380G5 servers
- W2K3 R2 SP2 64-bit
- MSA1510i 2 controllers, dual GigE ethernet modules, w/ single storage enclosure
- 2x Procurve 2900 GigE switches (for separate iSCSI paths). Separate isolated physical iscsi LANs not on production LAN)
- each server has dual port NC380T NIC, one port per iSCSI path
- MS iSCSI initiator, HP MPIO

MSA Configuration:
- Created one portal group per LAN (each switch in a separate subnet)
- Both nodes share the same single target, via same 2 IP portal groups for shared storage
- iSCSI initiator target is "logged on" twice on each node, one for each controller path/NIC combo

Since this is an active/passive configuration, how do we prevent each node from "pulling" its disks over to one controller versus the other. I witnessed this ping/pong effect once whereby the disks were failing back and forth between MSA controllers, about once per second disrupting all the servers in the iSCSI SAN.

Any assistance with this is greatly appreciated to get us by (with the eventual goal of having active/active firmware on the MSA with cluster support).

[config details are provided attached]
"tried and true instead of new and improved"
Lyndon Handy
Frequent Advisor

Re: MSA1510i and Windows 2003 R2 MSCS Cluster

October update:

1) Acknowleded the fact that HP (still) does not support MSCS clusters on the MSA 1510i yet, no ETA at this time, and no replies to my post.

2) SAP R3 patch: It was discovered that an SAP patch named "NTCLUST" resolve the cluster group ping/pong effect having cluster groups failover and back between cluster nodes which resulted in disks unmounting and re-mounting between hosts while services were running. This resulted in disks pulled out from underneath the application services running. This was exacerbated by the fact that each node was attempting to failover the disks between MSA controllers as well during the cluster group movement between nodes.

After the SAP patch was installed, cluster failover and failback tests are much cleaner now and the environment is less problematic.

If one can share insight into the MSA 1510i supporting MSCS clusters at some point that would be appreciated.

"tried and true instead of new and improved"
Occasional Advisor

Re: MSA1510i and Windows 2003 R2 MSCS Cluster

I agree that it will work. We've been running Exchange 2007 and one SQL05 cluster for some time now w/o incident. The Management interface is poorly designed, such that it when the 1510i fails over to the standby controller, you probably will lose connectivity to it. HP's aware of this and working on it. We leave a serial cable connected to a machine all the time so we can console into it.

If there are any misconfigured services in SQL, such as Reporting Services, it will cause issues as well with the cluster.