powervault 660f management

by nc on December 10, 2007 · 14 comments

I’ve received a few requests over time about how to manage a Dell PowerVault 660F from Linux hosts, most recently from a nice guy named Robert. He reminded me that I really should post some information on this here, as it can be hard to find.

Standard Disclaimer: If you follow any of my tips and it breaks your array, I can’t help. It’s been a long time since I’ve touched one of them. These instructions are for informational purposes only.

Basically, all I can recommend is to scrap Dell’s OpenManage utilities. They make it very hard to manage the array in a way that lets it be used easily for Linux-based hosts. The RAID controllers are actually Mylex FFX controllers, and you can download the OEM software (eArray Director) from:

http://www.engenio.com/support/profibre_downloads.html

It makes management of these arrays just like most other arrays — it allows you to set up the LUN’s, map the LUN’s to specific connected hosts, etc. Makes life way easier. Oh, yeah, it also runs on Linux.

Also, if you are not running a recent firmware version, upgrade! If I recall correctly (it’s been awhile since I’ve used my array; it’s actually in my basement waiting for eBay right now), the most recent “Dell-supported” version is 7.82. There is also an 8.40 image available that I’ve read works. I’ve put a few images up at:

http://www.natecarlson.com/downloads/powervault-660f/

Let me know how things go!

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert Wagnon December 11, 2007 at 9:14 am

Nate’s suggests worked great. It took a lot of research to find answers on the 660F and Nate had the real answer without needing to read between the lines. Without this, the 660F is JBOD.

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Robert Wagnon March 23, 2008 at 12:17 am

The PowerVault 660F is a Mylex FFX controller. The firmware at LSI works up to version 8.4. All the later firmware versions are for FFX-2 controllers.

There is also software available at http://www.sli-consulting.com/products_software.htm called X-DAM 2 that is an alternative to eArray Director. It looks much worse, but has additional features.

Also, the later firmware downloads include a Global Array Management system that works with the 660F. This provides in OS status of the SAN including SNMP, this is the most professional of the software, but can’t configure the RAID.

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Robert March 22, 2009 at 10:19 am

Did you ever come up with solutions for multipath IO on the 660F? (from Windows without the Dell Application Transparent Failover software)

Thanks again!

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nc March 22, 2009 at 12:13 pm

I was able to do multipath with it under Linux with QLogic’s multipath drivers (this was a long time ago!); I’d imagine it would also work with dm-multipath (which is the current Linux-ish way ofd oing it.) I haven’t used it under Windows at all, so can’t really be of much help there. ;( I’d hope they would have built-in multipath, but have no idea..

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Vantseto August 10, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Can you fix the http://www.natecarlson.com/downloads/powervault-660f/ link. It does not work. I am looking for 8.4 for 660f. i guess, this is the latest that works properly, right?
Does anyone know the exact memory that the controllers will take? i am having problems finding the right memory

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nc August 14, 2009 at 9:03 am

Gah, sorry for breaking that! It’s fixed now.

8.4 is the latest I’ve used; not sure on the memory, but I can try to tear one of my controllers apart and take a look if it’d help.

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scornell August 25, 2009 at 10:13 am

I was thinking of procuring a Dell Powervault 660F along with a 224F to have 28 drives total. It would be hooked up to my Dell Poweredge 1750 via the PCI-X Slots installed with a Qlogic card in each. Would I be able to set it up as a RAID array? I really don’t want a JBOD setup. I was hoping to set it up via the PowerEdge to be a redundant backup server to preserve data.

Any help/guidance would be appreciated, as I would like to know before I make that purchase.

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nc August 25, 2009 at 2:47 pm

@scornell — yes, the configuration you describe will work fine for that. The RAID controllers are built into the PV660F. You will need either to use separate LUN’s for each server or have cluster filesystem software if you want to share storage across both.

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Marco October 1, 2009 at 1:14 am

I got a pv660f with 3 224f enclosures…

I did load the 8.4 firmware provided with the link but was that for the enclosures only and not for the controllers???

I think I badly screwed up my array since I flashed both controllers :P leaving me with no communication to the controllers… I found a doc that explains how to connect to the array via a VT100 console but is there any chances I’ll salvage the unit or should I shop for 2 new controllers (cheap and available on ebay).

Other than that.. it was fun the time it worked :D

Could you also maybe provide info for all the other files??? what are they???

Thanks

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nc April 19, 2010 at 7:43 am

Wow, sorry for the late reply!

Yeah, the ‘enclosure’ / ‘enc’ files are designed for the enclosure, not the controllers. I *think* it should be possible to recover from a bad flash on the controllers with a serial connection though – have you tried that?

I will have to go back over and review the list of files again (it’s been awhile!) and see if I can remember what they are. ;)

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Jim April 18, 2010 at 11:08 am

Hi, your site has been a great help in finding software and info about the 660f. I’m wondering though, what the difference is between the 2 8.4 firmwares you have up?

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nc April 19, 2010 at 8:03 am

Good question! I’m not remembering, sigh..

IIRC, Anything with ‘enc’ or ‘enclosure’ in it is enclosure management, flashed to the enclosure instead of controllers.. I do not recall what ‘gos’, ‘com’, or ‘unq’ stand for, and my Google-fu is failing me. I may need to pull my 660F off the shelf in my basement to figure this out, sigh! :)

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Jim April 19, 2010 at 8:39 am

Hey thanks for looking, to save you pulling it down, the gos_com is Mylex DACFFx and the Enclosure-WWN.JMR is JMR Fortra M3.

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