On one of the projects that I have been working on lately we have been replacing all of the existing EMC storage with HP Storage. I’m not going to go into which one I think is better or worse. I am just going to cover how PowerPath is able to work with other storage arrays also. So in my search to determine if I would be able to continue to use the existing PowerPath licenses that exist at the client or if they would need to use the base MPIO software that HP provides. To those that have used PowerPath in the past you would probably agree that it is a great MPIO application and has a lot of other features available also.
For system admins it can make things like monitoring the health of your SAN connections and identifying which LUN correlates to the disk that you need expanded so much easier. So for these reasons it would be best for them to continue to use PowerPath. I searched the web for feedback to see what others have been doing and was surprised to see nothing. There was really no feedback out there. I did find some details about using PowerPath/VE with HP arrays but this version is for Hypervisors not Windows servers.
So after some further digging I was able to determine that I could use PowerPath version 5.5 with Windows servers to manage MPIO with HP Storage arrays. It will work with both EVA and XP class storage from HP. There are 32 bit and 64 bit versions available and I was able to test on both Windows Server 2003 and 2008 so far.
The install of PowerPath is pretty straight forward, the only thing that you must do special is to select the custom install option. You can see from the image below that you will have a few options to choose from for 3rd party Array support. I selected both the HP XP and Hitachi support since they will be using both EVA and HP XP’s which are made by Hitachi in the environment. After a reboot and a quick vDisk assignment on the EVA the storage was showing up properly in Windows.
The only part that was left was to get used to how the storage details would be showing up in PowerPath. Now when your using EMC storage the LUN ID with show up in the LUN column and is nice and clear. But when using it with the HP EVA the only way to match up the windows disk to the vDisk on the EVA was to use the Device details listed for the disk within PowerPath. I took a snapshot of the screen below.
You then need to match up the Device details that you found in PowerPath with the vDisk on the EVA that you can see by using the Command View EVA console. You can see that the WW LUN Name for the vDisk matches up with the Device column inside of PowerPath and this will help you match up your vDisks with the Windows disks. This makes disk expansions and assigning disks with different Raid levels to the proper drive letter in Windows much easier.Read More