Re: Accessing the same disk via multiple channels

From: Lars Marowsky-Bree (
Date: Fri Feb 14 2003 - 11:27:22 EST

On 2003-02-14T09:20:12,
   steve cameron <> said:

> Yay! We noticed that if a controller fails in such a way that
> no interrupts are generated then md driver doesn't notice anything is
> wrong. Commands don't fail, but don't complete either.

Uhhhhh. They should timeout though and then be counted as errors; hard to
catch this differently.

You are saying it doesn't work?

> (Better than putting a timeout on every command.) Also, md multipath
> doesn't notice if the backup path has failed, to warn the user that
> redundancy is no longer in effect. (Though if you set up things so i/o
> is going down both paths, not such a big deal, as md will notice.
> Probably you know all this already.

Yes. We intentionally don't do active _monitoring_ on non-active paths, same
as we don't do reprobing of failed paths to see whether they are alive again.

(The LVM m-p patch does periodically send down live requests to failed paths
to check this; I consider this intentional data corruption, but I'm

This is something which can easily be implemented safely in user-space
though; the md approach still exposes the lower level devices and you can
check them periodically if you care, and be it with a

        while sleep 1 ; do
                if ! dd if=/dev/sdaX of=/dev/null ; then
                        mdadm /dev/md0 --fail /dev/sdaX
                        logger -p kern.alert "Path /dev/sdaX failed!"

;-) Obviously, not something we need to run in kernel space.

> Well, the cciss driver is not a SCSI driver (except for purpsoes of
> tape drives & tape changers) and HP/Compaq has sold more than one
> million of those controllers (does popularity mean they aren't
> "weird"? :-), and we have mulitpath capable storage boxes they
> can connect to.

Indeed. Yes, we'll need to figure out how to do this for 2.5/2.6; maybe
porting forward the md m-p patch to 2.5 is indeed the best choice. It should
be way easier, as md has been greatly cleaned up...

However, past discussions on LKML regarding "How to do m-p cleanly in 2.5"
have never reached a conclusion ;-) We'll see. The good thing about the SCSI
m-p is that it can also handle multipathed tape drives...

    Lars Marowsky-Brée <>

Principal Squirrel 
SuSE Labs - Research & Development, SuSE Linux AG
"If anything can go wrong, it will." "Chance favors the prepared (mind)."
  -- Capt. Edward A. Murphy            -- Louis Pasteur
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