This information is directed primarily to hardware service providers. These concepts can help service providers understand the relationships between the hardware components before they install, configure, or service cluster hardware. Cluster system administrators might also find this information useful as background to installing, configuring, and administering cluster software.
A cluster is composed of several hardware components, including the following:
Cluster nodes with local disks (unshared)
Multihost storage (disks are shared between nodes)
Removable media (tapes and CD-ROMs)
Public network interfaces
Console access devices
The Sun Cluster software enables you to combine these components into a variety of configurations. The following sections describe these configurations.
For an illustration of a sample two-node cluster configuration, see Sun Cluster Hardware Environment in Sun Cluster Overview for Solaris OS.
A cluster node is a machine that is running both the Solaris Operating System and Sun Cluster software. A cluster node is either a current member of the cluster (a cluster member), or a potential member.
SPARC: Sun Cluster software supports one to sixteen nodes in a cluster. See SPARC: Sun Cluster Topologies for SPARC for the supported node configurations.
x86: Sun Cluster software supports up to four nodes in a cluster. See x86: Sun Cluster Topologies for x86 for the supported node configurations.
Cluster nodes are generally attached to one or more multihost devices. Nodes that are not attached to multihost devices use the cluster file system to access the multihost devices. For example, one scalable services configuration enables nodes to service requests without being directly attached to multihost devices.
See Multihost Devices for information about concurrent access to disks.
All nodes in the cluster are grouped under a common name (the cluster name), which is used for accessing and managing the cluster.
Public network adapters attach nodes to the public networks, providing client access to the cluster.
Cluster members communicate with the other nodes in the cluster through one or more physically independent networks. This set of physically independent networks is referred to as the cluster interconnect.
Every node in the cluster is aware when another node joins or leaves the cluster. Additionally, every node in the cluster is aware of the resources that are running locally as well as the resources that are running on the other cluster nodes.
Nodes in the same cluster should have similar processing, memory, and I/O capability to enable failover to occur without significant degradation in performance. Because of the possibility of failover, every node must have enough excess capacity to support the workload of all nodes for which they are a backup or secondary.
Each node boots its own individual root (/) file system.
To function as a cluster member, a node must have the following software installed:
Solaris Operating System
Sun Cluster software
Data service application
Volume management (Solaris Volume ManagerTM or VERITAS Volume Manager)
An exception is a configuration that uses hardware redundant array of independent disks (RAID). This configuration might not require a software volume manager such as Solaris Volume Manager or VERITAS Volume Manager.
See the Sun Cluster Software Installation Guide for Solaris OS for information about how to install the Solaris Operating System, Sun Cluster, and volume management software.
See the Sun Cluster Data Services Planning and Administration Guide for Solaris OS for information about how to install and configure data services.
See Chapter 3, Key Concepts for System Administrators and Application Developers for conceptual information about the preceding software components.
The following figure provides a high-level view of the software components that work together to create the Sun Cluster environment.
See Chapter 4, Frequently Asked Questions for questions and answers about cluster members.
Disks that can be connected to more than one node at a time are multihost devices. In the Sun Cluster environment, multihost storage makes disks highly available. Sun Cluster software requires multihost storage for two-node clusters to establish quorum. Greater than two-node clusters do not require quorum devices. For more information about quorum, see Quorum and Quorum Devices.
Multihost devices have the following characteristics.
Tolerance of single-node failures.
Ability to store application data, application binaries, and configuration files.
Protection against node failures. If clients request the data through one node and the node fails, the requests are switched over to use another node with a direct connection to the same disks.
Global access through a primary node that “masters” the disks, or direct concurrent access through local paths. The only application that uses direct concurrent access currently is Oracle Real Application Clusters Guard.
A volume manager provides for mirrored or RAID-5 configurations for data redundancy of the multihost devices. Currently, Sun Cluster supports Solaris Volume Manager and VERITAS Volume Manager as volume managers, and the RDAC RAID-5 hardware controller on several hardware RAID platforms.
Combining multihost devices with disk mirroring and disk striping protects against both node failure and individual disk failure.
See Chapter 4, Frequently Asked Questions for questions and answers about multihost storage.
This section applies only to SCSI storage devices and not to Fibre Channel storage used for the multihost devices.
In a standalone server, the server node controls the SCSI bus activities by way of the SCSI host adapter circuit that connects this server to a particular SCSI bus. This SCSI host adapter circuit is referred to as the SCSI initiator. This circuit initiates all bus activities for this SCSI bus. The default SCSI address of SCSI host adapters in Sun systems is 7.
Cluster configurations share storage between multiple server nodes, using multihost devices. When the cluster storage consists of single-ended or differential SCSI devices, the configuration is referred to as multi-initiator SCSI. As this terminology implies, more than one SCSI initiator exists on the SCSI bus.
The SCSI specification requires each device on a SCSI bus to have a unique SCSI address. (The host adapter is also a device on the SCSI bus.) The default hardware configuration in a multi-initiator environment results in a conflict because all SCSI host adapters default to 7.
To resolve this conflict, on each SCSI bus, leave one of the SCSI host adapters with the SCSI address of 7, and set the other host adapters to unused SCSI addresses. Proper planning dictates that these “unused” SCSI addresses include both currently and eventually unused addresses. An example of addresses unused in the future is the addition of storage by installing new drives into empty drive slots.
In most configurations, the available SCSI address for a second host adapter is 6.
The OpenBoot PROM on a SPARC based system
The SCSI utility that you optionally run after the BIOS boots on an x86 based system
You can set this property globally for a node or on a per-host-adapter basis. Instructions for setting a unique scsi-initiator-id for each SCSI host adapter are included in Sun Cluster 3.1 - 3.2 With SCSI JBOD Storage Device Manual for Solaris OS.
Local disks are the disks that are only connected to a single node. Local disks are, therefore, not protected against node failure (the are not highly available). However, all disks, including local disks, are included in the global namespace and are configured as global devices. Therefore, the disks themselves are visible from all cluster nodes.
You can make the file systems on local disks available to other nodes by placing them under a global mount point. If the node that currently has one of these global file systems mounted fails, all nodes lose access to that file system. Using a volume manager lets you mirror these disks so that a failure cannot cause these file systems to become inaccessible, but volume managers do not protect against node failure.
See the section Global Devices for more information about global devices.
Removable media such as tape drives and CD-ROM drives are supported in a cluster. In general, you install, configure, and service these devices in the same way as in a nonclustered environment. These devices are configured as global devices in Sun Cluster, so each device can be accessed from any node in the cluster. Refer to Sun Cluster 3.1 - 3.2 Hardware Administration Manual for Solaris OS for information about installing and configuring removable media.
See the section Global Devices for more information about global devices.
The cluster interconnect is the physical configuration of devices that is used to transfer cluster-private communications and data service communications between cluster nodes. Because the interconnect is used extensively for cluster-private communications, it can limit performance.
Only cluster nodes can be connected to the cluster interconnect. The Sun Cluster security model assumes that only cluster nodes have physical access to the cluster interconnect.
All nodes must be connected by the cluster interconnect through at least two redundant physically independent networks, or paths, to avoid a single point of failure. You can have several physically independent networks (two to six) between any two nodes.
The cluster interconnect consists of three hardware components: adapters, junctions, and cables. The following list describes each of these hardware components.
Adapters – The network interface cards that are located in each cluster node. Their names are constructed from a device name immediately followed by a physical-unit number, for example, qfe2. Some adapters have only one physical network connection, but others, like the qfe card, have multiple physical connections. Some adapters also contain both network interfaces and storage interfaces.
A network adapter with multiple interfaces could become a single point of failure if the entire adapter fails. For maximum availability, plan your cluster so that the only path between two nodes does not depend on a single network adapter.
Junctions – The switches that are located outside of the cluster nodes. Junctions perform pass-through and switching functions to enable you to connect more than two nodes. In a two-node cluster, you do not need junctions because the nodes can be directly connected to each other through redundant physical cables connected to redundant adapters on each node. Greater than two-node configurations generally require junctions.
See Chapter 4, Frequently Asked Questions for questions and answers about the cluster interconnect.
Clients connect to the cluster through the public network interfaces. Each network adapter card can connect to one or more public networks, depending on whether the card has multiple hardware interfaces.
You can set up nodes to include multiple public network interface cards that perform the following functions:
Are configured so that multiple cards are active.
Serve as failover backups for one another.
If one of the adapters fails, Internet Protocol (IP) Network Multipathing software is called to fail over the defective interface to another adapter in the group.
No special hardware considerations relate to clustering for the public network interfaces.
See Chapter 4, Frequently Asked Questions for questions and answers about public networks.
Client systems include workstations or other servers that access the cluster over the public network. Client-side programs use data or other services that are provided by server-side applications running on the cluster.
Client systems are not highly available. Data and applications on the cluster are highly available.
See Chapter 4, Frequently Asked Questions for questions and answers about client systems.
You must have console access to all cluster nodes.
To gain console access, use one of the following devices:
The terminal concentrator that you purchased with your cluster hardware
The System Service Processor (SSP) on Sun Enterprise E10000 servers (for SPARC based clusters)
The system controller on Sun FireTM servers (also for SPARC based clusters)
Another device that can access ttya on each node
Only one supported terminal concentrator is available from Sun and use of the supported Sun terminal concentrator is optional. The terminal concentrator enables access to /dev/console on each node by using a TCP/IP network. The result is console-level access for each node from a remote workstation anywhere on the network.
The System Service Processor (SSP) provides console access for Sun Enterprise E1000 servers. The SSP is a machine on an Ethernet network that is configured to support the Sun Enterprise E1000 server. The SSP is the administrative console for the Sun Enterprise E1000 server. Using the Sun Enterprise E10000 Network Console feature, any workstation in the network can open a host console session.
Other console access methods include other terminal concentrators, tip serial port access from another node and, dumb terminals. You can use Sun keyboards and monitors, or other serial port devices if your hardware service provider supports them.
You can use a dedicated workstation, known as the administrative console, to administer the active cluster. Usually, you install and run administrative tool software, such as the Cluster Control Panel (CCP) and the Sun Cluster module for the Sun Management Center product (for use with SPARC based clusters only), on the administrative console. Using cconsole under the CCP enables you to connect to more than one node console at a time. For more information about to use the CCP, see the Chapter 1, Introduction to Administering Sun Cluster, in Sun Cluster System Administration Guide for Solaris OS.
The administrative console is not a cluster node. You use the administrative console for remote access to the cluster nodes, either over the public network, or optionally through a network-based terminal concentrator.
If your cluster consists of the Sun Enterprise E10000 platform, you must do the following:
Log in from the administrative console to the SSP.
Connect by using the netcon command.
Typically, you configure nodes without monitors. Then, you access the node's console through a telnet session from the administrative console. The administration console is connected to a terminal concentrator, and from the terminal concentrator to the node's serial port. In the case of a Sun Enterprise E1000 server, you connect from the System Service Processor. See Console Access Devices for more information.
Sun Cluster does not require a dedicated administrative console, but using one provides these benefits:
Enables centralized cluster management by grouping console and management tools on the same machine
Provides potentially quicker problem resolution by your hardware service provider
See Chapter 4, Frequently Asked Questions for questions and answers about the administrative console.