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Need help installing a new fiber adapter...


Need help installing a new fiber adapter...

I have a fiber adapter(not sure on make and model yet) already installed in one ES40 Alpha running OpenVMS.  It is not needed in that host so I want to take it out and install it into a different host.  Do I need a driver like a windows box or how does installing new hardware on an alpha server work?  If so does anyone know where I could obtain one or if I can move it from one host to another?  I tried to google this and couldnt find much clear information.  Any Guidance will be greatly appreciated, Thanks.

Steven Schweda
Honored Contributor

Re: Need help installing a new fiber adapter...

> [...] Do I need a driver like a windows box or how does installing new
> hardware on an alpha server work?

   You need a driver, but, if the adapter is suported by VMS, then I'd
expect no special action to be required (because the driver is included
in VMS).

   Generally, VMS supports fewer devices than Windows, so including all
the drivers in the OS is easier for VMS than for Windows.  In a few
cases, a third-party device might need a third-party device driver.

   As usual, a precise answer might depend on some actual info from you,
such as the actual hardware model(s) and the VMS version involved.

   If you can find evidence of your adapter in (an uncorrupted)
SYS$SYSTEM:SYS$CONFIG.DAT, then I'd say that you're probably pretty
safe.  (What could go wrong?)

Honored Contributor

Re: Need help installing a new fiber adapter...

If the Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapter (FC HBA) is listed in the SPOCK database, it's supported.  If the particular FC HBA is not listed, it might or might not work.  (SPOCK is the old HP/HPE storage device support database, though its OpenVMS-related content is getting rather thin.)  Figuring out what's what here can sometimes be, um, entertaining, but SPOCK did have a list of the HP/HPE and vendor-specific identities of the various FC HBA adapters when last I checked.

In general... The OpenVMS I/O stack (on Alpha and Itanium) will use the device PCI ID to locate matching device drivers in SYS$CONFIG.DAT and SYS$USER_CONFIG.DAT (if any), and which will then autoconfigure and present an I/O device with an expected device name, and the system manager is then expected to perform some manual Fibre Channel Storage Area Network (FC SAN) configuration steps for the particular local fibre channel devices, controllers and zones.

Posting specific questions, specific versions, specific error messages and related is helpful, too.   If you want to discuss this device further, you're going to have to gather the identity of the particular widget, or at least the associated PCI ID for the widget.   If you'd like to discuss what you did or did not find in your web searches, then some details on what you searched for would be helpful.  If you'd like information on where to look for this and related information, see the above links — that web site has more than a little information on OpenVMS — and also definitely read through the OpenVMS System Manager's manuals and the clustering manuals for details on how to configure and manage OpenVMS.   The FC HBA widgets typically have some sort of configuration documentation associated, though locating that manual or guide or service documentation generally requires the identity of the particular HBA.

You'll want to be running OpenVMS Alpha V8.4 with the current UPDATE and the most current FIBRE_SCSI patch — if that's not already included in the current UPDATE kit — for best coverage of FC HBAs and any associated bugs.