Storage UPDATE--Multipath I/O--January 12, 2004

This Issue Sponsored By

Microsoft(r) and Quest Software(r)

http://www.quest.com/landing/winnet_storage011204.asp

Exchange & Outlook Administrator

http://www.exchangeadmin.com/rd.cfm?code=fsep234xup

===============

1. Commentary

- Why Windows Administrators Should Care About MPIO

2. News and Views

- Apple Computer Releases Xserve RAID

3. Announcements

- The Windows & .NET Magazine Network VIP Web Site/Super CD Has It All!

- Newsflash: SQL Server and .NET Are a Powerful Duo

4. Resource

- "STOP 0x00000027 in mrxsmb.sys" Error Message When You Try to Copy Files to a Network-Attached Storage Device in Windows Server 2003

5. Event

- New Web Seminar: Email Is a Service--Manage It Like One

6. New and Improved

- Expansion Array and Storage Server

- Automatically Copy Changed Files

- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

7. Contact Us

- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

==== Sponsor: Microsoft(r) and Quest Software(r) ====

Determine Potential Savings - Get Your Storage Assessment

Disk space is cheap, but managing storage isn't. How are you planning to tackle this growing concern? Determine your company's storage fitness, potential TCO and achievable project savings with Microsoft(r) and Quest Software's Storage Optimization Offering. Get on the road to storage fitness. Determine potential savings - get your storage assessment at:

http://www.quest.com/landing/winnet_storage011204.asp

==========

==== 1. Commentary ====

by Jerry Cochran, jerryco@exchange.microsoft.com

Why Windows Administrators Should Care About MPIO

If you're a Windows administrator who has dealt with storage for a while, you've probably lamented how poorly Windows handles multiple paths to storage resources. You might have spent a lot of time and money (e.g., investing in RAID, clustering, and third-party solutions) trying to ensure that your storage is highly available only to find that you still had a point of failure: the paths from the server to the storage device. Because the path to a storage device can encompass many components (e.g., buses, cabling, switches, controllers, connectors, host bus adapters--HBAs), ensuring that each link in that chain is strong can be difficult at best. If you've employed a specific vendor's multipathing technology to ensure that your systems can use multiple I/O paths to storage devices, you might also have been frustrated by the fact that the solution provided neither redundancy nor load balancing particularly well.

The problem with early versions of Windows was that the Windows storage I/O subsystem didn't natively support multipath failover or I/O load balancing. Windows was simply ignorant of more than one path to a storage device. Storage vendors eager to differentiate their platform from competitors' products in the Windows space quickly (and inadequately) filled this functionality gap. However, every vendor did so uniquely and with varying degrees of success. For example, EMC's and HP's multipathing solutions worked differently and wouldn't interoperate.

From Microsoft's viewpoint, such third-party solutions generated endless support calls when they didn't work. In addition, keeping all the solutions in sync with Windows releases became a nightmare--and one that IT shops ultimately paid the price for.

Enter Microsoft Multipath I/O (MPIO). With MPIO, Microsoft provides native OS drivers and support for multipathing. Each storage vendor must then develop what Microsoft calls a device-specific module (DSM) to integrate MPIO with the specifics of the vendor's hardware solution. Microsoft requires the products to meet standards (i.e., through the Windows Logo program) that ensure compatibility and functionality.

MPIO starts with the base OS and relies on the Windows Plug and Play (PnP) facilities to dynamically detect and configure storage devices. By seamlessly working with the PnP architecture, the MPIO driver can detect and configure storage devices and the I/O paths to those devices.

Another key to the MPIO solution is the successful enumeration of storage devices as they are detected. For enumeration to work, each device must have a unique identifier. Rather than using disk signatures (the traditional means of unique identification), MPIO uses hardware information available from the vendor, such as a device serial number. Each device must be identified by vendor and type--is the device unique, or is it one that PnP has already identified and accounted for through another path? Because not all vendors enumerate and uniquely identify devices the same way, the MPIO drive and the vendor DSM work together to identify devices in a way that's compatible with the MPIO architecture.

MPIO also supports load balancing of the I/O paths to storage transparently and without administrator intervention. MPIO does this by maintaining an understanding of which paths are active and available based on policies and information that the vendor's DSM provides. If, after receiving an I/O request, MPIO determines that a path is inactive, MPIO can automatically initiate a transparent failover and ensure that paths to storage devices are available.

Microsoft put a lot of effort into MPIO to address a myriad of past concerns and frustrations. MPIO is really a two-part solution, consisting of MPIO drivers provided by Microsoft and DSMs provided by vendors. The result is a common framework for multipath I/O that's independent of the storage vendor. The MPIO approach should make the storage vendor's work easier and substantially reduce Microsoft's support burden for multipath solutions. Ultimately, IT customers will reap the benefits of being able to deploy storage infrastructures with robust support for multipath redundancy and scalability.

==== Sponsor: Exchange & Outlook Administrator ====

Try a Sample Issue of Exchange & Outlook Administrator!

If you haven't seen Exchange & Outlook Administrator, you're missing out on key information that will go a long way towards preventing serious messaging problems and down time. Request a sample issue today, and discover tools you won't find anywhere else to help you migrate, optimize, administer, and secure Exchange and Outlook. Order now!

http://www.exchangeadmin.com/rd.cfm?code=fsep234xup

==== 2. News and Views ====

by Keith Furman, keith@winnetmag.com

Apple Computer Releases Xserve RAID

Apple Computer released its first major storage solution at Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco this week. The new Xserve RAID storage system offers as many as 3.5TB of storage capacity in a 3U (5.25") rack enclosure. During the unveiling, Apple went to great lengths to ensure wide industry support for the new product by certifying the product with 11 companies, including Brocade, Microsoft, QLogic, Red Hat, and VERITAS Software.

"For the first time, customers running Windows and Linux can take advantage of Xserve RAID's incredible price performance and breakthrough technology," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing. According to the company, Xserve RAID successfully completed all the tests required for qualification under Microsoft's Designed for Windows Logo Program for Windows Server 2003. As for Linux, Red Hat said that Xserve RAID is the first Apple product the company has certified on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform.

Increasingly over the past year, Apple has tried to become more involved in enterprise solutions. The company is traditionally known for its Macintosh OS and niche computers. The company faces an uphill battle in the storage industry, competing as it will against companies such as Dell, EMC, HP, and Iomega for market share in small and midsized businesses. Apple's work to ensure support for its product by other industry solutions should definitely make a big difference.

The Xserve RAID is an IDE-based storage system with 14 independent ATA/100 drive channels. The system connects to servers through Fibre Channel. The primary configuration tool for the Xserve RAID is a Java-based management utility called RAID Admin, which permits RAID Set Slicing and Set Expansion as well as offering testing and repair tools. Xserve RAID is available from Apple and Apple authorized resellers in three standard configurations ranging in price from $5999 to $10,999. When ordered directly from Apple, Xserve RAID can also be customized.

http://www.apple.com/xserve/raid

==== 3. Announcements ====

(from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

The Windows & .NET Magazine Network VIP Web Site/Super CD Has It All!

With a VIP Web site/Super CD subscription, you'll get online access to all of our publications, a print subscription to Windows & .NET Magazine, and a subscription to our VIP Web site, a banner-free resource loaded with articles you can't find anywhere else. Click here to find out how you can get it all at 25 percent off!

http://www.winnetmag.com/rd.cfm?code=edep273lup

Newsflash: SQL Server and .NET Are a Powerful Duo

SQL Server Magazine is a dynamic library made up of SQL Server and Windows .NET Framework expertise. Whether you're looking for novice or advanced-level content, SQL Server Magazine will help you do your job better. Subscribe today and receive 12 print issues, along with full access to the entire online article archive. Click here:

https://secure.pentontech.com/nt/sql/index.cfm?promocode=psep2141ss

==== 4. Resource ====

"STOP 0x00000027 in mrxsmb.sys" Error Message When You Try to Copy Files to a Network-Attached Storage Device in Windows Server 2003

Windows Server 2003 sites that attempt to copy large files to a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device might receive the error message "STOP 0x00000027 (baad00a0, b053a380, b0539fd8, b18d4a81) in mrxsmb.sys." (The parameters of the message's stop code can vary.) Microsoft has made available a hotfix that addresses this problem. For more information about the error and to obtain this hotfix, click the following URL:

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=831128

==== 5. Event ====

(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

New Web Seminar: Email Is a Service--Manage It Like One

True end-to-end management of the messaging infrastructure requires an integrated, service-oriented approach. This free Web seminar introduces service-driven management and best practices for managing and monitoring the key elements crucial to ensuring email health and performance, including Exchange Server, Active Directory, network, and storage. Sign up today!

http://www.winnetmag.com/seminars/emailservice/index.cfm?code=adzt

==== 6. New and Improved ====

by Renee Munshi, products@winnetmag.com

Expansion Array and Storage Server

Snap Appliance introduces the Snap Disk 10, a 1U (1.75"), 1TB expansion array engineered for use with the Snap Server 4500. The combination provides as much as 3TB of native capacity in 3U (5.25") of rack space. Snap Appliance also announced that the Snap Server 14000 is now available with 3TB of capacity and enhanced features for $20,995. The Snap Disk 10/Snap Server 4500 combination and the Snap Server 14000 both use RAID, hot-swappable disk drives, Snapshot technology, and data replication for backup and recovery. For more information about Snap Disk 10 or Snap Server 14000, call 888-343-7627 or visit the Snap Appliance Web site.

http://www.snapappliance.com

Automatically Copy Changed Files

FSoft has released RTMirror, a real-time folder-mirroring application. RTMirror lets you specify one or more folders on your local hard disk. As you modify files in those folders, RTMirror copies them to another folder (either on another hard disk or on another networked computer). RTMirror requires Windows XP, Windows 2000, or later and costs about $35. (Volume discounts are available, and a trial version is available online.) For more information, go to the following URL:

http://www.fsoft.it/rtmirror

Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a Windows & .NET Magazine T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to whatshot@winnetmag.com.

==== Sponsored Links ====

Microsoft(R) Security Readiness Kit

Get your free kit for creating an enhanced risk-management plan.

http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;6600432;8214395;e?http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;6576037;8608804;t?http://www.microsoftsecuritysolutions.com/Default.asp?id=ros

VMware Inc.

Are you an MCSE/MCP? Let VMware Workstation put $100 in your pocket.

http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;6966714;8214395;w?http://www.vmware.com/wl/offer/497/0

=========

==== 7. Contact Us ====

About the commentary -- jerryco@exchange.microsoft.com

About the newsletter -- bgibbens@winnetmag.com

About technical questions -- http://www.winnetmag.com/forums

About product news -- products@winnetmag.com

About your subscription -- storageupdate@winnetmag.com

About sponsoring UPDATE -- emedia_opps@winnetmag.com

==========

This email newsletter is brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine, the leading publication for IT professionals deploying Windows and related technologies. Subscribe today.

http://www.winnetmag.com/sub.cfm?code=wswi201x1z

Manage Your Account

You are subscribed as #EmailAddr#.

You received this email because you requested to receive additional information about products and services from the Windows & .NET Magazine Network. To unsubscribe, send an email to mailto:Storage-UPDATE_Unsub@list.winnetmag.com. Thank you!

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Windows & .NET Magazine, a division of Penton Media, Inc.

221 East 29th Street, Loveland, CO 80538

Attention: Customer Service Department

Copyright 2004, Penton Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

Storage UPDATE--Multipath I/O--January 12, 2004

==== This Issue Sponsored By ====

Microsoft(r) and Quest Software(r)

http://www.quest.com/landing/winnet_storage011204.asp

Exchange & Outlook Administrator

http://www.exchangeadmin.com/rd.cfm?code=fsep234xup

==========

1. Commentary

- Why Windows Administrators Should Care About MPIO

2. News and Views

- Apple Computer Releases Xserve RAID

3. Announcements

- The Windows & .NET Magazine Network VIP Web Site/Super CD Has It All!

- Newsflash: SQL Server and .NET Are a Powerful Duo

4. Resource

- "STOP 0x00000027 in mrxsmb.sys" Error Message When You Try to Copy Files to a Network-Attached Storage Device in Windows Server 2003

5. Event

- New Web Seminar: Email Is a Service--Manage It Like One

6. New and Improved

- Expansion Array and Storage Server

- Automatically Copy Changed Files

- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

7. Contact Us

- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

==== Sponsor: Microsoft(r) and Quest Software(r) ====

Determine Potential Savings - Get Your Storage Assessment

Disk space is cheap, but managing storage isn't. How are you planning to tackle this growing concern? Determine your company's storage fitness, potential TCO and achievable project savings with Microsoft(r) and Quest Software's Storage Optimization Offering. Get on the road to storage fitness. Determine potential savings - get your storage assessment at:

http://www.quest.com/landing/winnet_storage011204.asp

==========

==== 1. Commentary ====

by Jerry Cochran, jerryco@exchange.microsoft.com

Why Windows Administrators Should Care About MPIO

If you're a Windows administrator who has dealt with storage for a while, you've probably lamented how poorly Windows handles multiple paths to storage resources. You might have spent a lot of time and money (e.g., investing in RAID, clustering, and third-party solutions) trying to ensure that your storage is highly available only to find that you still had a point of failure: the paths from the server to the storage device. Because the path to a storage device can encompass many components (e.g., buses, cabling, switches, controllers, connectors, host bus adapters--HBAs), ensuring that each link in that chain is strong can be difficult at best. If you've employed a specific vendor's multipathing technology to ensure that your systems can use multiple I/O paths to storage devices, you might also have been frustrated by the fact that the solution provided neither redundancy nor load balancing particularly well.

The problem with early versions of Windows was that the Windows storage I/O subsystem didn't natively support multipath failover or I/O load balancing. Windows was simply ignorant of more than one path to a storage device. Storage vendors eager to differentiate their platform from competitors' products in the Windows space quickly (and inadequately) filled this functionality gap. However, every vendor did so uniquely and with varying degrees of success. For example, EMC's and HP's multipathing solutions worked differently and wouldn't interoperate.

From Microsoft's viewpoint, such third-party solutions generated endless support calls when they didn't work. In addition, keeping all the solutions in sync with Windows releases became a nightmare--and one that IT shops ultimately paid the price for.

Enter Microsoft Multipath I/O (MPIO). With MPIO, Microsoft provides native OS drivers and support for multipathing. Each storage vendor must then develop what Microsoft calls a device-specific module (DSM) to integrate MPIO with the specifics of the vendor's hardware solution. Microsoft requires the products to meet standards (i.e., through the Windows Logo program) that ensure compatibility and functionality.

MPIO starts with the base OS and relies on the Windows Plug and Play (PnP) facilities to dynamically detect and configure storage devices. By seamlessly working with the PnP architecture, the MPIO driver can detect and configure storage devices and the I/O paths to those devices.

Another key to the MPIO solution is the successful enumeration of storage devices as they are detected. For enumeration to work, each device must have a unique identifier. Rather than using disk signatures (the traditional means of unique identification), MPIO uses hardware information available from the vendor, such as a device serial number. Each device must be identified by vendor and type--is the device unique, or is it one that PnP has already identified and accounted for through another path? Because not all vendors enumerate and uniquely identify devices the same way, the MPIO drive and the vendor DSM work together to identify devices in a way that's compatible with the MPIO architecture.

MPIO also supports load balancing of the I/O paths to storage transparently and without administrator intervention. MPIO does this by maintaining an understanding of which paths are active and available based on policies and information that the vendor's DSM provides. If, after receiving an I/O request, MPIO determines that a path is inactive, MPIO can automatically initiate a transparent failover and ensure that paths to storage devices are available.

Microsoft put a lot of effort into MPIO to address a myriad of past concerns and frustrations. MPIO is really a two-part solution, consisting of MPIO drivers provided by Microsoft and DSMs provided by vendors. The result is a common framework for multipath I/O that's independent of the storage vendor. The MPIO approach should make the storage vendor's work easier and substantially reduce Microsoft's support burden for multipath solutions. Ultimately, IT customers will reap the benefits of being able to deploy storage infrastructures with robust support for multipath redundancy and scalability.

==== Sponsor: Exchange & Outlook Administrator ====

Try a Sample Issue of Exchange & Outlook Administrator!

If you haven't seen Exchange & Outlook Administrator, you're missing out on key information that will go a long way towards preventing serious messaging problems and down time. Request a sample issue today, and discover tools you won't find anywhere else to help you migrate, optimize, administer, and secure Exchange and Outlook. Order now!

http://www.exchangeadmin.com/rd.cfm?code=fsep234xup

==== 2. News and Views ====

by Keith Furman, keith@winnetmag.com

Apple Computer Releases Xserve RAID

Apple Computer released its first major storage solution at Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco this week. The new Xserve RAID storage system offers as many as 3.5TB of storage capacity in a 3U (5.25") rack enclosure. During the unveiling, Apple went to great lengths to ensure wide industry support for the new product by certifying the product with 11 companies, including Brocade, Microsoft, QLogic, Red Hat, and VERITAS Software.

"For the first time, customers running Windows and Linux can take advantage of Xserve RAID's incredible price performance and breakthrough technology," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing. According to the company, Xserve RAID successfully completed all the tests required for qualification under Microsoft's Designed for Windows Logo Program for Windows Server 2003. As for Linux, Red Hat said that Xserve RAID is the first Apple product the company has certified on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform.

Increasingly over the past year, Apple has tried to become more involved in enterprise solutions. The company is traditionally known for its Macintosh OS and niche computers. The company faces an uphill battle in the storage industry, competing as it will against companies such as Dell, EMC, HP, and Iomega for market share in small and midsized businesses. Apple's work to ensure support for its product by other industry solutions should definitely make a big difference.

The Xserve RAID is an IDE-based storage system with 14 independent ATA/100 drive channels. The system connects to servers through Fibre Channel. The primary configuration tool for the Xserve RAID is a Java-based management utility called RAID Admin, which permits RAID Set Slicing and Set Expansion as well as offering testing and repair tools. Xserve RAID is available from Apple and Apple authorized resellers in three standard configurations ranging in price from $5999 to $10,999. When ordered directly from Apple, Xserve RAID can also be customized.

http://www.apple.com/xserve/raid

==== 3. Announcements ====

(from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

The Windows & .NET Magazine Network VIP Web Site/Super CD Has It All!

With a VIP Web site/Super CD subscription, you'll get online access to all of our publications, a print subscription to Windows & .NET Magazine, and a subscription to our VIP Web site, a banner-free resource loaded with articles you can't find anywhere else. Click here to find out how you can get it all at 25 percent off!

http://www.winnetmag.com/rd.cfm?code=edep273lup

Newsflash: SQL Server and .NET Are a Powerful Duo

SQL Server Magazine is a dynamic library made up of SQL Server and Windows .NET Framework expertise. Whether you're looking for novice or advanced-level content, SQL Server Magazine will help you do your job better. Subscribe today and receive 12 print issues, along with full access to the entire online article archive. Click here:

https://secure.pentontech.com/nt/sql/index.cfm?promocode=psep2141ss

==== 4. Resource ====

"STOP 0x00000027 in mrxsmb.sys" Error Message When You Try to Copy Files to a Network-Attached Storage Device in Windows Server 2003

Windows Server 2003 sites that attempt to copy large files to a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device might receive the error message "STOP 0x00000027 (baad00a0, b053a380, b0539fd8, b18d4a81) in mrxsmb.sys." (The parameters of the message's stop code can vary.) Microsoft has made available a hotfix that addresses this problem. For more information about the error and to obtain this hotfix, click the following URL:

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=831128

==== 5. Event ====

(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

New Web Seminar: Email Is a Service--Manage It Like One

True end-to-end management of the messaging infrastructure requires an integrated, service-oriented approach. This free Web seminar introduces service-driven management and best practices for managing and monitoring the key elements crucial to ensuring email health and performance, including Exchange Server, Active Directory, network, and storage. Sign up today!

http://www.winnetmag.com/seminars/emailservice/index.cfm?code=adzt

==== 6. New and Improved ====

by Renee Munshi, products@winnetmag.com

Expansion Array and Storage Server

Snap Appliance introduces the Snap Disk 10, a 1U (1.75"), 1TB expansion array engineered for use with the Snap Server 4500. The combination provides as much as 3TB of native capacity in 3U (5.25") of rack space. Snap Appliance also announced that the Snap Server 14000 is now available with 3TB of capacity and enhanced features for $20,995. The Snap Disk 10/Snap Server 4500 combination and the Snap Server 14000 both use RAID, hot-swappable disk drives, Snapshot technology, and data replication for backup and recovery. For more information about Snap Disk 10 or Snap Server 14000, call 888-343-7627 or visit the Snap Appliance Web site.

http://www.snapappliance.com

Automatically Copy Changed Files

FSoft has released RTMirror, a real-time folder-mirroring application. RTMirror lets you specify one or more folders on your local hard disk. As you modify files in those folders, RTMirror copies them to another folder (either on another hard disk or on another networked computer). RTMirror requires Windows XP, Windows 2000, or later and costs about $35. (Volume discounts are available, and a trial version is available online.) For more information, go to the following URL:

http://www.fsoft.it/rtmirror

Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a Windows & .NET Magazine T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to whatshot@winnetmag.com.

==== Sponsored Links ====

Microsoft(R) Security Readiness Kit

Get your free kit for creating an enhanced risk-management plan.

http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;6600432;8214395;e?http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;6576037;8608804;t?http://www.microsoftsecuritysolutions.com/Default.asp?id=ros

VMware Inc.

Are you an MCSE/MCP? Let VMware Workstation put $100 in your pocket.

http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;6966714;8214395;w?http://www.vmware.com/wl/offer/497/0

=========

==== 7. Contact Us ====

About the commentary -- jerryco@exchange.microsoft.com

About the newsletter -- bgibbens@winnetmag.com

About technical questions -- http://www.winnetmag.com/forums

About product news -- products@winnetmag.com

About your subscription -- storageupdate@winnetmag.com

About sponsoring UPDATE -- emedia_opps@winnetmag.com

===============

This email newsletter is brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine, the leading publication for IT professionals deploying Windows and related technologies. Subscribe today.

http://www.winnetmag.com/sub.cfm?code=wswi201x1z

Manage Your Account

You are subscribed as #EmailAddr#.

You received this email because you requested to receive additional information about products and services from the Windows & .NET Magazine Network. To unsubscribe, send an email to mailto:Storage-UPDATE_Unsub@list.winnetmag.com. Thank you!

View the Windows & .NET Magazine privacy policy at http://www.winnetmag.com/AboutUs/Index.cfm?action=privacy

Windows & .NET Magazine, a division of Penton Media, Inc.

221 East 29th Street, Loveland, CO 80538

Attention: Customer Service Department

Copyright 2004, Penton Media, Inc. All rights reserved.