By Steve Tunstall on Oct 16, 2013
Ok I told you I would give you the bad news of AK8 to go along with all the cool new stuff, so here it is. It's not that bad, really, just things you need to be aware of.
First, the 2013.1 code is being called OS8, AK8 and 2013.1 by different people. I mean different people INSIDE Oracle!! It was supposed to be easy, but it never is. So for the rest of this blog entry, I'm calling it AK8.
AK8 is not compatible with the 7x10 series. Ever. The 7x10 series is not supported with AK8, and if you try to upgrade one, it will fail at the healthcheck.
All 7x20 series, all of them regardless of age, are supported with AK8.
Drive trays. Let's talk about drive trays and SAS cards. The older drive trays for the 7x20 series were called the "Riverwalk 2" or "DS2" trays. They were technically the "J4410" series JBODs that Sun used to sell a la carte before we stopped selling JBODs. Don't get me started on that, it still makes me mad. We used these for many years, and you can still buy them right now until December 15th, 2013, when they will no longer be sold. The DS2 tray only came as a 4u, 24 drive shelf. It held 3.5" drives, and you had a choice of 2TB, 3TB, 300GB or 600GB drives. The SAS HBA in the 7x20 series was called a "Thebe" card, with a part # of 7105394. The 7420, for example, came standard with two of these "Thebe" cards for connecting to the disk trays. Two Thebe cards could handle up to 12 trays, so one would add two more cards to go to 24 trays, or have up to six Thebe cards to handle 36 trays. This card was for external SAS only. It did not connect to the internal OS drives or the Readzillas, both of which used the internal SCSI controller of the server.
These Riverwalk 2 trays ARE supported with AK8. You can upgrade your older 7420 or 7320, no problem, as-is. The much older Riverwalk 1 trays or J4400 trays are NOT supported by AK8. However, they were only used by the 7x10 series, and we already said that the 7x10 series was not supported.
Here's where it gets tricky. Since last January, we have been selling the new style disk trays. We call them the "DE2-24P" and the "DE2-24C" trays. The "C" tray is for capacity drives, which are 3.5" 3TB or 4TB drives. The "P" trays are for performance drives, which are 2.5" 300GB and 900GB drives. These trays are NOT Riverwalk 2 trays, even though the "C" series may kind of look like it. Different manufacturer and different firmware. They are not new. Like I said, we've been selling them with the 7x20 series since last January. They are the only disk trays we will be selling going forward. Of course, AK8 supports them.
So what's the problem? The problem is going to be for people who have to mix drive trays.
Remember, your older 7x20 series has Thebe SAS2 HBAs. These have 2 SAS ports per card. The new ZS3-2 and ZS3-4 systems, however, have the new "Thebe2" SAS2 HBAs. These Thebe2 cards have 4 ports per card. This is very cool, as we can now do more SAS channels with less cards. Instead of needing 4 SAS cards to grow to 24 trays like we did with the old Thebe cards, I can now do 24 trays with only 2 Thebe2 cards. This means more IO slots for fun things like Infiniband and 10G. So far, so good, right? These Thebe2 cards work with any disk tray. You can even mix older DS2 trays with the newer DE2 trays in the same system, as long as you have Thebe2 cards.
Ah, there's your problem. You don't have Thebe2 cards in your old 7420, do you? Well, I told you the bad news wasn't that bad, right? We can take out your Thebe cards and replace them with Thebe2. You can then plug your older DS2 trays right back in, and also now get newer DE2 trays going forward. However, it's important that the trays are on different SAS channels. You can mix them in the same system, but not on the same channel. Ask your local SC if you need help with the new cable layout. By the way, the new ZS3-2 and ZS3-4 systems also include a new IO card called "Erie" cards. These are for INTERNAL SAS to the OS drives and the Readzillas. So those are now SAS2 instead of SATA like the older models. Yes, the Erie card uses an IO slot, but that's OK, because the Thebe2 cards allow us to use less SAS HBAs to grow the system, right?
That's it. Not too much bad news and really not that bad. AK8 does not support the 7x10 series, and you may need new Thebe2 cards in your older systems if you want to add on newer DE2 trays. I think we can all agree that there are worse things out there. Like our Congress.
Next up.... More good news and cool AK8 tricks. Such as virtual NICS.