Set HBAs to match SAN management software
Host-bus adapters (HBAs) are repositories of critical information in a SAN, which is why every vendor of SAN management software and every HBA vendor provides a way for the software to access the information on the HBA. However not all vendors do it the same way and administrators who are installing or reconfiguring SANs need to make sure their management software and HBAs are communicating.
One common method of communicating is with the SNIA's (Storage Network Industry Association's) (www.snia.com) HBA API, an application-programming interface specifically developed for the job. While many hardware vendors support the HBA API, some of the ones who support it ship their HBA's with the API turned off. It's important to check the configuration of the HBA and turn the API on if your software expects it.
The HBA API is fairly new, only being fully released in 2000, so older HBAs may not support it at all. Sometimes this can be fixed with a firmware patch from the HBA vendor. If the API cannot be enabled at all, the management software often includes workarounds, such as vendor-specific APIs or even an alternative method of HBA discovery. (See for example Veritas' release notes on SANPoint Control 2.0.1 , available at
Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.
This was first published in January 2002