Solstice DiskSuite – Admin’s Guide

Solstice disksuite is used to create Metadevices, virtual device composed of several physical devices slices/disks and use them to create different type of RAIDS to protect against disk failures
Learn about in good details ghow you can configure and use solstice disksuite.

Table of Contents
1.Advantages of Disksuite
2. Disksuite terms
3. Disksuite Packages
4. Installing
DiskSuite 4.2.1 in Solaris 8
5. Creating State
6. Creating MetaDevices
6.1. Concatenated
6.2. Striped
6.3 Mirrored Metadevice
6.3.1 Simple mirror
6.3.2 Mirroring a unmountable Partition
6.3.3 root mirroring & /usr mirroring
6.3.4 Making alternate root disk bootable
6.3.5 Setting
alternate boot path for root mirror
6.4 RAID 5
6.5 TransMeta Device
6.5.1 TransMeta device for unmountable partition
6.5.2 TransMeta device for non unmountable partition.
6.5.3 TransMeta
device using Mirror
6.6 Hotspare Pool
6.6.1 Adding a Hotspare to Mirror
6.6.2 Adding a Hotspare to RAID5
6.6.3 Adding a disk to Hotspare Pool.
6.7 disksets
6.7.1 Creating two diskset
6.7.2 Adding disk to diskset
6.7.3 Creating Mirror in Diskset
7. TroubleShooting
7.1) Recovering from Stale State Database replicas
7.2) Metadevice Errors


1. Advantages of Disksuite

Solstice disk suite provides three major functionalities :

1. Over come the disk size limitation by providing for joining of
multiple disk slices to form a bigger volume.

Fault Tolerance by allowing mirroring of data from one disk to another
and keeping parity
information in RAID5.

Performance enhancement by allowing spreading the data space over
multiple disks .


2. Disksuite terms

Metadevice :A virtual device composed of several physical devices –
slices/disks . All the operations are carried out using metadevice
name and transparently implemented on the individual device.
RAID : A group of disks used for creating a virtual volume is called array and
depending on disk/slice arrangement these are called various types of RAID
(Redundant Array of Independent Disk ).
RAID 0 Concatenation/Striping
RAID 1 Mirroring
RAID 5 Striped array with rotating parity.

Concatenation :Concatenation is joining of two or more disk slices to add up the disk space
. Concatenation is serial in nature i.e. sequential data operation are performed
serially on first disk then second disk and so on . Due to serial nature new
slices can be added up without having to take the backup of entire concatenated
volume ,adding slice and restoring backup .

Striping :Spreading of data over multiple disk drives mainly to enhance the performance
by distributing data in alternating chunks – 16 k interleave across the stripes
. Sequential data operations are performed in parallel on all the stripes by
reading/writing 16k data blocks alternatively form the disk stripes.

Mirroring : Mirroring provides data redundancy by simultaneously writing data on to two
sub mirrors of a mirrored device . A submirror can be a stripe or concatenated
volume and a mirror can have three mirrors . Main concern here is that a mirror
needs as much as the volume to be mirrored.

RAID 5 : RAID 5 provides data redundancy and advantage of striping and uses less space
than mirroring . A RAID 5 is made up of at least three disk which are striped
with parity information written alternately on all the disks . In case of a
single disk failure the data can be rebuild using the parity information from
the remaining disks .

3. Disksuite Packages :

Solstice disk suite is a part of server edition of the Solaris OS and is not
included with desktop edition . The software is in pkgadd format & can be
found in following locations in CD :

Solaris 2.6 – “Solaris Server Intranet Extensions 1.0” CD.

Solaris 7 – “Solaris Easy Access Server 3.0”

Solaris 8 – “Solaris 8 Software 2 of 2”

Solaris 2.6 & 2.7 Solstice Disk suite version is 4.2 . Following packages are part of it but only the “SUNWmd” is the
minimum required package and a patch.

SUNWmd – Solstice DiskSuite

SUNWmdg – Solstice DiskSuite Tool

SUNWmdn – Solstice DiskSuite Log Daemon

Patch No. 106627-04 (obtain latest revision)

Solaris 8 DiskSuite version is 4.2.1 .Following are the minimum required packages ..

SUNWmdr Solstice DiskSuite Drivers (root)

SUNWmdu Solstice DiskSuite Commands

SUNWmdx Solstice DiskSuite Drivers (64-bit)


4. Installing DiskSuite 4.2.1 in Solaris 8

# cd /cdrom/sol_8_401_sparc_2/Solaris_8/EA/products/DiskSuite_4.2.1/sparc/Packages

# pkgadd -d .

The following packages are available:

1 SUNWmdg Solstice DiskSuite Tool

(sparc) 4.2.1,REV=1999.

2 SUNWmdja Solstice DiskSuite Japanese

(sparc) 4.2.1,REV=1999.

3 SUNWmdnr Solstice DiskSuite Log Daemon
Configuration Files

(sparc) 4.2.1,REV=1999.

4 SUNWmdnu Solstice DiskSuite Log Daemon

(sparc) 4.2.1,REV=1999.

5 SUNWmdr Solstice DiskSuite Drivers

(sparc) 4.2.1,REV=1999.

6 SUNWmdu Solstice DiskSuite Commands

(sparc) 4.2.1,REV=1999.

7 SUNWmdx Solstice DiskSuite Drivers(64-bit)

(sparc) 4.2.1,REV=1999.

Select 1,3,4,5,6,7 packages .


Enter ‘yes’ for the questions asked during installation and reboot the
system after installation .

Put /usr/opt/SUNWmd/bin in root PATH as the DISKSUITE commands are located in
this directory

5. Creating State Database :

State meta database , metadb , keeps information of the metadevices and is
needed for Disksuite operation . Disksuite can not function without metadb so a
copy of replica databases is placed on different disks to ensure that a copy is
available in case of a complete disk failure .

Metadb needs a dedicated disk slice so create partitions of about 5 Meg. on
the disks for metadb. If there is no space available for metadb then it can be
taken from swap . Having metadb on two disks can create problems as DISKSUITE
looks for database replica number > 50% of total replicas and if one of the
two disks crashes the replica falls at 50% . On next reboot system will go to
single user mode and one has to recreate additional replicas to correct the
metadb errors.

The following command creates three replicas of metadb on three disk slices.

#metadb -a -f -c 3 /dev/dsk/c0t1d0s6
/dev/dsk/c0t2d0s6 /dev/dsk/c0t3d0s6

6. Creating MetaDevices :

Metadevices can be created in two ways

1. Directly from the command line
2. Editing the /etc/opt/SUNWmd/<>
file as per example given in the and
initializing devices on command
line using metainit <device name> .


6.1 ) Creating a concatenated Metadevice :

#metainit d0
3 1 /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s4 1 /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s4
1 /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s4

d0 – metadevice name

3 – Total Number of Slices

1 – Number of Slices to be added followed by slice name.


6.2 ) Creating a stripe
of 32k interleave

# metainit d10 1 2 c0t1d0s2 c0t2d0s2 -i 32k

d0 – metadevice name

1 – Total Number of Stripe

2- Number of Slices to be added to stripe followed by slice name .

-i chunks of data written alternatively on stripes.


6.3 ) Creating a Mirror :


A mirror is a metadevice composed of one or more submirrors. A
submirror is made of one or more striped or concatenated metadevices. Mirroring
data provides you with maximum data availability by maintaining multiple copies
of your data. The system must contain at least three state database replicas
before you can create mirrors. Any file system including root (/),
swap, and /usr,
or any application such as a database, can use a mirror.


6.3.1 ) Creating a simple mirror from new partitions

1.Create two stripes for two submirors as d21 & d22

d21 1 1 c0t0d0s2


d21: Concat/Stripe is setup

d22 1 1 c1t0d0s2


d22: Concat/Stripe is setup


2. Create a mirror device (d20) using one of the submirror (d21)

d20 -m d21


d20: Mirror is setup


3. Attach the second submirror (D21) to the main mirror device (D20)

# metattach d20 d22


d50: Submirror d52 is attached.


4. Make file system on new metadevice

#newfs /dev/md/rdsk/d20


edit /etc/vfstab to mount the /dev/dsk/d20 on a mount point.


6.3.2.) Mirroring a Partitions with data which can be unmounted

# metainit f
d1 1 1 c1t0d0s0


d1: Concat/Stripe is setup

# metainit d2 1
1 c2t0d0s0


d2: Concat/Stripe is setup

# metainit d0 -m


d0: Mirror is setup

# umount /local


(Edit the /etc/vfstab file so that the file system references the mirror)

#mount /local


#metattach d0 d2


d0: Submirror d2 is attached

6.3.3 ) Mirroring a Partitions with data which can not be unmounted – root and /usr

· /usr mirroring

# metainit -f d12 1 1 c0t3d0s6


d12: Concat/Stripe is setup

# metainit d22 1 1 c1t0d0s6


d22: Concat/Stripe is setup

# metainit d2 -m d12


d2: Mirror is setup

(Edit the /etc/vfstab file so that /usr references the mirror)

# reboot


# metattach d2 d22


d2: Submirror d22 is attached

· root mirroring

# metainit -f d11 1 1 c0t3d0s0


d11: Concat/Stripe is setup

# metainit d12 1 1 c1t3d0s0


d12: Concat/Stripe is setup

# metainit d10 -m d11


d10: Mirror is setup

# metaroot d10


# lockfs -fa


# reboot


# metattach d10 d12


d10: Submirror d12 is attached


6.3.4 ) Making Mirrored disk bootable

a.) # installboot /usr/platform/`uname -i`/lib/fs/ufs/bootblk

6.3.5 ) Creating alterbate name for Mirrored boot disk

a.) Find physical path name for the second boot disk

# ls -l /dev/rdsk/c1t3d0s0

lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 55 Sep 12 11:19 /dev/rdsk/c1t3d0s0 ->../../devices/sbus@1,f8000000/esp@1,200000/sd@3,0:a

b.) Create an alias for booting from disk2

ok> nvalias bootdisk2 /sbus@1,f8000000/esp@1,200000/sd@3,0:a

ok> boot bootdisk2

6.4 Creating a RAID 5 volume :

The system must contain at least three state
database replicas before you can create RAID5 metadevices.

A RAID5 metadevice can only handle a single
slice failure.A RAID5 metadevice can be grown by concatenating additional slices
to the metadevice. The new slices do not store parity information, however they
are parity protected. The resulting RAID5 metadevice continues to handle a
single slice failure.
Create a RAID5 metadevice from a slice that
contains an existing file system.will erase the data during the RAID5
initialization process .The interlace value is key to RAID5 performance. It is
configurable at the time the metadevice is created; thereafter, the value cannot
be modified. The default interlace value is 16 Kbytes which is reasonable for
most of the applications.


6.4.1.) To setup raid5 on three slices of different disks .

# metainit d45 -r c2t3d0s2 c3t0d0s2 c4t0d0s2

d45: RAID is setup

Creating a Trans Meta Device :

Trans meta devices enables ufs logging . There is one logging device and a
master device and all file system changes are written into logging device and
posted on to master device . This greatly reduces the fsck time for very large
file systems as fsck has to check only the logging device which is usually of 64
M. maximum size.Logging device preferably should be mirrored and located on a different drive
and controller than the master device .

Ufs logging can not be done for root partition.

6.5.1) Trans Metadevice for a File System That Can Be Unmounted

· /home2


1. Setup metadevice

# umount /home2

# metainit d63 -t c0t2d0s2 c2t2d0s1

d63: Trans is setup

Logging becomes effective for the file system when it is remounted

2. Change vfstab entry & reboot



/dev/md/dsk/d2 /dev/md/rdsk/d2 /home2 ufs 2 yes –



/dev/md/dsk/d63 /dev/md/rdsk/d63 /home2 ufs 2 yes –


# mount /home2


Next reboot displays the following message for logging device

# reboot


/dev/md/rdsk/d63: is logging


) Trans Metadevice for a File System That Cannot Be Unmounted

· /usr

1.) Setup metadevice

# metainit -f d20 -t c0t3d0s6 c1t2d0s1


d20: Trans is setup


2.) Change vfstab entry & reboot:



/dev/dsk/c0t3d0s6 /dev/rdsk/c0t3d0s6 /usr ufs 1 no –


/dev/md/dsk/d20 /dev/md/rdsk/d20 /usr ufs 1 no –



# reboot

6.5.3 ) TransMeta device using Mirrors

1.) Setup metadevice

#umount /home2

#metainit d64 -t d30 d12


d64 trans is setup


2.) Change vfstab entry & reboot:



/dev/md/dsk/d30 /dev/md/rdsk/d30 /home2 ufs 2 yes




/dev/md/dsk/d64 /dev/md/rdsk/d64 /home2 ufs 2 yes

6.6 ) HotSpare Pool

A hot spare pool is a collection of slices reserved by DiskSuite to be
automatically substituted in case of a slice failure in either a submirror or
RAID5 metadevice . A hot spare cannot be a metadevice and it can be associated
with multiple submirrors or RAID5 metadevices. However, a submirror or RAID5
metadevice can only be asociated with one hot spare pool. .Replacement is based on a first fit for the failed slice and they need to be
replaced with repaired or new slices. Hot spare pools may be allocated,
deallocated, or reassigned at any time unless a slice in the hot spare pool is
being used to replace damaged slice of its associated metadevice.

6.6.1) Associating a Hot Spare Pool with Submirrors

# metaparam -h hsp100


# metaparam -h hsp100


# metastat d0


d0: Mirror

Submirror 0: d10

State: Okay

Submirror 1: d11

State: Okay

d10: Submirror of d0

State: Okay

Hot spare pool: hsp100

d11: Submirror of d0

State: Okay

Hot spare pool: hsp100

6.6.2 ) Associating or changing a Hot Spare Pool with a RAID5 Metadevice

#metaparam -h
hsp001 d10

#metastat d10


State: Okay

Hot spare Pool: hsp001

6.6.3 ) Adding a Hot Spare Slice to All Hot Spare Pools

# metahs -a -all


hsp001: Hotspare is added

hsp002: Hotspare is added

hsp003: Hotspare is added


6.7 ) Disksets

Few important points about disksets :

  • A diskset is a set of shared disk drives containing
    DiskSuite objects that can be shared exclusively (but not concurrently)
    by one or two hosts. Disksets are used in high availability failover
    situations where the ownership of the failed machine’s diskset is
    transferred to other machine . Disksets are connected to two hosts for
    sharing and must have same attributes , controller/target/drive ,
    in both machines except for the ownership .
  • DiskSuite must be installed on each host that will be connected to the
    diskset.There is one metadevice state database per shared diskset and one on
    the “local” diskset. Each host must have its local metadevice
    state database set up before you can create disksets.

Each host in a diskset must have a local diskset besides a shared diskset.A diskset can be created seprately on one host & then
added to the second host later.

  • Drive should not be in use by a file system, database, or any other
    application for adding in diskset .
  • When a drive is added to disksuite it is
    repartitioned so that the metadevice state database replica for
    the diskset can be placed on the drive. Drives are repartitioned when
    they are added to a diskset only if Slice 7 is not set up correctly. A
    small portion of each drive is reserved in Slice 7 for use by DiskSuite.
    The remainder of the space on each drive is placed into Slice 0.. After
    adding a drive to a diskset, it may be repartitioned as necessary,
    provided that no changes are made to Slice 7 . If Slice 7 starts
    at cylinder 0, and is large enough to contain a state database replica,
    the disk is not repartitioned.
  • When drives are added to a diskset, DiskSuite re-balances the state
    database replicas across the remaining drives. Later, if necessary, you
    can change the replica layout with the metadb(1M)
  • To create a diskset, root
    must be a member of Group 14, or the ./rhosts
    file must contain an entry for each host.



6.7.1 ) Creating Two Disksets

host1# metaset -s diskset0
-a -h host1 host2


host1# metaset -s
diskset1 -a -h host1

host1# metaset


Set name = diskset0, Set number = 1

Host Owner



Set name = diskset1, Set number = 2

Host Owner




6.7.2 ) Adding Drives to a Diskset

host1# metaset -s
diskset0 -a c1t2d0 c1t3d0 c2t2d0
c2t3d0 c2t4d0 c2t5d0

host1# metaset

Set name = diskset0, Set number = 1

Host Owner

host1 Yes


Drive Dbase

c1t2d0 Yes

c1t3d0 Yes

c2t2d0 Yes

c2t3d0 Yes

c2t4d0 Yes

c2t5d0 Yes

Set name = diskset1, Set number = 2

Host Owner




6.7.3 ) Creating a Mirror in a Diskset

# metainit -s diskset0 d51 1
1 /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s2


diskset0/d51: Concat/Stripe is setup

# metainit -s diskset0 d52 1
1 /dev/dsk/c1t0d0s2


diskset0/d52: Concat/Stripe is setup

# metainit -s diskset0 d50 -m


diskset0/d50: mirror is setup

# metattach -s diskset0 d50


diskset0/d50: Submirror d52 is attached


7.0 Trouble Shooting

7.1 ) Recovering from Stale State Database Replicas

Problem : State database
corrupted or unavailable .
Causes : Disk failure , Disk I/O
Symptoms : Error message at the booting time if databases are <=
50% of total database. System comes to Single user mode.

ok boot

Hostname: host1
metainit: Host1: stale databases
Insufficient metadevice database replicas located.
Use metadb to delete databases which are broken.
Ignore any “Read-only file system” error messages.
Reboot the system when finished to reload the metadevice
After reboot, repair any broken database replicas which were
Type Ctrl-d to proceed with normal startup,
(or give root password for system maintenance): <root-password>
Entering System Maintenance Mode.

1.) Use the metadb command to look at the metadevice state database
and see which state database replicas are not available. Marked by unknown and M

# /usr/opt/SUNWmd/metadb -i
flags first blk
block count
a m p lu 16
a p l
M p
unknown unknown
M p
unknown unknown

2.) Delete the state database replicas on the bad disk using the -d
option to the metadb(1M) command.

At this point, the root (/) file system
is read-only. You can ignore the error messages:

# /usr/opt/SUNWmd/metadb -d -f

metadb: demo: /etc/opt/SUNWmd/ Read-only file system .

Verify deletion

# /usr/opt/SUNWmd/metadb -i
flags first blk
block count
a m p lu
1034 /dev/dsk/c0t3d0s3
a p l
1050 1034

3.) Reboot.

4.) Use the metadb command to add back the state database replicas
and to see that the state database replicas are correct.

# /usr/opt/SUNWmd/metadb -a -c 2 c1t2d0s3

# /usr/opt/SUNWmd/metadb

flags first blk
block count
a m p luo
1034 dev/dsk/c0t3d0s3
a p luo
1034 dev/dsk/c0t3d0s3
1034 dev/dsk/c1t2d0s3
1034 dev/dsk/c1t2d0s3

7.2 ) Metadevice Errors :

Problem : Sub Mirrors out of sync in
“Needs maintainence” state ,
Causes : Disk problem / failure ,
improper shutdown , communication problems between two mirrored disks .
symptoms : “Needs maintainence” errors in metastat output
# /usr/opt/SUNWmd/metastat
d0: Mirror
Submirror 0: d10
State: Needs maintenance
Submirror 1: d20
State: Okay

d10: Submirror of d0
State: Needs maintenance
Invoke: “metareplace d0 /dev/dsk/c0t3d0s0 <new device>”
Size: 47628 blocks
Stripe 0:
Device Start Block Dbase State Hot Spare
/dev/dsk/c0t3d0s0 0 No Maintenance

d20: Submirror of d0
State: Okay
Size: 47628 blocks
Stripe 0:
Device Start Block Dbase State Hot Spare
/dev/dsk/c0t2d0s0 0 No Okay

Solution :

1.) If disk is all right – enable the
failed metadevice with metareplace command .
If disk is failed – Replace
disk create similar partitions as in failed disk and enable new device with
metareplace command.
# /usr/opt/SUNWmd/metareplace -e d0 c0t3d0s0

Device /dev/dsk/c0t3d0s0 is enabled

2.) If disk has failed and you want to move the failed devices to
new disk with different id (CnTnDn) – add new disk ,

format to create
a similar partition scheme as in failed disk and use metarepalce command
# /usr/opt/SUNWmd/metareplace d0 c0t3d0s0
<new device name>

The metareplace command above can also be used for concate or strip
replacement in a volme but that would involve restoring the backup if it
is not mirrored.


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