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Device Mapper is an infrastructure in the Linux kernel. It provides a generic way to create virtual layers of block devices. It supports striping, mirroring, snapshots, concatenation, and multipathing. The multipath feature is provided with combination of DM Multipath kernel modules and multipath-tools user-space package.
The Device Mapper Multipath (DM-MP) module provides the multipathing capability for Linux. DM-MP is the only multipathing option shipped with SLES.
DM-MP features automatic configuration of the multipathing subsystem for a large variety of setups. Configurations of up to 8 paths to each device are supported. Configurations are supported for active/passive (one path active, others passive) or active/active (all paths active with round-robin load balancing).
The DM-MP framework is extensible in two ways:
The user-space component of DM-MP takes care of automatic path discovery and grouping, as well as automated path retesting, so that a previously failed path is automatically reinstated when it becomes healthy again. This minimizes the need for administrator attention in a production environment.
DM-MP protects against failures in the paths to the device, and not failures in the device itself. If one of the active paths is lost (for example, a network adapter breaks or a fiber-optic cable is removed), I/O is redirected to the remaining paths. If the configuration is active/passive, then the path fails over to one of the passive paths. If you are using the round-robin load-balancing configuration, the traffic is balanced across the remaining healthy paths. If all active paths fail, inactive secondary paths must be waked up, so failover occurs with a delay of approximately 30 seconds.
If a disk array has more than one storage processor, make sure that the SAN switch has a connection to the storage processor that owns the LUNs you want to access. On most disk arrays, all LUNs belong to both storage processors, so both connections are active.
NOTE: On some disk arrays, the storage array manages the traffic through storage processors so that it presents only one storage processor at a time. One processor is active and the other one is passive until there is a failure. If you are connected to the wrong storage processor (the one with the passive path) you might not see the expected LUNs, or you might see the LUNs but get errors when trying to access them.
For information, see Section 5.4.5, Creating and Configuring the /etc/multipath.conf File.
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