US20160077752A1 - Fibre Channel Storage Array Methods for Handling Cache-Consistency Among Controllers of an Array and Consistency Among Arrays of a Pool - Google Patents

Fibre Channel Storage Array Methods for Handling Cache-Consistency Among Controllers of an Array and Consistency Among Arrays of a Pool Download PDF

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US20160077752A1
US20160077752A1 US14846689 US201514846689A US2016077752A1 US 20160077752 A1 US20160077752 A1 US 20160077752A1 US 14846689 US14846689 US 14846689 US 201514846689 A US201514846689 A US 201514846689A US 2016077752 A1 US2016077752 A1 US 2016077752A1
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process
cache
lu
configuration
storage array
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US14846689
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Matti Vanninen
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Hewlett Packard Enterprise Development LP
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Nimble Storage Inc
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Abstract

Storage arrays, systems and methods for operating storage arrays for maintaining consistency in configuration data between processes running on an active controller and a standby controller of the storage array are provided. One example method includes executing a primary process in user space of the active controller. The primary process is configured to process request commands from one or more initiators, and the primary process has access to a volume manager for serving data input/output (I/O) requests and non-I/O requests. The primary process has primary access to the configuration data and includes a first logical unit (LU) cache for storing the configuration data. The method also includes executing a secondary process in user space of the standby controller. The secondary process is configured to process request commands from one or more of the initiators, wherein the secondary process does not have access to the volume manger. The secondary process has a second LU cache for storing the configuration data, and the second LU cache is used by the secondary process for responding to non-I/O requests. The method includes receiving, at the primary process, an update to the configuration data and sending, by the primary process, the update to the configuration data to the secondary process for updating the second LU cache. When the primary process receives an acknowledgement from the secondary process that the update to the configuration data was received, then the updates to the configuration data are committed to the first LU cache of the active controller.

Description

    CLAIM OF PRIORITY
  • This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/050,680, filed on Sep. 15, 2014, entitled “Fibre Channel Storage Array Systems and Methods,” which is herein incorporated by reference.
  • BACKGROUND
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present embodiments relate to storage arrays, methods, systems, and programs for maintaining a consistent cache of logical unit data and port data for Fibre Channel arrays, such as where storage arrays use fail-over processes and standby hardware to maintain high availability to initiators.
  • 2. Description of the Related Art
  • Network storage, also referred to as network storage systems or storage systems, is computer data storage connected to a computer network providing data access to heterogeneous clients. Typically network storage systems process a large amount of Input/Output (I/O) requests, and high availability, speed, and reliability are desirable characteristics of network storage.
  • One way to provide quick access to data is by utilizing fast cache memory to store data. Since the difference in access times between a cache memory and a hard drive are significant, the overall performance of the system is highly impacted by the cache hit ratio. Therefore, it is important to provide optimal utilization of the cache memory in order to have in cache the data that is accessed most often.
  • There is also a need for storage systems that operate Fibre Channel networks, to provide fault tolerant connection to initiators. If initiators see storage arrays with excessive failures, even when a storage array is processing failover procedures, such storage arrays will be viewed as less than optimal. A need therefore exists for a storage array that is capable of handling failover operations while providing initiators with consistent connections to such storage arrays.
  • It is in this context that embodiments arise.
  • SUMMARY
  • Methods and storage systems for processing failover operations in a storage array configured for Fibre Channel communication are provided. A storage array includes an active controller and a standby controller. In one embodiment, management changes may be made at the active controller, and those changes should consistently be made at the standby controller. In one configuration, both the active controller and the standby controller include a logical unit (LU) cache. The methods disclosed herein relate to managing consistency of the LU cache between copies accessed by the active controller and the standby controller, a method for synchronizing cache content. Maintaining consistency enables among the active and standby controller ensures that initiators accessing an array have the correct logical unit number mappings, port data, etc., even when failover has occurred between the active and standby controllers.
  • In one embodiment, a method for operating a storage array for maintaining consistency in configuration data between processes running on an active controller and a standby controller of the storage array is provided. In this embodiment, the method includes executing a primary process in user space of the active controller. The primary process is configured to process request commands from one or more initiators, and the primary process has access to a volume manager for serving data input/output (I/O) requests and non-I/O requests. The primary process has primary access to the configuration data and includes a first logical unit (LU) cache for storing the configuration data. The method also includes executing a secondary process in user space of the standby controller. The secondary process is configured to process request commands from one or more of the initiators, wherein the secondary process does not have access to the volume manger. The secondary process has a second LU cache for storing the configuration data, and the second LU cache is used by the secondary process for responding to non-I/O requests. The method includes receiving, at the primary process, an update to the configuration data and sending, by the primary process, the update to the configuration data to the secondary process for updating the second LU cache. When the primary process receives an acknowledgement from the secondary process that the update to the configuration data was received, then the updates to the configuration data are committed to the first LU cache of the active controller.
  • In another embodiment, a storage array is provided. The storage array includes an active controller configured to execute a primary process that includes a volume manager and a first SCSI layer. The active controller further includes a first logical unit (LU) cache for storing configuration data related to logical unit number (LUN) mapping and port data of the storage array. Further included is a standby controller configured to execute a secondary process. The secondary process includes a second SCSI layer. The standby controller further includes a second logical unit (LU) cache that is also configured to store the configuration data related to logical unit number (LUN) mapping and port data of the storage array. A configuration management unit is also provided and is configured to communicate changes to the configuration data to the primary process. The primary process is configured to push said changes to the configuration data to said secondary process to enable commitment to said second LU cache. The primary process of the active controller is configured to wait to commit the changes to the configuration data to the first LU cache until confirmation is received by the primary process that the secondary process has committed the changes to the configuration data to the second LU cache. The storage array is configured to service requests from one or more initiators.
  • In yet another embodiment, computer readable media is provided, having program instructions for operating a storage array for maintaining consistency in configuration data between processes running on an active controller and a standby controller of the storage array.
  • Other aspects will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The embodiments may best be understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
  • FIG. 1A provides one example view of a storage array SCSI target stack, in accordance with one embodiment.
  • FIG. 1B illustrates an example of a storage array having an active controller and a standby controller, in accordance with one embodiment.
  • FIG. 1C shows an example of the active controller, which is configured with a data services daemon (DSD) and a standby failover daemon (SFD), in accordance with one embodiment.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates an example of the architecture of a storage array, according to one embodiment.
  • FIGS. 3A and 3B illustrate example logical diagrams of a storage array, which includes an active controller and a standby controller, in accordance with two embodiments.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates a logical unit (LU) cache distributed in two arrays and associated management among the arrays, in accordance with one embodiment.
  • FIG. 5 illustrates an example architecture, which illustrates communication among user space processes, which includes LU cache processing, in accordance with one embodiment.
  • FIG. 6 illustrates an active controller and a standby controller managing configurations changes and updates to LU cache in each controller, in accordance with one embodiment.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The following embodiments describe methods, devices, systems, and computer programs for storage arrays, which cache within storage arrays is managed for consistency. Cache consistency is particularly needed in storage arrays that maintain separate cache copies for each controller, in a multi-controller storage array. Multi-controller storage arrays are those that have an active controller for serving data and information to requesting initiators and standby controllers that stand ready to take over the role as the active controller if any failure or power down of the active controller occurs. In one configuration, logical unit (LU) cache copies are maintained by each of the active controller and the standby controller. During operation, user space processes work to synchronize changes made to the LU cache, which include changes to logic unit numbers and port state information.
  • More detail regarding maintaining LU cache consistency among controllers of a storage array will be provided with reference to FIGS. 3A-6 below.
  • It should be noted that various embodiments described in the present disclosure may be practiced without some or all of these specific details. In other instances, well known process operations have not been described in detail in order not to unnecessarily obscure various embodiments described in the present disclosure.
  • One protocol is iSCSI (Internet Small Computer System Interface). iSCSI is used for interconnecting storage arrays to a network, which enables the transport of SCSI commands over Ethernet connections using TCP/IP (i.e., for IP networks). In such configurations, an iSCSI storage implementation can be deployed using Ethernet routers, switches, network adapters, and cabling.
  • Another protocol is Fibre Channel. Fibre Channel is a high-speed network technology, which is primarily utilized in storage array networks (SANs). Storage arrays are the target devices in a SAN configuration, wherein the fabric and initiators all intercommunicate using the Fibre Channel protocol. Fibre Channel Protocol (FCP) is a transport protocol (similar to TCP used in IP networks) that predominantly transports SCSI commands over Fibre Channel networks.
  • In accordance with various embodiments described herein, a storage array configurable for Fibre Channel mode or iSCSI mode is provided. The storage array can include logic and hardware to operate in the iSCSI mode and can implement one or more Ethernet cards. To operate in the Fibre Channel mode, the storage array is provided with a Fibre Channel (FC) card (e.g., a hardware card of the controller). The FC card is the link between the Fibre Channel physical network (i.e., PHY) and the Fibre Channel driver (FC) driver of the storage array.
  • FIG. 1A provides one example view of a storage array SCSI target stack 100. The stack includes a volume manager (VM) 102, which broadly includes the operating system (OS) 106 of the storage array and an I/O handling protocol 108 that processes read and write I/O commands to storage of the storage array. The I/O handling protocol, in one embodiment, is referred to herein as a cache accelerated sequential layout (CASL) process, which intelligently leverages unique properties of flash and disk of the storage array to provide high performance and optimal use of capacity. CASL functions as the file system of the array, albeit processing is generally performed at the block level instead of file level.
  • Below the VM 102 is a SCSI layer 104, which is configured to handle SCSI commands. In one embodiment, the SCSI layer 104 has been implemented to be independent of iSCSI transport functionality. For example, in storage arrays configured for pure iSCSI mode operation, the iSCSI transport 112 may include logic that is shared by the SCSI layer 104. However, to implement a Fibre Channel operating storage array, the SCSI layer 104 has been implemented to remove dependencies on the iSCSI transport 112. The SCSI target stack 100 further includes a Fibre Channel (FC) transport 110, which functions as user space for running various processes, which are referred to herein as daemons. The user-space of the FC transport 110 serves as the conduit to the SCSI target (i.e., SCSI layer 104).
  • A Fibre Channel (FC) driver 116 is further provided, which is in communication with a Fibre Channel (FC) card 118. In one embodiment, in order to interact with the FC card 118, which is a dedicated hardware/firmware, a dedicated FC driver 116 is provided. For each FC card 118 (i.e., port) in an array, an instance of the FC driver 116 is provided. The FC driver 116 is, in one embodiment, a kernel level driver that is responsible for interacting directly with the FC card 118 to retrieve incoming SCSI commands, request data transfer, and send SCSI responses, among other things. In one embodiment, the FC card 118 may be an adapter card, which includes hardware, firmware and software for processing Fibre Channel packets between the Fibre Channel fabric and the FC driver. In one specific example, the FC card 118 may be a Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapter (HBA) card. If the storage array is configured for iSCSI mode, Linux sockets are used to communicate with a TCP/IP network interface card (NIC), for communication with an Ethernet fabric.
  • FIG. 1B illustrates an example of a storage array 202, which includes an active controller 220, a standby controller 224, and storage (i.e., hard disk drives (HDDs) 226, and solid state drives (SSDs) 228). This configuration shows the storage array SCSI target stack 100 usable in each of the active and standby controllers 220 and 224, depending on the state of operation. For example, if the active controller 220 is functioning normally, the standby controller is not serving IOs to and from the storage, and ports of the standby controller are simply operational in a standby (SB) state in accordance with an asymmetric logical unit access (ALUA) protocol. The ALUA protocol is described in more detail in a Fibre Channel standard, entitled “Information technology-SCSI Primary Commands-4 (SPC-4)”, revision 36s, dated 21 March, 2014 (Project T10/BSR INCITS 513), which is incorporated herein by reference. Generally speaking, ALUA is a multi-pathing method that allows each port to manage access states and path attributes using assignments that include: (a) active/optimized (AO); (b) active/non-optimized (ANO); (c) standby (SB); unavailable (UA); and (d) logical block dependent (LBD).
  • In the example of FIG. 1B, it is noted that the standby controller 224 may not have the iSCSI transport 112 during the time it operates as a “standby” controller. If failover occurs and the standby controller 224 becomes the active controller 220, then the iSCSI transport 112 will be populated. Note also, that during Fibre Channel operation, the FC transport 110 is the module that is in operation. Alternatively, if the storage arrays are used in an iSCSI configuration, the iSCSI transport 112 will be needed, along with the Linux Sockets 114 to enable Ethernet fabric communication.
  • FIG. 1C shows an example of the active controller 220, which is configured with a data services daemon (DSD) 260. DSD 260 is designed to provide full access to the storage array 202 via the VM 102, which includes serving IOs to the volumes of the storage array 202 (e.g., in response to initiator access requests to the SCSI target storage array 202). The DSD 260 of the active controller 220 is a user space process. For failover capabilities within the active controller 220 itself, the user space of the active controller 220 also includes a standby failover daemon (SFD) 280 a. The SFD 280 a is configured as a backup process that does not process IOs to the volumes of the storage array 202, but can provide limited services, such as responding to information SCSI commands while the DSD 260 is re-started (e.g., after a crash). In one embodiment, SFD may also be referred to as a SCSI failover and forwarding daemon.
  • If the SFD 280 a takes over for the DSD 260, the I_T Nexus (i.e., connection) between initiators and the target array remain un-terminated. As will be described in more detail below in reference to a port-grab mechanism, during the transition between DSD 260 and SFD 280 a, the FC driver 116 can transition between user space partner processes (e.g., DSD/SFD), without terminating the SCSI I_T_Nexus and forcing the initiator to reestablish its connection to the target.
  • The standby controller 224 of the storage array 202 is also configured with an SFD 280 b in its user space. As noted above, the ports of the standby controller 224 are set to standby (SB) per ALUA. If a command is received by the SFD of the standby controller, it can process that command in one of three ways. In regard to a first way, for many commands, including READ and WRITE, the SCSI standard does not require the target to support the operation. For this case, SFD 280 b returns the SCSI response prescribed by the standard to indicate non-support. In a second way, among the mandatory-to-support SCSI commands, there are certain commands for which initiators expect quick response under all conditions, including during failover.
  • Examples include, without limitation, INQUIRY, REPORT_LUNS, and REPORT_TARGET_PORT_GROUPS. For these commands, SFD 280 b responds locally and independently. In a third way, for other mandatory-to-support SCSI commands (such as PERSISTENT_RESERVATION_IN/OUT), the SFD 280 b will depend on the DSD 260 process running on the active controller 220. Thus, a forwarding engine is used to forward SCSI commands from the standby controller 224 to the active controller 220. The active controller 220 will process the commands and send responses back to the standby controller 224, which will in turn send them to the initiator.
  • For commands that need to be processed locally, all information required to create an accurate and consistent SCSI response will be stored locally in an LU cache 290. As will be described in more detail below, a logical unit (LU) cache will be present on each of the active and standby controllers 220/224, and consistency methods ensure that all LU cache states are updated. The SFD 280 a/b uses the LU cache 290 to independently respond to a small number of commands, such as Inquiry, Report LUNs and RTPG.
  • Furthermore, in Fibre Channel, each FC transport endpoint is identified by a Fibre Channel (FC) World Wide Node Name (WWNN) and World Wide Port Name (WWPN). It is customary and expected that all ports for a given target advertise the same single WWNN. The client OS storage stack will establish a single FC connection to each available FC transport endpoint (WWNN/WWPN pair). In some embodiments, when the FC requires a separate WWNN/WWPN pair for each target, the single-LUN target model would require a separate WWNN/WWPN pair for each exported volume. It should be understood that Single-LUN target models are just one example, and other configurations that are not Single-Lun target may also be implemented in some configurations. In one example of storage array 202, it may have two FC transport endpoints for each of the active controller 220 and the standby controller 224. That is, the active controller 220 may have two ports (i.e., two WWNN/WWPN pairs), and the standby controller 224 may also have two ports (i.e., two WWNN/WWPN pairs). It should be understood that the configuration of the storage array 202 may be modified to include more or fewer ports.
  • The LUN mapping is configured to persistently store the mapping information and maintain consistency across reboots. The LUN mapping is stored in the LU cache 290. The DSD 260 and SFD 280 a and 280 b are provided with direct access to the LU cache 290. As will be described below in more detail, the LU cache 290 a/b will also store inquiry data and port state information. In one embodiment, as described with reference to FIGS. 3A and 3B below, a GDD 297 (Group Data Daemon) and a GMD 298 (Group Management Daemon) may be used to maintain LUN mapping information for each initiator. GDD 297, from SCSI perspective, is configured to work with SCSI layer 104 to handle SCSI Reservation and TMF (task management function). In one embodiment, GDD 297 will support iSCSI login and connection re-balancing for when the storage array 202 is configured/used as an iSCSI target. In one configuration, GDD 297 and GMD 298 operate as a configuration management unit 291.
  • It will be apparent that the present embodiments may be practiced without some or all of these specific details. Modification to the modules, code and communication interfaces are also possible, so long as the defined functionality for the storage array or modules of the storage array is maintained. In other instances, well-known process operations have not been described in detail in order not to unnecessarily obscure the present embodiments.
  • Storage Array Example Structure
  • FIG. 2 illustrates an example of the architecture of a storage array 102, according to one embodiment. In one embodiment, storage array 102 includes an active controller 220, a standby controller 224, one or more HDDs 226, and one or more SSDs 228. In one embodiment, the controller 220 includes non-volatile RAM (NVRAM) 218, which is for storing the incoming data as it arrives to the storage array. After the data is processed (e.g., compressed and organized in segments (e.g., coalesced)), the data is transferred from the NVRAM 218 to HDD 226, or to SSD 228, or to both.
  • In addition, the active controller 220 further includes CPU 208, general-purpose RAM 212 (e.g., used by the programs executing in CPU 208), input/output module 210 for communicating with external devices (e.g., USB port, terminal port, connectors, plugs, links, etc.), one or more network interface cards (NICs) 214 for exchanging data packages through network 256, one or more power supplies 216, a temperature sensor (not shown), and a storage connect module 222 for sending and receiving data to and from the HDD 226 and SSD 228. In one embodiment, the NICs 214 may be configured for Ethernet communication or Fibre Channel communication, depending on the hardware card used and the storage fabric. In other embodiments, the storage array 202 may be configured to operate using the iSCSI transport or the Fibre Channel transport.
  • Active controller 220 is configured to execute one or more computer programs stored in RAM 212. One of the computer programs is the storage operating system (OS) used to perform operating system functions for the active controller device. In some implementations, one or more expansion shelves 230 may be coupled to storage array 202 to increase HDD 232 capacity, or SSD 234 capacity, or both.
  • Active controller 220 and standby controller 224 have their own NVRAMs, but they share HDDs 226 and SSDs 228. The standby controller 224 receives copies of what gets stored in the NVRAM 218 of the active controller 220 and stores the copies in its own NVRAM. If the active controller 220 fails, standby controller 224 takes over the management of the storage array 202. When servers, also referred to herein as hosts, connect to the storage array 202, read/write requests (e.g., I/O requests) are sent over network 256, and the storage array 202 stores the sent data or sends back the requested data to host 204.
  • Host 204 is a computing device including a CPU 250, memory (RAM) 246, permanent storage (HDD) 242, a NIC card 252, and an I/O module 254. The host 204 includes one or more applications 236 executing on CPU 250, a host operating system 238, and a computer program storage array manager 240 that provides an interface for accessing storage array 202 to applications 236. Storage array manager 240 includes an initiator 244 and a storage OS interface program 248. When an I/O operation is requested by one of the applications 236, the initiator 244 establishes a connection with storage array 202 in one of the supported protocols (e.g., iSCSI, Fibre Channel, or any other protocol). The storage OS interface 248 provides console capabilities for managing the storage array 202 by communicating with the active controller 220 and the storage OS 106 executed therein. It should be understood, however, that specific implementations may utilize different modules, different protocols, different number of controllers, etc., while still being configured to execute or process operations taught and disclosed herein.
  • As discussed with reference to FIGS. 1A-1C, in a storage array 202, a kernel level process occurs at the FC driver 116, which is charged with communicating down with the Fibre Channel (FC) card 118. The FC card 118, itself includes firmware that provides the FC processing between the FC driver 116 and the physical network (PHY) or Fibre Channel fabric. In the illustrated configuration, the FC driver 116 is in direct communication with the user space, which includes the FC transport 110, the SCSI layer 104.
  • FIG. 3A illustrates an example logical diagram of a storage array 202, which includes an active controller 220 and a standby controller 224. The active controller 220 is shown to include DSD 260 and SFD 280 a, while the standby controller 224 includes an SFD 280 b. Generally speaking, the DSD 260 is a primary process and the SFD 280 a and SFD 280 b are secondary processes. In one embodiment, the DSD 260 running on the active controller 220 is provided with access to a fully functioning volume manager (VM) 102, while the SFD 280 a of the active controller 224 and the SFD 280 b of the standby controller 224 are only provided with a VM stub 102′. This means that VM stub 102′ is not provided with access to the storage of the storage array 202. For example, the SCSI layer 104 may make calls to the VM stub 102′, as the code used for the DSD 260 may be similar, yet a code object is used so that an error or unavailable response is received from the VM stub 102′, as no access to the VM is provided. Also shown is that the SFD 280 a on the active controller 220 and the DSD 260 have access to the LU cache 290 a. As noted above, the LU cache 290 a is configured to store available LUN mapping, inquiry data and port state information. The standby controller 224 also includes an SFD 280 b that has access to LU cache 290 a.
  • As noted, a SCSI logical unit is visible through multiple Fibre Channel ports (namely, all of the ports which reside on arrays within the logical unit's pool). An initiator may issue a SCSI command to any of these ports, to request the port state for all ports through which the logical unit may be accessed. In one embodiment, this requires a CMD 402 (Controller Management Daemon) to monitor port state for FC target ports on a given array 202, report initial state and state changes to AMD 404 (Array Management Daemon). The AMD 404 will forward this information to GDD 297. GDD 297 is a clearing house for all FC target ports in the entire group, and will disseminate this information to DSD 260. DSD 260 will retrieve the port state and store it into the LU cache 290 a.
  • In one embodiment, the SCSI layer 104 within DSD 260 and SFD 280 will need access to several pieces of system information, in order to process SCSI commands. This information includes LUN mapping information, e.g. to build REPORT_LUNS responses, and to validate and map a logical unit number to its associated volume. The SCSI layer 104 will need access to the FC port state to build REPORT_TARGET_PORT_GROUPS response, and to determine the port_identifier fields for certain SCSI INQUIRY responses. The LU cache 290 a, being accessible to DSD 260 and SFD 280 a will enable memory-speed access to the LU cache 290 a. The DSD 260 is, in one embodiment, configured to build the LU cache 290 a so it can quickly retrieve the needed LUN mapping and port state information from GDD 297 and make this information available to SFD 280 a and 280 b processes. The SFD 280 b on the standby controller 224 maintains communication with DSD 260 on the active controller 220, to maintain an up-to-date copy of LU cache 290 b.
  • At startup, DSD 260 needs an up-to-date LU cache 290 a in order to handle incoming SCSI commands. Therefore, during startup, DSD 260 needs to retrieve from GDD 297 the LUN mapping configuration and current port state information, and populate the LU cache 290 a (or verify the validity of the existing LU cache 290 a). DSD 260 also needs to notify the SFD 280 b on the standby controller 224 if the LU cache 290 a contents are updated. DSD 260 also needs to interact with the FC kernel driver 116, to claim responsibility for current and future SCSI I_T nexuses and commands.
  • Thus, in order for DSD 260 to process non LU_CACHE-variety commands directed to a specific logical unit (e.g. READ and WRITE), the contents of the LU cache 290 a is necessary, but not sufficient. The SCSI layer 104 within DSD 260 consults the LU cache 290 a in order to validate the specified LU number, and to map the LU number to a backing-store volume. Then the SCSI command handler can process the command to the proper volume.
  • On the active controller 220, if the SFD 280 b gains access (i.e., via port grab when DSD 260 goes down), SFD 280 b will get the latest copy of the LU cache, as previously populated by DSD 260, which may be by directly accessing a shared memory segment. Thus, whenever DSD 260 is unavailable (e.g. crashed or is restarting), SFD 280 a services certain SCSI commands. For LU_CACHE-variety commands, SFD 280 a fully processes the commands using only information from the LU cache 290 a. For other commands, SFD 280 a returns appropriate responses indicating that the command could not be immediately completed.
  • On the standby controller 224, SFD 280 b always responds to certain incoming SCSI commands. For LU_CACHE-variety commands, SFD 280 b fully processes the commands using only information from the LU cache 290 b. For commands which constitute LUN-level serializing events (e.g. SCSI Reservations, LUN_RESET), interaction with GDD 297 is required by the DSD 260 which is providing access to the affected LUN. In one embodiment, SFD 280 b on the standby controller 224 is not permitted to communicate directly with GDD 297, so this is achieved using a proxy service provided for this purpose by DSD 260 on the active controller 220. If DSD 260 is available, the command is handled using this DSD proxy service. If DSD 260 is not available, error response is provided. For other commands, SFD 280 b returns SCSI responses as appropriate for such commands received on ALUA standby ports.
  • In general and in one configuration, the two processes (e.g., primary process (DSD 260) and secondary process (SFD 280)) provide various advantages and efficiencies in storage architectures. One technical advantage is seamless transition from standby-mode to full active-optimized mode on the standby controller, as it becomes the active controller. Another technical advantage is reduced disruption on a single controller during short periods of DSD 260 down time (e.g. DSD crashes, but failover not triggered).
  • In one configuration, a storage array 202 includes an active controller 220 and a standby controller 224. As mentioned above, the LU cache 290 a is a module shared by DSD 260 and SFD 280 a that caches data needed to serve certain SCSI commands. With multi-LUN target Fibre Channel, the SFD 280 a will also be serving SCSI commands, but SFD 280 a does not have access to VM 102. Multi-LUN target is an implementation that requires tracking of LUN to Volume mappings. LU cache 290 a is designed as a way for SFD 280 a to provide volume attribute and LUN inventory information to the SCSI layer 104 in the absence of VM 102 access.
  • Conceptually, LU cache 290 a sits between the SCSI layer 104 in DSD 260 and SFD 280 a (i.e., user space), and the configuration information is stored in a configuration database 296, referred to herein as a scale-out database. As an advantage, the configuration database 296 stores configuration information, which may be used for scale-out and non-scale out implementations. The configuration database 296, in one embodiment, is designed as a persistent storage of LUN data (e.g., LUN inventory information (i.e., LUN mapping), inquiry data, port state info, etc.), which is provided to the DSD 260 by GDD 297 (e.g., based on changes made using GMD 298). The configuration database 296 is generally storing configuration data. LU cache 290 a presents access interfaces to SCSI layer 104 and modifier interfaces to GMD 298 and GDD 297. In one embodiment, the GMD 298 and GDD 297 are collectively operating as a configuration management unit 291 for the array 202, as shown in FIG. 3A. The configuration management unit 291, e.g., one or both of GDD 297 and GMD 298, is further shown interfaced with the configuration database 296. In one embodiment, LU cache 290 is implemented as a library linked in by SFD 280 a, DSD 260 and GDD 297.
  • In one embodiment, the configuration management unit 291 includes GDD 297 and GMD 298. In specific examples, GMD 298 (Group Management Daemon) is a process primarily responsible for system management of a storage group. A storage group is a cluster of arrays with a single shared management plane. In one example, GMD 298 provides APIs (programmatic interfaces) and CLIs (command line interfaces) by which administrators can perform management operations, such as provisioning and monitoring storage. In one example, GDD 297 (Group Data Daemon) is a process responsible for coordinating distributed data path operations in a storage group. For example, this may include acquiring and checking SCSI reservations, and iSCSI login permissions.
  • GMD 298 and GDD 297 further provide an interface to SODB (i.e., the configuration database 296), which is a persistent store for configuration information in a storage group, and it communicates with DSD 260, AMD 404, and other processes to perform management activities. The information in LU cache is a subset of the information in SODB. LU cache is initialized by fetching data from GDD 297, and then incremental updates are applied via GMD 298.
  • FIG. 3B illustrates another embodiment, wherein the VM stubs 102′ are not part of the design. In this embodiment, different SCSI layer 104 libraries are used for SFD 280 (i.e., 280 a and 280 b) and DSD 260. By providing different SCSI layer 104 libraries for SFD 280 and DSD 260, calls made to the VM 102 via the SCSI layer 104 of either the active controller SFD 280 a or the standby controller SFD 280 b will not be provided with access to the VM 102. In one embodiment, an error may be returned or an unavailable response may be returned by the SCSI layer 104 library of the respective SFD 280. In one embodiment, the SCSI layer 104 of the SFD 280 a and 280 b implement error handling, which avoids the need for a VM stub 102′. On the other hand, if the SCSI layer 104 of the active controller DSD 260 receives the request to access the VM 102, access will be provided.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates how LU cache 290 a and 290 b is distributed in each array 202 a and 202 b. Each DSD 260 of each storage array will have a copy of LU cache 290 a, which it manages and provides access to SFD 280 a on the active controller 220 and sends to SFD 280 b on the standby controller 224. On the active controller 220, one copy of LU cache 290 a is shared by DSD 260 and SFD 280 a. As noted above, configuration database is persistent storage for holding LUN mapping, inquiry data and port state information, when SODB data is available. In one embodiment, a GDD 297 (Group Data Daemon) and a GMD 298 (Group Management Daemon) will maintain the persistent storage and provide this data to the DSDs 260 for populating the LU caches 290 a and 290 b. As can be appreciated, consistency is most important between controllers (i.e., active controller 220 and standby controller 224) within a single storage array 202, because in the event of one controller fails the other one can have an up to date, and correct copy of LU cache 290. Although consistency in a pool configuration is also beneficial, it is less important to maintain exact consistence between different arrays in a pool. Accordingly, in one embodiment, an implementation enforces that two controllers 220/224 in a storage array 202 are consistent, but allows temporary inconstancy between two arrays in a pool.
  • In some implementations, the configuration database 296 will also store other information that is sent to DSD 260 for populating LU cache 290 a. This information may include VolSnap, which is a combination of VolUid and SnapshotUid. These values are stored in the configuration database 296 and sent to or retrieved by DSD 260 via GMD 298 using Simple Object Access protocol (SOAP) calls. In one embodiment, logical unit (LU) serial numbers may be derived from the VolSnap. VolSnap may be used as a vol handle for (initiator, lun) and vol mapping in LU cache 290. Accordingly, VolSnap may be stored in LU cache 290 a. Additionally, Iqn Uniquifier, which is a hash of the volume containing group UID (T: UID of the group that contained the volume when the volume was created and which can change after group merge) may also be stored in LU cache 290 a. In one embodiment, this information can be used together with VolSnap to create a serial number.
  • These are just some examples of types of data that can be cached in LU cache 290 a/b, and other data may also be included depending on the implementation. For example, LUN inventory data can also be stored in LU cache 290 a, which in a multi-lun target is needed to identify a list of LUNs available to an initiator. This is also needed to respond to REPORT_LUNS which is a command identified as requiring fast response from SFD 280 a. Volume Size is a volume attribute stored in the configuration database 296 and is propagated to VM 102 via GMD 298 and DSD 260 using SOAP. In one example, this data is used to respond to REPORT_CAPACITY which is a command identified as requiring fast response from SFD 280 a. Accordingly, it should be understood that configuration database 296 and LU cache 290 a may include a variety of data that can be shared to storage arrays and must be kept consistent among the active and standby controllers and among arrays.
  • FIG. 5 illustrates an architecture, which includes DSD 260, LU cache 290 a and 290 b, and SFD 280 a and 280 b. The solid arrows show inter-process communication, while dotted arrows show interaction between a process and a data store. In this one example, a solid arrow's tail corresponds to a client of cache data and the head corresponds to the server of cache data. Generally, therefore, a dotted arrow's tail points to a process and a head points to the data store. In this example, storage array 202 b (Array 2) is the group leader (GL) of a cluster of two arrays. For this reason, GMD 298 and configuration database 296 are also managed by the GL, which is Array 2. If a single array were present, then GMD 298 and configuration database 296 would be handled by that single array. Of course, grouping of arrays enables clustering (e.g., pooling) of arrays for performance, such as in scale-out implementations.
  • The SFD 280 a is a process, wherein a single instance runs on every controller (220 and 224). SFD 280 a includes SCSI layer 104 and Transport layer 110 (see FIG. 3), but does not incorporate the VM 102. In one embodiment, the SFD 280 a has the ability to independently respond to some SCSI commands like REPORT LUNS, INQUIRY, REPORT TARGET PORT GROUPS, by consulting the LU cache 290 a locally on the controller that it is running on. However, an SFD 280 a is not able to handle READ and WRITES, as SFD 280 a and 280 b do not have access to a VM 102. As shown, the SFD 280 b also has the ability to forward SCSI requests to DSD 260 on the active controller 220.
  • In one embodiment, DSD 260 is able to respond to requests from SFD 280 a and 280 b. In one configuration, the LU cache 290 a is a single instance that is available on every controller. In one embodiment, LU cache 290 a is required primarily by SFD 280 a, but DSD 260 may also use LU cache 290 a. As mentioned, LU cache 290 a has all the information necessary for SFD 280 a to generate SCSI responses to a small set of commands that include at least Inquiry, Report LUNs and RTPG. GMD is enhanced to respond to on-change notifications from DSD 260 (local or remote) and to generate on-change notifications that affect LU cache 290 a state. Configuration database 296, in one embodiment, can be enhanced to also store new ALUA related state information.
  • In one embodiment, management changes may be made at the active controller 220, and those changes should consistently be made at the standby controller 224. As discussed and shown in FIG. 4, both the active controller 220 and the standby controller 224 include a LU cache 290 a and LU cache 290 b, respectively. Consistency is needed so that the LU cache 290 a of the active controller 220 is maintained in sync with the LU cache 290 a of the standby controller 224. This is particularly needed in cases of failover, wherein the active controller 220 may fail and the standby controller 224 is required to take over the role of active controller 220. If consistency is not maintained, there may be cases where changes and/or updates to configuration data (e.g., LUN mapping, inquiry data, and port state info) in the LU cache 290 a of the active controller 220 is not yet present in the LU cache 290 a of the standby controller 224. In another case, the LU cache 290 b of the standby controller 224 may have a state that is ahead of the state of the LU cache 290 a of the active controller. Thus, within a storage array 202, it is important for the controllers to have a consistent LU cache 290 a and 290 b.
  • Consistency in LU cache 290 a and 290 b is even a stronger requirement for arrays within a pool of arrays. The reason is that if an inconsistency between arrays causes an initiator to miss a path, it still has other available paths through other arrays. Those paths may be less performant but there is no loss of service. However if an initiator misses a path from one controller in an array, and a failover occurs, the initiator will lose all paths.
  • In one embodiment, the flow of changes to LU cache 290 a flow from GMD 298 to DSD 260 to SFD 280 b. In this configuration, DSD 260 does not get changes from SFD 280 a/b. If DSD 260 has crashed then changes can occur in GMD 298, but those will remain in pending state and will be retried.
  • As noted, the goal is for DSD 260 and SFD 280 b to always have exactly the same data. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to have the same data for two processes across a potentially unstable link to always be consistent, as it is always possible for a message from one to the other to be lost. Given this inherent constraint, one method is provided so that the order in which updates are made reduces inconsistency.
  • FIG. 6 illustrates the active controller 220 with DSD 260 and the standby controller 224 with SFD 280 b. Also shown is that GMD 298 may enable configuration updates by GDD 297 to the LUNs. The configuration updates are stored in the configuration database (SODB) and GDD 297 will send to DSD 260 changes [1] that are pushed [2] to SFD 280 b. At this point, if SFD 280 b is operational, SFD 280 b will commit the changes [2.5] to LU cache 290 a in the standby controller 224. Then, SFD 280 b acknowledges [3] back to DSD 260 that the changes were received and/or committed. At this point, DSD 260 is allowed to commit [4] the changes to LU cache 290 a of the active controller 220.
  • In one embodiment, if step [3] fails, SFD 280 b will have committed a change that DSD 260 still has not committed. This is because DSD 260 is configured to commit after it receives the acknowledgement from SFD 280 b, and therefore SFD 280 b will be ahead (i.e., will have newer data, not yet committed to LU cache 290 a of the active controller 220). In one embodiment, the GMD 298 processes are configured to retry telling DSD 260 of the changes, following steps [1]-[4] until it eventually resolves this situation. That is, DSD 260 and SFD 280 b will have the same LU cache 290 a data. In another embodiment, it is possible to order it so DSD 260 commits first, but that would risk a new LUN coming online without any standby paths which would be a higher availability risk, but it would still be possible as an alternate configuration.
  • In one embodiment, a ping/pong heartbeat is processed between SFD 280 b of the standby controller 224 and DSD 260 of the active controller 220. SFD 280 b sends a ping message to DSD 260 and DSD 260 responds with a pong every second. If the ping does not go through then the pong response will also not be sent. If SFD 280 b has not received a pong for a period of time (e.g., in 5 minutes) it restarts. If DSD 260 has not received the ping in a period of time (e.g., in 5 minutes) it can infer that SFD 280 b has restarted because no pong messages have been sent. In one embodiment, DSD 260 must push any delta update to SFD 280 b before committing, but in this state it knows SFD 280 b is not up (e.g., the time period has passed) so it's free to accept more changes. The DSD 260 knows that if the standby controller 224 cannot reach the active controller 220 for some time (e.g., 5 minutes), then standby controller 224 is programmed to restart itself so it can then get LU cache 290 a from DSD 260 running on the active controller 220.
  • In one embodiment, the secondary process (SFD 280) must restart itself after the predetermined period of time (e.g., 5 minutes). The primary process (DSD 260) is allowed to commit an unacknowledged transaction (e.g., a transaction for which a confirmation of commitment is not received), because the primary process knows (e.g., by programming) that the secondary (SFD 280) should have restarted. However, the primary process (DSD 260) is not just “waiting a period of time” but specifically waiting a pre-defined amount of time after which secondary process (SFD 280) must have restarted. Accordingly, the primary process commits the update to the first LU cache after waiting the period of time, as the secondary process is programmed to have restarted after the period of time has been reached.
  • It should further be understood that the period of time of 5 minutes is just an example, and lower time settings, such as 30 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 4 minutes, or time selected between 1 second and 30 minutes may be used, depending on the configuration of the system.
  • In on embodiment, LU cache 290 updates are initiated by configuration changes in GMD 298 and configuration database 296. To manage LUN inventory, one embodiment will use application programming interfaces (APIs). Some APIs may include, just for example:
  • void add_initiator_to_igroup(wwn_t wwpn, uint64_t igroupid)
  • void add_lun_to_igroup(uint64_t igroupid, uint64_t lun, VolSnap vs)
  • void add_vol(VolSnap vs, uint64_t capacity)*
  • void remove_initiator_from_from_igroup(wwn_t wwpn, uint64_t igroup)
  • void remove_lun_from_igroup(uint64_t igroupid, uint64_t lun, VolSnap vs)
  • void remove_vol(VolSnap vs, uint64_t capacity)
  • These calls are made in GDD 297 when DSD 260 requests a new cache. GDD 297 reads SODB (i.e., the configuration database 296) and builds a complete LU cache using these calls, and transmits it to DSD 260 via a remote procedure call (RPC). These calls are also made in DSD 260 when GMD 298 does incremental updates. In one embodiment, call for port information can also be me made via APIs, such as a port->portset->igroup mappings.
  • In one embodiment, the SFD 280 and DSD 260 need to request an LU cache 290 (i.e., most current version of the cache contents) on startup, and GDD 297 needs to push out a new LU cache 290 after management operations.
  • In one example, the LU cache is implemented as a collection of containers stored in logically contiguous memory. This structure containing the LU cache data structures is called the LucStore. The LucStore, in one example, contains three maps:
  • FcpinitiatorMap: Initiator WWPN->IgroupSet
  • IgroupMap: Igroups ID->LunMap for the Igroup
  • VolumeMap: VolSnap->Volume attributes
  • The contents of the Initiator and Igroup Maps are themselves containers:
  • IgroupldSet: A set of igroup ids
  • LunMap: LU number->VolSnap
  • In one embodiment, the truth for LU cache is what is stored in the configuration database 296 (SODB). The LucStore structure is created by GDD 297 on the group leader (GL), and transmitted to DSD 260 on each array on the request, and then transmitted from DSD 260 to SFD 280. The LU cache is therefore stored in a shared memory object by DSD 260 and SFD 280. Further, in one example, GDD 297 on the group leader (GL) may be able to use the same shared memory object as DSD 260. In one alternative is to store LU cache in a file so it can be recovered after reboot.
  • In general, when changes or updates are made to the configuration data 296 via the configuration management unit 291, those updates that affect LU cache must be propagated or pushed down to DSD 260, which in turn propagates to SFD 280 for commitment to LU cache 290 b and then LU cache 290 a. Additionally, changes to port information is communicated up to the configuration management unit 291 using CMD 402 that communicates directly with the FC Kernel driver 116, and the AMD 404 (e.g., see FIGS. 3A/3B). Once the configuration management unit 291 has changes to port data (e.g., changes and/or updates), this data can be pushed to DSD 260, which in turn propagates to SFD 280 for commitment to LU cache 290 b and then LU cache 290 a. This process ensures that the SCSI layer 104 has the most current LUN mapping data and/or most current port data. Having the most current and accurate information in LU cache 290 a and 290 b ensures that the SCSI layer 104 can more rapidly respond to requests from initiators with accurate data. This fast and accurate reply is also beneficial in the case of failover cases, wherein the standby controller 224 may become the active controller 220. This benefit is also useful in cases where the DSD 260 may go down and the SFD 280 may take over the primary role of responding to requests, using LU cache 290 b. Again, these are just examples, and those skilled in the art will appreciate that various combinations of the disclosed embodiments and elements are possible.
  • Example Storage Array Infrastructure
  • In some embodiments, a plurality of storage arrays may be used in data center configurations or non-data center configurations. A data center may include a plurality of servers, a plurality of storage arrays, and combinations of servers and other storage. It should be understood that the exact configuration of the types of servers and storage arrays incorporated into specific implementations, enterprises, data centers, small office environments, business environments, and personal environments, will vary depending on the performance and storage needs of the configuration.
  • In some embodiments, servers may be virtualized utilizing virtualization techniques, such that operating systems can be mounted on hypervisors to allow hardware and other resources to be shared by specific applications. In virtualized environments, storage is also accessed by virtual hosts that provide services to the various applications and provide data and store data to storage. In such configurations, the storage arrays can be configured to service specific types of applications, and the storage functions can be optimized for the type of data being serviced.
  • For example, a variety of cloud-based applications are configured to service specific types of information. Some information requires that storage access times are sufficiently fast to service mission-critical processing, while other types of applications are designed for longer-term storage, archiving, and more infrequent accesses. As such, a storage array can be configured and programmed for optimization that allows servicing of various types of applications. In some embodiments, certain applications are assigned to respective volumes in a storage array. Each volume can then be optimized for the type of data that it will service.
  • As described above with reference to FIG. 2, the storage array 202 can include one or more controllers 220, 224. One controller serves as the active controller 220, while the other controller 224 functions as a backup controller (standby). For redundancy, if the active controller 220 were to fail, immediate transparent handoff of processing (i.e., fail-over) can be made to the standby controller 224. Each controller is therefore configured to access storage 1130, which in one embodiment includes hard disk drives (HDD) 226 and solid-state drives (SSD) 228. As mentioned above, SSDs 228 are utilized as a type of flash cache, which enables efficient reading of data stored to the storage 1130.
  • As used herein, SSDs functioning as “flash cache,” should be understood to operate the SSD as a cache for block level data access, providing service to read operations instead of only reading from HDDs 226. Thus, if data is present in SSDs 228, reading will occur from the SSDs instead of requiring a read to the HDDs 226, which is a slower operation. As mentioned above, the storage operating system 106 is configured with an algorithm that allows for intelligent writing of certain data to the SSDs 228 (e.g., cache-worthy data), and all data is written directly to the HDDs 226 from NVRAM 218.
  • The algorithm, in one embodiment, is configured to select cache-worthy data for writing to the SSDs 228, in a manner that provides an increased likelihood that a read operation will access data from SSDs 228. In some embodiments, the algorithm is referred to as a cache accelerated sequential layout (CASL) architecture, which intelligently leverages unique properties of flash and disk to provide high performance and optimal use of capacity. In one embodiment, CASL caches “hot” active data onto SSD in real time—without the need to set complex policies. This way, the storage array can instantly respond to read requests—as much as ten times faster than traditional bolt-on or tiered approaches to flash caching.
  • For purposes of discussion and understanding, reference is made to CASL as being an algorithm processed by the storage OS. However, it should be understood that optimizations, modifications, additions, and subtractions to versions of CASL may take place from time to time. As such, reference to CASL should be understood to represent exemplary functionality, and the functionality may change from time to time, and may be modified to include or exclude features referenced herein or incorporated by reference herein. Still further, it should be understood that the embodiments described herein are just examples, and many more examples and/or implementations may be defined by combining elements and/or omitting elements described with reference to the claimed features.
  • In some implementations, SSDs 228 may be referred to as flash, or flash cache, or flash-based memory cache, or flash drives, storage flash, or simply cache. Consistent with the use of these terms, in the context of storage array 102, the various implementations of SSD 228 provide block level caching to storage, as opposed to instruction level caching. As mentioned above, one functionality enabled by algorithms of the storage OS 106 is to provide storage of cache-worthy block level data to the SSDs, so that subsequent read operations are optimized (i.e., reads that are likely to hit the flash cache will be stored to SSDs 228, as a form of storage caching, to accelerate the performance of the storage array 102).
  • In one embodiment, it should be understood that the “block level processing” of SSDs 228, serving as storage cache, is different than “instruction level processing,” which is a common function in microprocessor environments. In one example, microprocessor environments utilize main memory, and various levels of cache memory (e.g., L1, L2, etc). Instruction level caching, is differentiated further, because instruction level caching is block-agnostic, meaning that instruction level caching is not aware of what type of application is producing or requesting the data processed by the microprocessor. Generally speaking, the microprocessor is required to treat all instruction level caching equally, without discriminating or differentiating processing of different types of applications.
  • In the various implementations described herein, the storage caching facilitated by SSDs 228 is implemented by algorithms exercised by the storage OS 106, which can differentiate between the types of blocks being processed for each type of application or applications. That is, block data being written to storage 1130 can be associated with block data specific applications. For instance, one application may be a mail system application, while another application may be a financial database application, and yet another may be for a website-hosting application. Each application can have different storage accessing patterns and/or requirements. In accordance with several embodiments described herein, block data (e.g., associated with the specific applications) can be treated differently when processed by the algorithms executed by the storage OS 106, for efficient use of flash cache 228.
  • Continuing with the example of FIG. 2, that active controller 220 is shown including various components that enable efficient processing of storage block reads and writes. As mentioned above, the controller may include an input output (I/O) 210, which can enable one or more machines to access functionality of the storage array 202. This access can provide direct access to the storage array, instead of accessing the storage array over a network. Direct access to the storage array is, in some embodiments, utilized to run diagnostics, implement settings, implement storage updates, change software configurations, and/or combinations thereof. As shown, the CPU 208 is communicating with storage OS 106.
  • One or more embodiments can also be fabricated as computer readable code on a non-transitory computer readable storage medium. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium is any non-transitory data storage device that can store data, which can thereafter be read by a computer system. Examples of the non-transitory computer readable storage medium include hard drives, network attached storage (NAS), read-only memory, random-access memory, CD-ROMs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, magnetic tapes and other optical and non-optical data storage devices. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium can include computer readable storage medium distributed over a network-coupled computer system so that the computer readable code is stored and executed in a distributed fashion.
  • The method operations were described in a specific order, but it should be understood that other housekeeping operations may be performed in between operations, or operations may be adjusted so that they occur at slightly different times, or may be distributed in a system which allows the occurrence of the processing operations at various intervals associated with the processing, as long as the processing of the overlay operations are performed in the desired way.
  • Although the foregoing embodiments have been described in some detail for purposes of clarity of understanding, it will be apparent that certain changes and modifications can be practiced within the scope of the appended claims. Accordingly, the present embodiments are to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive, and the embodiments are not to be limited to the details given herein, but may be modified within the scope and equivalents of the described embodiments and sample appended claims.

Claims (32)

  1. 1. A method for maintaining consistency in configuration data between processes running on an active controller and a standby controller of a storage array, comprising,
    executing a primary process in user space of the active controller, the primary process configured to process request commands from one or more initiators, the primary process having access to a volume manager for serving data input/output (I/O) requests and non-I/O requests, the primary process having primary access to the configuration data and having a first logical unit (LU) cache for storing the configuration data;
    executing a secondary process in user space of the standby controller, the secondary process configured to process request commands from one or more of the initiators, the secondary process not having access to the volume manger, the secondary process having a second LU cache for storing the configuration data, the second LU cache being used by the secondary process for responding to non-I/O requests;
    receiving, at the primary process, an update to the configuration data;
    sending, by the primary process, the update to the configuration data to the secondary process for updating the second LU cache, and if the primary process receives an acknowledgement from the secondary process that the update to the configuration data was received, then committing the updates to the configuration data to the first LU cache of the active controller.
  2. 2. The method of claim 1, wherein if the primary process does not receive the acknowledgement from the secondary process, then waiting a period of time before committing the update to the first LU cache,
    wherein the primary process commits the update to the first LU cache after waiting the period of time, as the secondary process will have restarted after the period of time has been reached.
  3. 3. The method of claim 2, wherein the period of time is determined when a heart-beat exchange between the secondary process and the primary process is missing.
  4. 4. The method of claim 1, wherein the primary process includes a first SCSI layer for processing calls to the volume manager for serving the data input/output (I/O) requests and non-I/O requests.
  5. 5. The method of claim 1, wherein the secondary process includes a second SCSI layer for processing calls to a volume manager, wherein code of the second SCSI layer is configured to return an error or an unavailable response to said SCSI layer calls since the volume manager having access for serving the data input/output (I/O) requests is not made available via the secondary process.
  6. 6. The method of claim 1, further comprising,
    providing the primary process with communication access to a configuration database, the configuration database is configured to persistently store configuration updates made to logical unit number (LUN) masking and mapping, and configuration updates made to port name generation and port configuration.
  7. 7. The method of claim 1, wherein a SCSI layer of the active controller is provided with an access interface to the first LU cache, and the first LU cache operates as a library linked between the primary process, the secondary process and a configuration management unit that is interfaced with a configuration database.
  8. 8. The method of claim 1, wherein the secondary process uses a proxy service of the primary process to communicate with a configuration database regarding changes to the second LU cache.
  9. 9. The method of claim 1, wherein the primary process is configured to push said updates to the configuration data to the secondary process for commitment, such that updates to be made to the first LU cache are made to the second LU cache.
  10. 10. The method of claim 1, further comprising,
    resending the update to the configuration data to the primary process until committed, wherein the primary process commits after receipt of the acknowledgement from the secondary process to avoid having the second LU cache having an update that is not yet committed to the first LU cache.
  11. 11. The method of claim 1, further comprising,
    receiving port state data a management configuration unit from a process that monitors port information, the management configuring unit is then configured to instruct the primary process of the update to the configuration data that includes said port state data.
  12. 12. The method of claim 1, wherein the secondary process is further executed in the user space of the active controller, such that each of the active controller and the standby controller executes a respective one of the secondary process, the secondary process of the active controller has access to the first LU cache, whereas the secondary process of the standby controller has access to the second LU cache.
  13. 13. The method of claim 1, further comprising,
    providing at least two of said storage array;
    designating one of said storage array as a group leader (GL) to form a pool of storage arrays;
    executing a configuration management unit on the GL; and
    receiving changes at each primary process of each storage array from the configuration management unit of the GL, such that each primary process of each storage array pushes updates to respective secondary processes so that first and second LU cache in each of the active controller and standby controller of respective array is maintained consistent for the pool of storage arrays.
  14. 14. The method of claim 1, wherein the first and second LU cache is configured to store said configuration data related to one or more of LUN mapping data, or port state data, or inquiry data, or combinations of two or more thereof.
  15. 15. A storage array, comprising,
    (a) an active controller configured to execute a primary process and a first secondary process,
    (i) the primary process includes a volume manager and a first SCSI layer;
    (ii) the first secondary process includes a second SCSI layer; and
    (iii) a first logical unit (LU) cache, the first LU cache configured to store configuration data related to logical unit number (LUN) mapping and port data;
    (b) a standby controller configured to execute a second secondary process,
    (i) the second secondary process includes a third SCSI layer;
    (ii) a second logical unit (LU) cache, the second LU cache is also configured to store the configuration data related to logical unit number (LUN) mapping and port data; and
    (c) a configuration management unit that is configured to communicate changes to the configuration data to the primary process, the primary process is configured to push said changes to the configuration data to said second secondary process to enable commitment to said second LU cache, wherein the primary process of the active controller is configured to wait to commit the changes to the configuration data to the first LU cache until confirmation is received by the primary process that the second secondary process has committed the changes to the configuration data to the second LU cache;
    wherein the storage array is configured to service requests from one or more initiators.
  16. 16. The storage array of claim 15, wherein said first SCSI layer and said second SCSI layer each have access to the first LU cache, and said third SCSI layer has access to the second LU cache.
  17. 17. The storage array of claim 15, wherein the configuration management unit is interfaced with a configuration database.
  18. 18. The storage array of claim 15, wherein if the primary process does not receive a confirmation from the secondary process, then waiting a period of time before committing the update to the first LU cache, such that the primary process commits the update to the first LU cache after waiting the period of time, as the secondary process is programmed to have restarted after the period of time has been reached.
  19. 19. The storage array of claim 15, further comprising a controller management daemon to monitor port state of the storage array, wherein changes to port state are received by the configuration management unit, said changes to are defined as changes to the configuration data that are stored to a configuration database and pushed to the primary process of the active controller for propagation to the first LU cache and the second LU cache.
  20. 20. The storage array of claim 15, wherein the volume manager is provided with access to storage of the storage array and only the primary process is used for serving data input/output (I/O) requests.
  21. 21. The storage array of claim 15, wherein two or more of said storage arrays are programmable to operate as a pool of arrays, wherein one of said pool of arrays is a group leader (GL) and each of said storage arrays has a respective first LU cache and second LU cache.
  22. 22. A storage array, comprising,
    an active controller configured to execute a primary process that includes a volume manager and a first SCSI layer, the active controller further includes a first logical unit (LU) cache for storing configuration data related to logical unit number (LUN) mapping and port data of the storage array;
    a standby controller configured to execute a secondary process (280 b), the secondary process includes a second SCSI layer, the standby controller further includes a second logical unit (LU) cache that is also configured to store the configuration data related to logical unit number (LUN) mapping and port data of the storage array; and
    a configuration management unit that is configured to communicate changes to the configuration data to the primary process, the primary process is configured to push said changes to the configuration data to said secondary process to enable commitment to said second LU cache,
    wherein the primary process of the active controller is configured to wait to commit the changes to the configuration data to the first LU cache until confirmation is received by the primary process that the secondary process has committed the changes to the configuration data to the second LU cache;
    wherein the storage array is configured to service requests from one or more initiators.
  23. 23. The storage array of claim 22, wherein the active controller includes a second secondary process having a third SCSI layer,
    wherein the first and third SCSI layer is provided access to the first LU cache of the active controller and the second SCSI layer is provided with access to the second LU cache of the standby controller;
    wherein the first SCSI layer of the active controller is used to make updates to the first LU cache and pushes said updates to the second SCSI layer of the standby controller for making said updates to the second LU cache.
  24. 24. The storage array of claim 22, further comprising a controller management daemon to monitor port state of the storage array, wherein changes to the port state are received by the configuration management unit, said changes to are defined as changes to the configuration data that are stored to a configuration database and pushed to the primary process of the active controller for propagation to the first LU cache and the second LU cache.
  25. 25. The storage array of claim 22, wherein the volume manager is provided with access to storage of the storage array and only the primary process is used for serving data input/output (I/O) requests to initiators that use the storage array as a target.
  26. 26. The storage array of claim 22, wherein two or more of said storage arrays are programmable to operate as a pool of arrays, wherein one of said pool of arrays is a group leader (GL) and each of said storage arrays has a respective first LU cache and second LU cache.
  27. 27. Computer readable media, being non-transitory, for maintaining consistency in configuration data between processes running on an active controller and a standby controller of a storage array, comprising,
    program instructions for executing a primary process in user space of the active controller, the primary process configured to process request commands from one or more initiators, the primary process having access to a volume manager for serving data input/output (I/O) requests and non-I/O requests, the primary process having primary access to the configuration data and having a first logical unit (LU) cache for storing the configuration data;
    program instructions for executing a secondary process in user space of the standby controller, the secondary process configured to process request commands from one or more of the initiators, the secondary process not having access to the volume manger, the secondary process having a second LU cache for storing the configuration data, the second LU cache being used by the secondary process for responding to non-I/O requests;
    program instructions for receiving, at the primary process, an update to the configuration data;
    program instructions for sending, by the primary process, the update to the configuration data to the secondary process for updating the second LU cache, and if the primary process receives an acknowledgement from the secondary process that the update to the configuration data was received, then committing the updates to the configuration data to the first LU cache of the active controller.
  28. 28. The computer readable media of claim 27, further comprising,
    program instructions for determining if the primary process does not receive the acknowledgement from the secondary process, and then waiting a period of time before committing the update to the first LU cache;
    wherein the primary process commits the update to the first LU cache after waiting the period of time, as the secondary process will have restarted after the period of time has been reached.
  29. 29. The computer readable media of claim 28, wherein the period of time is determined when a heart-beat exchange between the secondary process and the primary process is missing.
  30. 30. The computer readable media of claim 27,
    wherein the primary process includes a first SCSI layer for processing calls to the volume manager for serving the data input/output (I/O) requests and non-I/O requests;
    wherein the secondary process includes a second SCSI layer for processing calls to a volume manager, wherein code of the second SCSI layer is configured to return an error or an unavailable response since the volume manager having access for serving the data input/output (I/O) requests is not made available via the secondary process.
  31. 31. The computer readable media of claim 27, further comprising,
    program instructions for providing the primary process with communication access to a configuration database, the configuration database is configured to persistently store configuration updates made to logical unit number (LUN) masking and mapping, and configuration updates made to port name generation and port configuration.
  32. 32. The computer readable media of claim 27, for at least two of said storage array, the computer readable media includes,
    program instructions for designating one of said storage array as a group leader (GL) to form a pool of storage arrays;
    program instructions for executing a configuration management unit on the GL; and
    program instructions for receiving changes at each primary process of each storage array from the configuration management unit of the GL, such that each primary process of each storage array pushes updates to respective secondary processes so that first and second LU cache in each of the active controller and standby controller of respective array is maintained consistent for the pool of storage arrays.
US14846689 2014-09-15 2015-09-04 Fibre Channel Storage Array Methods for Handling Cache-Consistency Among Controllers of an Array and Consistency Among Arrays of a Pool Abandoned US20160077752A1 (en)

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