Mar 122014

Okay, this has been a long time coming, but thought I’d write this down before I forget all about it.

First a little bit of a rant. In the EMC world, we assign LUNs to hosts and identify them using a hex-id code called the LUN ID. This, in conjunction with the EMC Frame ID, helps us uniquely and “easily” identify the LUNs, especially when you consider that there are usually multiple EMC frames and hundreds or thousands of SAN-attached hosts in most modern enterprise data centers.

Okay, the challenge is when using a disk multipathing solution other than EMC’s expensive power path software, or the exorbitantly expensive Veritas Storage Foundation suite from Symantec.

Most self-respecting modern operating systems have disk multipathing software built in and freely available.  and the focus item for this blog is Solaris. Solaris has a mature and efficient multipathing software called MPxIO, which cleverly creates a pseudo-device corresponding to the complex of the multiple (or single) paths via which a SAN LUN is visible to the Operating system.

The MPxIO driver, then using the LUN’s global unique identifier (GUID) to, perhaps can be argued, rightly identify the LUN uniquely. This is however a challenge since the GUID is a 32-character string (very nicely explained here

When I first proposed to our usual user community – Oracle DBAs, that they would have to use disks named as shown below, I faced outraged howls of indignation. “How can we address these disks in ASM, etc?”


To work around, we considered creating an alternate namespace, say /dev/oracle/disk001 and so forth, retaining the major/minor numbers of the underlying devices.  But that would get hairy real quick, especially on those databases where we had multiple terabytes of storage (hundreds of LUNs).

If you are working with CLARiiON arrays, then you will have figure out some other way (than what I’ve shown in this blog post) to map your MPxIO/Solaris disk name to the valid Hex LUNID.

The code in this gist will cover what’s what. A friendly storage admin told me about this, wrt VMAX/Symmetrix LUNs. Apparently EMC generates the GUID (aka UUID) of LUNs differently based on whether it is a CLARiiON/VNX or a Symmetrix/VMAX.

In that, the fields that were extracted corresponding to variables $xlunid1 and so forth, and converted to their hex values, is the pertinent piece of information. Having this information then reduces our need to install symcli on every host so that we can extract the LUN ID that way.

This then will give us the ability to map a MPxIO/Solaris Disk name to an EMC LUN ID.

The full script is here —