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John Ruemker 04-25-2011 05:29 PM

multipath failover & rhcs
On 04/25/2011 01:01 PM, Dave Sullivan wrote:

Hi Guys,

It seems recently that we have just run into this problem where we
don't fully understand the timeouts that drive multipath fail-over.

We did thorough testing of pulling fibre/failing hbas manualling and
multipath handled things perfectly.

Recently we enountered SCSI Block errors, where the multipath
fail-over did not occur before the qdisk timeout.

This was attributed to the scsi block errors and the scsi lun timeout
of 60 seconds which is set by default.

I added a comment to the first link below that discusses a situation
that would cause this to occur. We think that this was due to a
defective HBA under high I/O load.

Once we get the HBA in question we will run some tests to validate
that modifying the scsi block timeouts in fact allows multipath to
fail-over in time to beat the qdisk timeout.

I'm getting ready to to take a look at the code to see if I can
validate these theories. The area that is still somewhat gray is the
true definition for multipath timings for failover.

I don't think there is a true definition of a multipath timeout, per
see. I see it as the following:

multipath check = every 20 seconds for no failed paths
multipath check (if failed paths) = every 5 seconds on failed paths only

multipath failover occurs = driver timeout attribute met ( Emulex
lpfc_devloss_tmo value)

--capture pulling fibre
--capture disabling hba

or (for other types of failures)

multipath failover occurs =scsi block timeout + driver timeout (not
sure if the driver timeout attribute is a added)

Hmm, just found out that there was new fix in rhel5u5 for this it
looks like from this case in salesforce 00085953.


Hi Dave,
These are issues we have recently been working to resolve with this and
other qdisk articles. The problem is as you described it: we don't have
an accurate definition of how long it will take multipath to fail a path
in all scenarios. The formula used in the article is basically wrong,
and we're working to fix it, but coming up with a formula for a path
timeout has been difficult. This calculation should not be based on
no_path_retry at all, as we are really only concerned in the amount of
time it takes for the scsi layer to return an error, allowing qdisk's
I/O operation to be sent down an alternate path.

Regarding the formula you posted:

>> multipath check = every 20 seconds for no failed paths
>> multipath check (if failed paths) = every 5 seconds on failed paths

Just to clarify, the polling interval doubles after each successful path
check, up to 4 times the original. So you're correct, that for a
healthy path you should see it checking every 20s after the first few
checks. Likewise, your second statement is also accurate in that after
a failed check, it drops back to the configured polling interval until
the path returns to active status.

Regarding case 00085953, I was actually the owner of that one. There
was a change that went into 5.5 which lowered the default
tur/readsector0 SCSI I/O timeout down from 300 to the checker_timeout
value (which defaults to the timeout value in

I am very interested in any information you come up with on the
calculation of how long a path failure will take. We will integrate
that into this article if you can come up with anything.

Let me know if you have any questions.

John Ruemker, RHCA
Technical Account Manager
Global Support Services
Red Hat, Inc.
Office: 919-754-4941
Cell: 919-793-8549

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