So you don’t see any disks when trying to install ASM?

This is a post that highlights the difference between operating systems, but also the fact that sometime it is hard to break out of a habit once you got used to it. My background is that of a Linux enthusiast, even though I equally like Solaris and AIX but I have a little less exposure to those.


I have recently been asked to look at RAC on SPARC, which I gladly did. The system I was given had the usual software stack for RAC at this customer’s site. It comprised of:

  • Solaris 10 Update 9 64bit on SPARC
  • EMC Power Path 5.1
  • EMC VMAX storage – 10x10G LUNs for a specific performance test

The Power Path configuration has already been in place when I got the machine, and I was allocated /dev/emcpower2[0-9] for my ASM testing. For the experienced Linux user who relies on device-mapper-multipath, the Power Path naming convention can be a bit confusing at first. For reference, the pseudo devices we are interested in for ASM are created under /dev/rdsk/-the “raw” device directory for “character” based access rather than the block device in /dev/dsk/.  By default, the Power Path devices are called “emcpower”, followed by a number and a letter (in SPARC). An example would be /dev/rdsk/emcpower20c.

The number (20) is just a sequence number and doesn’t have any other meaning as far as I know. It also doesn’t seem to be consistent across the cluster nodes by default. The suffix-letter (“c”) does have a meaning though: it indicates the slice of the device. For example, the latter “a” indicates slice 0, xxxc is the whole disk, and xxxg is slice 6.

You can use the format command to have a look at the slices currently defined. Simply type “partition” and then “print” to print it.

Now all the disks I was given had a slice 6, from cylinder 274 to the end of the disk:

# format
[disk selection not shown here]
format> partition
partition> print
Current partition table (original):
Total disk cylinders available: 10238 + 2 (reserved cylinders)

Part      Tag    Flag     Cylinders         Size            Blocks
  0       root    wm       0 -   136      128.44MB    (137/0/0)     263040
  1       swap    wu     137 -   273      128.44MB    (137/0/0)     263040
  2     backup    wu       0 - 10237        9.37GB    (10238/0/0) 19656960
  3 unassigned    wm       0                0         (0/0/0)            0
  4 unassigned    wm       0                0         (0/0/0)            0
  5 unassigned    wm       0                0         (0/0/0)            0
  6        usr    wm     274 - 10237        9.12GB    (9964/0/0)  19130880
  7 unassigned    wm       0                0         (0/0/0)            0

partition> quit

If you’d like to see how the disks are connected to the array, of if there are any faults, use powermt display dev=all, or alternatively look at a specific device:

# powermt display dev=emcpower20
Pseudo name=emcpower20a
Symmetrix ID=00x2x4x0x6x4
Logical device ID=0x0x
state=alive; policy=SymmOpt; priority=0; queued-IOs=0;
--------------- Host ---------------   - Stor -   -- I/O Path --  -- Stats ---
###  HW Path               I/O Paths    Interf.   Mode    State   Q-IOs Errors
3072 pci@400/pci@0/pci@c/fibre-channel@0/fp@0,0 c2t50000974C00A6118d17s0 FA  7eA   active  alive       0      0
3077 pci@500/pci@0/pci@9/fibre-channel@0/fp@0,0 c3t50000974C00A611Cd17s0 FA  8eA   active  alive       0      0

If you care to learn more about how your system administrator configured the paths (I have 2 HBAs as you can see), use “powermt display”. Also note the disks c2t5….s0 and c3t5…s0 are the native devices aggregated into emcpower20a.

I have changed the permissions on the pseudo devices to 664 and made them owned by oracle:oinstall before launching OUI. In the disk discovery screen I changed the disk discovery string to /dev/rdsk/emcpower2* but didn’t see a single disk in the OUI window. That was odd.

Troubleshooting disk discovery

This error lead me to look at /tmp/OraInstall<date>/installActions<date>.log which referenced a call to kfod, the disk discovery tool. The entry in the log file showed this content:

WARNING: SRVCTL not found as there is no Grid Infrastructure home on the box.
 INFO: Executing [/tmp/OraInstall2011-07-25_11-33-50AM/ext/bin/kfod, nohdr=true, verbose=true, disks=all, status=true\
 op=disks, asm_diskstring='/dev/rdsk/emcpower2*']
 with environment variables {XFILESEARCHPATH=/usr/dt/app-defaults/%L/Dt, DISPLAY=localhost:12.0,\
 PWD=/u01/app/oracle/stage/grid, LC_CTYPE=en_GB.ISO8859-1, _=./runInstaller, USER=oracle,\
 NLSPATH=/usr/dt/lib/nls/msg/%L/, LC_COLLATE=en_GB.ISO8859-1, CLASSPATH=, HOME=/export/home/oracle,\
 LC_NUMERIC=en_GB.ISO8859-1, SSH_CONNECTION= 52883 22,\
 ORACLE_HOME=/tmp/OraInstall2011-07-25_11-33-50AM/ext/bin, SHELL=/usr/bin/bash, LOGNAME=oracle,\
 SSH_TTY=/dev/pts/3, SHLVL=1, LC_MONETARY=en_GB.ISO8859-1, MANPATH=/usr/share/man:/usr/openwin/share/man:\
 /opt/SUNWexplo/man:/opt/SUNWcstu/man:/opt/VRTSvlic/man, SSH_CLIENT= 52883 22, \
 MAIL=/var/mail//oracle, TZ=GB-Eire, LC_TIME=en_GB.ISO8859-1, JAVA_HOME=, LC_MESSAGES=C, PS1=[\u@\h \W]> , \
 OLDPWD=/u01/app/oracle/stage, LC_ALL=, TERM=xterm, TMOUT=0, PATH=/usr/bin:/usr/ccs/bin:/usr/bin:/opt/EMCpower/bin:\
 INFO: Starting Output Reader Threads for process /tmp/OraInstall2011-07-25_11-33-50AM/ext/bin/kfod
 INFO: Parsing KFOD-00311: Error scanning device /dev/rdsk/c3t50000974C00A611Cd16s7
[more errors skipped]

(Re-) Discovery of KFOD

So therein lies the problem! As a side effect I rediscovered the command line options used with kfod! Maybe I can use this for some experiments… All you need to do is to set environment variables for ORACLE_HOME and LD_LIBRARY_PATH as per the above output.

After a little fiddling around I remembered that unlike the tests with ZFS I did before I can’t pass the whole disk to ASM (the VTOC is in the first part of the disk!), but rather have to use a slice. So by changing the disk string to /dev/rdsk/emcpower2*g I got a successful report from kfod, executed as “oracle”:

$ /tmp/OraInstall2011-07-25_11-33-50AM/ext/bin/kfod verbose=true, disks=all status=true op=disks \
> asm_diskstring='/dev/rdsk/emcpower2*g'
 Disk          Size Header    Path                                     User     Group
   1:       9341 Mb CANDIDATE /dev/rdsk/emcpower20g                    oracle   oinstall
   2:       9341 Mb CANDIDATE /dev/rdsk/emcpower21g                    oracle   oinstall
   3:       9341 Mb CANDIDATE /dev/rdsk/emcpower22g                    oracle   oinstall
   4:       9341 Mb CANDIDATE /dev/rdsk/emcpower23g                    oracle   oinstall
   5:       9341 Mb CANDIDATE /dev/rdsk/emcpower24g                    oracle   oinstall
   6:       9341 Mb CANDIDATE /dev/rdsk/emcpower25g                    oracle   oinstall
   7:       9341 Mb CANDIDATE /dev/rdsk/emcpower26g                    oracle   oinstall
   8:       9341 Mb CANDIDATE /dev/rdsk/emcpower27g                    oracle   oinstall
   9:       9341 Mb CANDIDATE /dev/rdsk/emcpower28g                    oracle   oinstall
  10:       9341 Mb CANDIDATE /dev/rdsk/emcpower29g                    oracle   oinstall
KFOD-00311: Error scanning device /dev/rdsk/emcpower2g
ORA-15025: could not open disk "/dev/rdsk/emcpower2g"
SVR4 Error: 13: Permission denied
Additional information: 42
Additional information: 272256
Additional information: 12699536

I haven’t worked out which wildcard characters are valid in the ASM_DISKSTING (‘/dev/rdsk/emcpower2[0-9]g’ didn’t work), so I left it there. The emcpower2g device was not meant to be used in the test anyway.

With this setting I returned to the OUI window and continued the installation.

Lesson Learned

Oracle doesn’t always have useful logs, but in this case it was very useful to look at the install-actions file in /tmp. And also remember that creating ASM disks is different from Linux in Solaris and other platforms.


2 thoughts on “So you don’t see any disks when trying to install ASM?

  1. Allan Robertson

    With Powerpath to display all your devices you can use the command

    powermt display dev=all

    Export your mappings between systems to ensure powerpath naming is consistent across nodes

    emcpadm export_mappings -f /tmp/mappings.exp

    On other nodes
    emcpadm import_mappings -f /tmp/mappings.exp

    There is an MyoS note ASM does not discover disk on Solaris platform 368840.1

    – disks should be formatted from a slice(eg slice 0) other than S2 [Powerpath uses a-h for slices]
    – partition should be of type usr and starting at cylinder 3 ( needs 512kB for VToC)
    – disks should be labeled
    – change ownership of the device file to grid:oinstall
    – permissions on the device file should be 660

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