Troubleshooting: Problems connecting HP Insight Control Storage Module to StoreServ 7200 (3Par)

A customer of mine, who runs a pure HP environment based on c7000 and StoreServ 7200, wanted to get the HP Insight Control Storage Module for vCenter up and running. The problem was that while we were able to connect to the older MSA array they run for non-production workloads, we were unable to connect to the newer StoreServ 7200. There is full IP connectivity between the application server that the HP Insight components run on and the storage controllers/VSP (no firewalls between them, they are located in the same subnet).

The only error message we got was an “unable to connect” message, when using the same credentials and ip address used for the 3Par Management Console. After reaching out to quite a few people, including Twitter, we finally found the solution. It turns out that the CIM service on the array was not responding, in fact it was disabled, which naturally resulted in not being able to connect.

A quick ssh session to the array, revealed that the CIM service was disabled.
[cc lang=”bash” width=”100%” theme=”blackboard” nowrap=”1″]
login as: username
Password: *************

3par-array cli% showcim
-Service- -State– –SLP– SLPPort -HTTP– HTTPPort -HTTPS- HTTPSPort PGVer CIMVer
Disabled Inactive Enabled 427 Enabled 5988 Enabled 5989 2.9.1 3.1.2
3par-array cli% stopcim
Are you sure you want to stop CIM server?
select q=quit y=yes n=no: y
CIM server stopped successfully.
3par-array cli% startcim
CIM server will start in about 90 seconds
3par-array cli%
[/cc]

Restarting it fixed the issue, and we now have StoreServ data available directly in the vSphere Web (and C#) client. This also fixed the connection problem we had with vCenter Operations Manager and the The HP StoreFront Analytics adapter.

So, if you are unable to connect to your StoreServ, check the CIM service – It might just be disabled.

Virtual Connect FlexFabric and Direct-Attach FC 3Par Caveat

When configuring a new C7000 Blade Enclosure with a couple of FlexFabric 10Gb/24-port modules I ran into a rather annoying issue during setup.

HP Virtual Connect 3.70 introduced support for Direct-Attach setups of HP 3Par StoreServ 7000 storage systems, where you can eliminate the need for dedicated FC switches. For full details, have a look at Implementing HP Virtual Connect Direct-Attach Fibre Channel with HP 3PAR StoreServ Systems.

This is excellent for setups where all your hosts are HP Blades, and you have a Virtual Connect FlexFabric setup. After all, less components means less complexity, right?

The problem I ran into is a bit strange though, and it took some time figuring out what was wrong. The HP 3Par StoreServ 7200 was racked, stacked and configured when the FC SFP+  modules where installed in the FlexFabric module, and I pretty much thought it would be plug and play from there to get the blades to talk FC to the HP 3Par after going through the Virtual Connect setup.

Sadly, that was not the case. It seems there is a bug in the web GUI for VC 3.70 that prevents getting a working setup. I know 3.75 is released, but nothing in the release notes seem to indicate that this has been fixed in that release.

For some reason, the “Fabric Type” dropdown where you should be able to select either “FabricAttach” or “DirectAttach” is greyed out, thus preventing the proper configuration of the SAN Fabric in “DirectAttach” mode. It defaults to “FabricAttach”, and in a Direct-Attach scenario that simply does not work. You will not be able to get a FC link and the SFP+ module will be listed as “unsupported”.

SanFabric-1a

The solution was to create the SAN Fabric manually by using the Virtual Connect CLI interface. T
he following commands created the two fabrics required for redundancy (VC module in Bay 1 and in Bay 2)

[cc lang=”bash” width=”100%” theme=”blackboard” nowrap=”0″]
add fabric Fabric-1-3PAR Bay=1 Ports=1 Type=DirectAttach
add fabric Fabric-2-3PAR Bay=2 Ports=1 Type=DirectAttach
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As you can see, by using the add fabric command it was possible to define the correct Fabric Type and I could then proceed to add Port 2 from Bay 2 to Fabric-1-3PAR and vice versa to create a fully redundant setup.

SanFabric-2

Why the VC GUI prevented me from setting the correct fabric type is beyond me, but for some reason it simply did not allow me to change this rather important setting, and prevented the setup from working without using the CLI for configuration.