[SunHELP] Using Netapp Hitachi or Seagate Fibre drives on Sun system

Peter Stokes peter at ashlyn.co.uk
Tue Dec 22 08:47:02 CST 2015

Hi All

I have not seen this posted anywhere else, so thought I would send to the
lists so that there is a record of it as it may prove useful to someone else.

Ok, the job - I needed some cheap fibre storage to add to a V890. The standard
fibre on a the V890 is 1Gbit afaik and we really wanted faster. I came across
some cheap Netapp 300Gb 15K 4Gbit shelves with 14 drives per shelf, just the
ticket for the job hooked up to a 4Gbit fibre card.

The problem. Netapp storage units use 520 byte sectors on their drives and
whilst in the past I have been able to use a version of Solaris format to
reformat to 512 bytes, this time I was not able to, it tried, but came back
straight away with a fail. So how to reformat the drives. The drives were a
mix of Seagate and Hitachi.

For Seagate, they helpfully supply a Windows package Seatools Enterprise,
available on their website which does the job easily, but only works on
Seagate drives, ok, so that is 2 out of 14 drives sorted and running with
Solaris. The Hitachi is not so easy as I could not find an equivalent utility,
the start of Googling.....

Seatools Enterprise can be found here at this time


I came across this writeup for a utility called scu which appears to have been
written a while ago.


He also references this webpage


The link to download scu from Glenn's webpages is here FYI


Interestingly the way Solaris 10 and previous versions of Solaris handle these
drives in their 520 byte state is different. Solaris 10 reports the fact and
then refuses to assign device IDs to them which means that using scu on them
is not possible as it requires a device ID to use. Using Solaris 9 (on another
system as it happens than the V890) the system complains that it cannot use
them due to the 520 bytes, but does assign the familiar cxtxdxsx devices.

It was then a case of making a note of the device names, and running the
following commands. I did this running from a Sol 9 CD boot in Windows mode
and was able to reformat 12 drives at the same time, thus saving hours....

Command to run

# ./scu -f /dev/rdsk/cxtxdxs2
scu> set bypass on
scu> set device block-length 512
scu> format

When the format completes (1.5 hours in my case), reboot the system and using
format, label/partition the disks as per normal.

I have run VTS and zfs on these drives and they just appear to work fine. I
now have 2.8Tb of fast storage for the price of what would have cost me a
couple of Sun labelled 300Gb disks.

Any questions feel free to ask.

I hope someone else finds this useful.

Peter Stokes
Ashlyn Computer Services
Mbl: 07977 532320

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