I have hit a problem with zones in relation to doing Solaris upgrades - I can’t do them currently. I have expended considerable effort in trying to be positioned to do upgrades but they do not work for me as currently implemented. I’ll provide a summary of my situation and then make suggestions as to what I think needs to be done to make upgrades work. Let me know how you see it.
Background: I have production Solaris 10 Update 1 environments installed on 11 servers that I want to upgrade to Update 2 (or 3 or …) to get the new zone features. It is not feasible to rebuild these servers each time an update with a desired new feature or improvement is released so upgrades must be able to be done. The number of installed non-global zones per server varies from none to a current maximum of 11 (expected to reach around 20 on my five E2900 servers). On each server with installed zones, the zone root filesystems are each configured on individual SAN LUNs (8 GB for sparse zones, 12 GB for whole root zones) to make sure there is enough operational space for /var logs, lightly used home directories, required open source software, etc. Zones with heavy home directory requirements also have a separately mounted LUN for /export/home and each zone has 1-to-n separate LUNs for application filesystems. All of the servers have Sun-branded Qlogic HBAs that use the Leadville driver for SAN attachment which makes sure the drivers are available in the DVD mini-root. MPXIO has been turned on to make sure there are multiple paths to the zone root LUNs so that there is redundant access in case of HBA failure. This environment works fine operationally and for patching. The Problem: I have tried unsuccessfully to upgrade one of my lab servers that is configured with 2 zones and opened a case with support only to be told that because the DVD mini-root does not support MPXIO, upgrades cannot be done and that I need to open a RFE to get that fixed; Engineering also noted that a future release of Live Upgrade will include MPXIO support and that should resolve the issue. Not only did the upgrade not work but it left the server OS trashed because it had already done the global upgrade before failing because it wasn’t able to find the zone roots to finish the upgrade. The real problem is that the upgrade process cannot identify and mount the zone roots to do the upgrade and as a result, the upgrade fails. Although it superficially appears that this is due to MPXIO not being available in the mini-root, isn’t really an MPXIO issue but an issue of the zone roots being implemented on external LUNs. The same exact problem would exist if the zone roots are mounted on any external drive without MPXIO because the controller address of the mountpoint in the vfstab would be unlikely to match the controller address allocated by the mini-root, again causing the mounts to fail during an upgrade. Live Upgrade is not currently an option nor do I expect it to ever be an option (even with MPXIO support) both because of the way my zone roots are mounted and because my E2900 servers have only 2 internal drives which are mirrored for high availability leaving no place to do a Live Upgrade. I think this points to a more basic functional integration problem with doing upgrades that hasn’t been considered in the overall zone implementation design. The design seems to assume that all zone roots are implemented on an internal drive; in that scenario, there is no problem because the zone roots are always on a drive available and easily identified when booted from the DVD mini-root. That’s great in the lab or if there is a huge internal drive that can truly hold all zone roots. It would be great if the marketing myth that all zones can be tiny were true. Unfortunately, that doesn’t account for the need to run zones operationally with usefully sized space for /var, /export, and /opt. In my case, that would mean an internal drive capable of holding at least 200 GB for zone roots, plus swap, plus around another 12 GB for the global zone OS and /var. Even if that size drive were available, I wouldn’t want to use it because of much poorer performance for the zones than for those installed on individual drives/LUNs due to the drive latency and head position conflict issues of being on one single drive. I think of a couple of ways to handle upgrades that would solve my problem. Fix Option 1: The fix needed for the upgrade process requires that the upgrade process be able to discover the location of each of the zone roots whether they are on internal or external drives and then mount them as part of the upgrade process. If a drive can be seen from the mini-root and zones have been implemented, the zone root(s) should be able to be discovered using data from the boot disk’s vfstab and some kind of probing procedure. At a minimum, LUNs visible from HBAs supported in the Leadville driver should be able to be discovered. The upgrade process must also be changed to make sure all of the filesystems needed for doing an upgrade are available before actually starting the upgrade - if not, the upgrade should be failed; that way the server would still be usable if, for example, not all of the zone roots were discovered. In addition, if some kind of tag is placed in a zone root to enable the upgrade discovery process, there should be a utility created to implement the tag in older zones which do not have them; this utility could be a prereq to performing an upgrade. BTW, I think this would break Live Upgrade. Fix Option 2: As an alternative suggestion that might not break Live Upgrade, I suggest that the upgrade process for zones be made a separate step that is done to each zone on first boot once the global zone is upgraded. In this case, it wouldn’t matter where the zone roots were mounted because the upgrade would only be done once the zone roots are mounted. I think this would at least require a new zone status but might be easier to accomplish than my first suggestion. Thoughts? This message posted from opensolaris.org _______________________________________________ zones-discuss mailing list email@example.com