Q

Booting from a DASD

We have a Windows 2000 server with an HBA Emulex LP8000 boot from a Disksubsystem Hitachi Lightning 9960. The topology for the SAN is fabric switch. Booting from a DASD works fine but I read in the manual that a boot disk through a fabric switch is not supported. Is this a restriction from the vendors or a restriction from SAN implementation?

That manual must be old. Boot support through a fabric is supported. The trick is to get the correct boot bios version and firmware from Emulex. For the LP8000, I have tested Firmware version v3.81a1.

The v3.81a1 test version supports the LP8000 hardware with the same functionality as the v3.21a0 release but uses features not available in prototype and pilot production versions of the LP8000 to get better performance. Optimum performance requires v2.00 or later POST code, which is provided at the v2.01a0 level in the ".AWC" files.

At boot time the adapter waits to load the appropriate SLI firmware based upon which mailbox command is received:

The boot Bios version I tested was version 1.52a1. This BIOS provides x86 boot capability through the use of INT13 system BIOS calls. The BIOS supports:

  • Multi-topology: Fabric Point to Point; FC-AL: Private loop and public loop.
  • Multi-initiators: Upto 8 adapters in a system.
  • Multi-LUNs: upto 256 LUNs.
  • Multi-boot: it complies with the BIOS Boot Specification (BBS).
  • EDD (Enhanced Disk Drive Services): it supports both EDD 3.0 or EDD 2.1 depending selection in BIOS Utility.
  • Boot fail over feature: it is always there since BIOS version 1.20.

There are eight boot entries that can be configured. If the first boot entry failed for whatever reason, it is still able to boot from the second configured boot entry and so on.

All other internal adapters must have their Bios disabled on the server in order to install NT into the SAN, and NT setup will only support a disk size of 4GB or less when doing an OS install, so under setup of NT, you should format a new partition in the 9960 for the boot image. (2GB should be fine for the boot disk)

You will need to run the LP6DUTIL.EXE Emulex utility from a DOS prompt to set up the disks to boot from in the fabric. To enable the Boot Bios on the Emulex card, do a "Control-E" when you see the Emulex adapter message during system boot.

Most of this is menu driven via the utilities. If you need further info, you can download the instructions for SAN Boot from Emulex at http://www.emulex.com under the support section for drivers for the LP8000.

Chris

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This was first published in September 2001
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