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bl860/bl870, OpenVMS and Flex10

 
The Brit
Honored Contributor

bl860/bl870, OpenVMS and Flex10

Is anyone out there running OpenVMS on bl860's or bl870's, and using Flex10 Virtual Connect modules???

I am having a problem right now in that, although my VC profile, Ethernet networks and UplinkSets are all set up correctly, and showing "Linked/Active", I am getting "Link Down" on all of my network devices.

I should add, that similar problems are being incurred by other administrators (Windowz and Linux) using proliant blades under the Flex10 modules. HP's response has been that it is related in some way to NIC drivers and VMWare, i.e. implying that it was related to proliant servers. However when I installed an Itanium, I found the same problem. And since OpenVMS Admins dont talk about "drivers" in the same way as Proliant Admins, I was wondering...

The problem definitely seems to be between the Blade NIC and the Flex10 Port.

I will be throwing this question into the Blades forum as well, however I specifically wanted to know if anyone has had any success running OpenVMS under Flex10.

thanks

Dave.
15 REPLIES
Ian Miller.
Honored Contributor

Re: bl860/bl870, OpenVMS and Flex10

Flex 10 is not yet supported with OpenVMS.
Current plans indicate later this year.
____________________
Purely Personal Opinion
The Brit
Honored Contributor

Re: bl860/bl870, OpenVMS and Flex10

Thanks for the response Ian. Can you point me to any documentation relating to this.

Dave.
Ian Miller.
Honored Contributor

Re: bl860/bl870, OpenVMS and Flex10

Documentation I know not.

I asked OpenVMS Product Management :-)
____________________
Purely Personal Opinion
The Brit
Honored Contributor

Re: bl860/bl870, OpenVMS and Flex10

Thanks again Ian,

I am pushing this back at HP Technical support who are working the issue for the Proliant guys.

I know it is unrealistic to expect these people to be upfront with this kind of information, however since OpenVMS is a fairly large part of our Blades Infrastructure, it would have been nice to have HP include this information explicitly. Instead of having to deduce it by ommission, or through alternative channels.

Dave
Richard Stockdale
Frequent Advisor

Re: bl860/bl870, OpenVMS and Flex10

VC module that supports Flex-10 is supported on VMS and has worked for a long time.

The Flex-10 behavior means that if a Flex-10 capable NIC is installed, the VC module will cause the O/S to instantiate a number of FlexNICs for each Flex-10 capable device.

But if a non-Flex-capable NIC is installed, the VC module treats it as just an ordinary NIC.

- Dick
The Brit
Honored Contributor

Re: bl860/bl870, OpenVMS and Flex10

Hi Dick,
I am interested in your response, and I assume you are speaking from personal experience. So far, I have had 3 responses, (1 here, and 2 directly from HP), indicating that Flex10 is not, and will not, be supported until the release of OpenVMS 8.4 later this year.

Having said that, I have also heard it rumoured that it may work (although not necessarily supported) with VCM Firmware version 2.25 or earlier. The downside of downgrading is that SmartLink was not working correctly with Flex-10 in that version. It could not differentiate the individual virtual NICs.

What version of VC Manager firmware are you running on your Flex-10 Modules ??

Dave
Richard Stockdale
Frequent Advisor

Re: bl860/bl870, OpenVMS and Flex10

The 3 response are correct. Flex-10 support on VMS is not there yet.

But the HP BL-c VC Flex-10 Enet Module Option (there are about 5 other names for it)(aka Bergstrom switch) has Flex-10 capability. To use Flex-10 you need to install a Flex-10 capable mezz card, an NC532m, which is not yet shipping on VMS (soon, but I'm not sure when).

So, you can install a Bergstrom switch in your BL860,870 and use it with the 5704 LOMs or with NC360,NC364 mezz cards, and this should all work. But the Bergstrom, since it won't be connected to a Flex-10 capable NIC, won't be in Flex-10 mode. So it will act as a vanilla switch.

So, I think your configuration should work. Bergstrom switches with 5704 LOM and NC36x mezz cards. Flex-10 is not involved.

As far as SmartLink is concerned, it works fine on my BL860 with NC532m and Bergstrom switch (which is in Flex-10 mode by virtue of connection to a Flex-10 capable NIC). I think I'm running released version of VC firmware (I probably picked it up 6 months ago).

- Dick
Richard Stockdale
Frequent Advisor

Re: bl860/bl870, OpenVMS and Flex10

One more thing, I'm assuming that you are using the Bergstrom switch with the 5704 LOMs or NC36x mezz cards. If you actually do have an NC532m, then you need to verify the Bergstrom firmware, NC532m firmware/efi driver, OA firmware and just verify everything in the enclosure. It would be a good idea to do this whether or not you have an NC532m.

If you have gone through the firmware for the enclosure and still have a problem, then post or send me output from:

lancp show dev/int
lancp show config

- Dick
The Brit
Honored Contributor

Re: bl860/bl870, OpenVMS and Flex10

Hi Dick,

What exactly is a "Bergstrom Switch"??

I have personnally never heard of it, and I have been running my bl860 blades and Virtual Connect for a couple of years now.

I tried Googling it and got zero hits!

Can you point me to some documentation/information regarding this.

Dave.
Uwe Zessin
Honored Contributor

Re: bl860/bl870, OpenVMS and Flex10

Sounds like an internal engineering nickname.
It is not helpful to use it when talking to mere mortals...
.
The Brit
Honored Contributor

Re: bl860/bl870, OpenVMS and Flex10

Dick,

I have just spent a couple of minutes meticulously re-reading your response and I find it very confusing.

1. You reference a product I have never heard of (probably for the reason given by Uwe).
2. You agree that VMS support is not there yet.
3. You advise me to install a Mezz card which you tell me is not available yet.
4. However if I meet all of these requirements, it will work for me.

I am left to assume that you are an HP Engineering type, running your environment on equipment and soft/firmware which is not generally available to us out here.

Not truly helpful. You could have just said that it will not work for me until certain products become available later in the year.

I am sure that, internally at least, there are several variations on the Flex-10 module, however I have never seem any documentation in the public area to indicate that there are different models of Flex-10 available.

As a final comment, I have upgraded my modules to the very latest version of VC, i.e. 2.33, with no effect. From discussions with HP engineering, it implication is that the fix for SmartLink involved something called DCC (Device Channel Control, I think), and unless the NIC driver knows about DCC, you are screwed.

Solutions are being found on a Blade/OS/App level, almost all of which involve an upgrade to the NIC driver. For Windows and Linux/Unix system this is fairly common practice (I'm told), however with OpenVMS it is not. This would certainly fit with the "...wait for V8.4." responses.

My most recent information is that; If you are running on bl860 or bl870's (first generation, with 5704 LOM's), Version 8.4 will fix the problem. However, if you are using the new "I2" blades, V8.4 will not fix the problem, but that a "patch" is due for release in ~August, for the new generation blades (bl860c I2, bl870c I2 and bl890c)

Dave
The Brit
Honored Contributor

Re: bl860/bl870, OpenVMS and Flex10

Issue finally resolved. The problem turned out to be that the bl8x0c 5704 LOM NICs are not able to Autonegotiate with the New Flex-10 modules. NIC speed must be "forced" to 1Gb.

Solution: (Obvious once the problem is known)

1. Within the VC profile, for each Ethernet port, Select "Custom" and "1Gb" from the Port Speed Setting dropdown menu. After changing all of the ports, Apply the profile changes (can be done dynamically). (Note: if you select Auto, it will say that the negotiated speed is 1Gb, but the NICs will not function)

2. Within Openvms. In LANCP set the EW devices to permenantly "NoAuto".

$ mc lancp
LANCP> Define Device EWA0 /NoAuto
LANCP> Define Device EWB0 /NoAuto
LANCP> Set Device EWA0 /NoAuto
LANCP> Set Device EWA0 /NoAuto
LANCP> exit

As the "set device" command executes, OPCOM shows the devices joining the FAILSET LLA0, followed by a "Link Up" on EWA0.

Hope this helps someone.

Dave.
The Brit
Honored Contributor

Re: bl860/bl870, OpenVMS and Flex10

See Above.
Richard Stockdale
Frequent Advisor

Re: bl860/bl870, OpenVMS and Flex10

Let me address your issues:

>>1. You reference a product I have never heard of (probably for the reason given by Uwe).

There is only one Flex-10 capable switch. If you have one, it is a Bergstrom switch. I don't know the official name of it.

>>2. You agree that VMS support is not there yet.

VMS supports this switch. But not the Flex-10 capability. You aren't using Flex-10 capability.

>>3. You advise me to install a Mezz card which you tell me is not available yet.

I'm not suggesting that. I'm saying that Flex-10 is only a factor if you have one of these mezz cards.

>>4. However if I meet all of these requirements, it will work for me.

No. It will work for you regardless. You aren't using Flex-10.

>>..e an HP Engineering type, running your environment on equipment and soft/firmware which is not generally available to us out here.

Except for the mezz card, I am using the same equipment that should be in the field.

>>I am sure that, internally at least, there are several variations on the Flex-10 module, however I have never seem any documentation in the public area to indicate that there are different models of Flex-10 available.

No, there is only ONE Flex-10 interconnect module.

>>As a final comment, I have upgraded my modules to the very latest version of VC, i.e. 2.33, with no effect. From discussions with HP engineering, it implication is that the fix for SmartLink involved something called DCC (Device Channel Control, I think), and unless the NIC driver knows about DCC, you are screwed.

DCC is a component of Flex-10. You don't have it. Only NIC drivers for Flex-10 capability NICs know about DCC.
Richard Stockdale
Frequent Advisor

Re: bl860/bl870, OpenVMS and Flex10

>>Issue finally resolved. The problem turned out to be that the bl8x0c 5704 LOM NICs are not able to Autonegotiate with the New Flex-10 modules. NIC speed must be "forced" to 1Gb.

>>Solution: (Obvious once the problem is known)

This is a workaround (and perfectly acceptable). Any issue with this switch and the 5704 LOMs on the bl860,bl870 should be resolved by an escalation to the support group.

- Dick