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Re: [Linux-cluster] Storage Cluster Newbie Questions - any help with answers greatly appreciated!


Thanks for the quick response. It's nice to know my initial thought was close to what you are recommending as well.

As for the details - (disable MD startup); wouldn't this mean - I'd need to rebuild with something like - "mkinitrd --omit-raid-modules" - but if I did that... wouldn't that prevent the onboard (fake raid1) /dev/sda - from loading? Or did you just mean - make sure that nothing is in the /etc/fstab?


Leo Pleiman wrote, On 3/3/2010 11:45 AM:
One solution would be to build the two machines as a two node cluster. Qdisk is normally recommended but two node clusters are supported without it. Use the cluster resource manager to control md management of the FCAL drives. You'll need to disable md startup and create a custom script to allow the cluster resource manager to start and stop the md devices. I would build three cluster resources; md disk, nfs, and samba making nfs and samba dependent on md disk. You'll need a failover domain consisting of both machines. When you're done you'll have on machine doing nothing but waiting for the services on the other machine to fail over. Personally, I would build each FCAL shelf as a RAID5 or RAID6 array, presenting md0 and md1 to LVM. I wouldn't use RAID1 unless you have very little confidence in your hardware. GFS can't be used with software raid and since you won't be using GFS you won't need a fence device.

Leo J Pleiman
Senior Consultant
Red Hat Consulting Services

"Red Hat Ranked as #1 Software Vendor for Fifth Time in CIO Insight Study"

----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael @ Professional Edge LLC"<m3 professionaledgellc com>
To: linux-cluster redhat com
Sent: Wednesday, March 3, 2010 2:16:07 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: [Linux-cluster] Storage Cluster Newbie Questions - any help with answers greatly appreciated!

Hail Linux Cluster gurus,

I have researched myself into a corner and am looking for advice.  I've
never been a "clustered storage guy", so I apologize for the potentially
naive set of questions.  ( I am savvy on most other aspects of networks,
hardware, OS's etc... but not storage systems).

I've been handed ( 2 ) x86-64 boxes w/2 local disks each; and ( 2 )
FC-AL disk shelves w/14 disks each; and told to make a mini NAS/SAN (NFS
required, GFS optional).  If I can get this working reliably then there
appear to be about another ( 10 ) FC-AL shelves and a couple of Fiber
Switches laying around that will be handed to me.

NFS filesystems will be mounted by several (less than 6) linux machines,
and a few (less than 4) windows machines [[ microsoft nfs client ]] -
all more or less doing web server type activities (so lots of reads from
a shared filesystem - log files not on NFS so no issue with high IO
writes).  I'm locked into NFS v3 for various reasons.  Optionally the
linux machines can be clustered and GFS'd instead - but I would still
need to come up with a solution for the windows machines - so a NAS
solution is still required even if I do GFS to the linux boxes.

Active / Passive on the NFS is fine.

* Each of the ( 2 ) x86-64 machines have a Qlogic dual HBA 1 fiber
direct connected to each shelf  (no fiber switches yet - but will have
them later if I can make this all work); I've loaded RHEL 5.4 x86-64.

* Each of the ( 2 ) RHEL 5.4 boxes - used the 2 local disks w/onboard
fake raid1 = /dev/sda - basic install so /boot and LVM for the rest -
nothing special here (didn't do mdadm basically for simplicity of /dev/sda)

* Each of the ( 2 ) RHEL 5.4 boxes can see all the disks on both shelves
- and since I don't have Fiber Switches yet - at the moment there is
only 1 path to each disk; however as I assume I will figure out a method
to make this work - I have enabled multipath - and therefore I have
consistent names to 28 disks.

Here's my dilemma.  How do I best add Redundancy to the Disks, removing
as many single points of failure, and preserving as much diskspace as

My initial thought was - to take "shelf1:disk1 and shelf2:disk1" and put
them into a software raid1 - mdadm; then put the resulting /dev/md0 into
a LVM.  When I need more diskspace, I just then create "shelf1:disk2 and
shelf2:disk2" as another software raid1 then just add the new "/dev/md1"
into the LVM and expand the FS. This handles a couple things in my mind:

1. Each shelf is really a FC-AL so it's possible that a single disk
going nuts could flood the FC-AL and all the disks in that shelf go poof
until the controller can figure itself out and/or the bad disk is removed.

2. Efficient I am retaining 50% storage capacity after redundancy - if I
can do the "shelf1:disk1 + shelf2:disk2" mirrors; plus all bandwidth
used is spread across the 2 HBA fibers and nothing goes over the TCP
network.  Conversely DRBD doesn't excite me much - as I then have to do
both raid in the shelf (probably still with MDADM) and then I add TCP
(ethernet) based RAID1 between the nodes - and when all is said and done
- I only the have 25% of storage capacity still available after redundancy.

3. I easy to add more diskspace - as each new mirror (software raid1)
can just be added to an existing LVM.

  From what I can find messing with Luci (Conga) though... is - I don't
see any resource scripts listed for - "mdadm" (on RHEL 5.4) - so would
my idea even work  (I have found some posts asking for a mdadm resource
script but I've seen no response)?  I also see with RHEL 5.3 LVM has
mirrors that can be clustered now - is this the right answer?  I've done
a ton of reading but everything I've dug up so far; assumes that the
fiber devices are being presented by a SAN that is doing the redundancy
before the RHEL box sees the disk... or... there are a ton of examples
of where fiber is not in the picture and there are a bunch of locally
attached hosts presenting storage onto the TCP (ethernet) - but I've not
found nearly anything on my situation...

So... here I am... :-)  I really just have 2 nodes - who can both see -
a bunch of disks (JBOD) and I want to present them to multiple hosts via
NFS (required) or GFS (to linux boxes only).

All ideas - are greatly appreciated!


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