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SANs with HP-UX, Solaris or AIX

Please describe interoperability issues involving SANs with HP-UX, Solaris and AIX.

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Thank you for the question. Storage Area Networks (SANs) are supported on all of the operating system platforms that you mentioned. As far as interoperability is concerned, you will find that each operating system will support specific Host Bus Adapters with specific firmware and drivers as well as specific Fibre Channel switches and storage subsystems. Look to the vendors of your specific storage subsystem for the requirements for the firmware and device drivers for each operating system.

For HP-UX and AIX, the only supported Host Bus Adapters come from the host vendors. For Solaris, there is a more open testing methodology and you should check with the vendor of your HBA for specific compatibility as well as your storage vendor of choice. Each company has a compatibility or support matrix so be mindful to follow it. This is important to remember, as you will want to purchase them from the vendor or an authorized reseller to maintain your warranty and support agreement in good standing.

As for best practices for each operating system platform, follow the directions for setting up the storage and zone each operating system into its own zone. You can use soft (administrative) or hard (authoritarian) zoning from your switch vendor of choice, depending on your preference or company standard for zoning. Zoning is a way of locking the addressable storage and hosts at the switch level. The SearchStorage.com industry portal has a great Crash Course on Zoning, and I would strongly suggest reviewing it.

For HP-UX there are some specific requirements for hosts in a cluster that may require you to configure your environment in a specific way, as HP-UX looks for the destination ID of the storage device to survive in the case of a path failure and the multi-pathing algorithm is active-passive.

This was first published in October 2005

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