Tuesday Aug 20, 2013

Direct I/O and SR-IOV features are now extended to Non-Primary root domains!

Until now OVM Server for SPARC Direct I/O and SR-IOV features were limited to PCIe buses assigned to the primary domain only. This restriction is now removed with the release of OVM Server for SPARC 3.1. That is, now you can assign a PCIe bus to a logical domain and then assign PCIe slots or SR-IOV Virtual Functions from that PCIe bus to other domains. This opens up many different creative opportunities. For example it enables configuration such as below:

Non-Primary root domain example config

A config like the above along with Dynamic SR-IOV feature in OVM Server for SPARC 3.1 would open up various opportunities for deployment. Note this won't increase the availability of the I/O domains yet, but certainly in the near future. It certainly provides opportunity to handle situations manually like rebooting a Root domain. To reboot one of the Root domains, an admin can now remove VFs from I/O domains and then reboot that Root domain, and once the Root domain is rebooted, you can add those VFs back to the I/O domains again. The Solaris OS in I/O domains will automatically add those VFs(need to assign the same exact VFs) back to the same multi-path groups automatically there by everything back to normal. 

Saturday Jun 09, 2012

Direct IO enhancements in OVM Server for SPARC 2.2(a.k.a LDoms2.2)

The Direct I/O feature has been available for LDoms customers since LDoms2.0. Apart from the latest SR-IOV feature in LDoms2.2, it is worth noting a few enhancements to the Direct I/O feature. These are:

  • Support for Metis-Q and Metis-E cards.
    • These cards are highly requested for support and are worth mentioning because they are the only combo cards containing both FibreChannel and Ethernet in the same card. With this support, a customer can have both SAN storage and network access with just one card and one PCIe slot assigned to a logical domain. This reduces cost and helps when there are less number of slots in a given platform.
    • The following are the part numbers for these cards. I have tried to put the platforms on which each card is supported, but this information can get quickly outdated. The accurate information can be found at the Support Document.
 Card Name  Part Number  Platforms

Metis-Q: StorageTek Dual 8Gb Fibre Channel Dual GbE ExpressModule HBA, QLogic

SG-XPCIEFCGBE-Q8-N  SPARC T3-4, T4-4
Metis-E: StorageTek Dual 8Gb Fibre Chanel Dual GbE ExpressModule HBA, Emulex SG-XPCIEFCGBE-E8-N SPARC T3-4, T4-4 
  • Additional cards added to the portfolio of supported cards. This is mainly Powerville based Ethernet cards, the part numbers for these cards as below:
 Part Number  Description
 7100477 Sun Quad Port GbE PCI Express 2.0 Low Profile Adapter, UTP
 7100481 Sun Dual Port GbE PCI Express 2.0 Low Profile Adapter, MMF
 7100483 Sun Quad Port GbE PCI Express 2.0 ExpressModule, UTP
 7110486 Sun Quad Port GbE PCI Express 2.0 ExpressModule, MMF   

Note:  Direct IO feature has a hard dependency on the Root domain(PCIe bus owner, here Primary domain). That is, rebooting the Root domain for any reason may impact the logical domains having PCIe slots assigned with Direct IO feature. So rebooting a root domain need to be carefully managed. Also apply the failure-policy settings as described in the admin guide and release notes to deal with unexpected cases.

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Raghuram Kothakota

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