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Must-have firmware, patches for 7.5 install?

We have just started up a new A-class 2-way running 7.5 PP5. This system is configured with 4GB RAM, a VA7410 running off two PCI FC Host Bus Adapters, one DTC 16, and two SureStore DDS-2 tape drives running off the LVD SCSI interface. SUBSYS products consist of NS, COBOL, and FORTRAN. We do use FTP, incoming and outgoing. We will probably start using Sendmail for a few things (as an old Unix admin, I respect Sendmail, but do not fear it!) Our primary use for this system is MANMAN with around 170 users.

Our third party portfolio is the usual: Suprtool, MPEX, Minisoft ODBC, and Adager, plus some other odds and ends. So, for this kind of system, what are the “must have” patches that we should install on top of PP5?

After Gilles Schipper assured the manager that "PowerPatch 5 should be all you need," Jack Connor replied:

You may want to check the PDC firmware level. I believe the Fiber Channel patches found in 43.43 for the N class are in 43.50 for the A. You can see the PDC level at the boot menu.

Do you have an HP-UX or Windows box with Command View set up to monitor the VA? It's very advisable, as you can do a lot of drill down if you have problems and all can be remote to the system. Did you configure High Availability Fail Over (HAFO)? You may want to offload the CIO network interface card with a standalone 100Bt card and leave your DTC on the CIO.

Craig Lalley added:

Yes, MPE can do HAFO. What I do is configure all the odd LUNs down one path and all the even LUNs down the second path. Then SYSGEN IO HA , and then create the secondary path. It works on the VAs because all the LUNs are seen down both paths.

Lalley added that firmware will be an important part of configuring such a system.
Don't forget to put the correct firmware on the VA7410 controllers and disk. To update the firmware, CommandView is required.

The latest firmware bundle (that I know of) can be found at HP's Biz Support website

HP's Jim Hawkins says that HAFO was built for the any SCSI disk device where a manager can see LUNs on more than one port. But HAFO really wasn't useable until Fiber Channel took off on the 3000s.

Original HAFO was with XP256 F/W SCSI, but that was a pretty clunky device even when it was “state of the art”. HAFO really didn’t become useable until FC. I lead the FC-based effort and we did all of our work on XP and then VA devices, because they were what worked at the time; those are the configurations that were officially supported, blessed, and used successfully by many customers.

We did evaluate EVA [storage] products and they did “work” as disks, but they didn’t have this “LUNs visible on more than one path” feature until way too late for lab development and certification. HAFO probably would work on EMC, though our co-development/marketing agreement with them had terminated by the time HAFO was developed. They did continue to advertise support for MPE/iX systems long after we stopped working with them.