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HPE MSA 2050 SAN Storage - Installing and Using the HPE MSA VSS Hardware Provider

Procedure

NOTE:
  • This guide provides descriptions of hardware providers relative to multiple versions of released HPE MSA hardware and firmware. Please note that for VL100 and newer, VDS and linear storage are not supported.
  • In a cluster environment the HPE MSA VSS Hardware Provider cannot be installed unless a Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator (MS DTC) cluster resource is configured. If the host part of a cluster and MSDTC is not running, installation will fail.

    Click here to view instruction on configuring MS DTC Non-HPE site .

  1. Double-click the downloaded hardware provider file to launch the installation.

  2. Press the Install button.

  3. Follow the onscreen prompts to install the software.

    The provider is installed in this directory:

    C:\Program Files\HPE\Hardware Providers\MSA\VDS

    If a previous version of an HPE VDS Hardware Provider is already installed, a message tells you that the software is installed, but not up to date.

    NOTE: Overwriting an existing HPE MSA Hardware Provider will not overwrite previously installed hardware providers used with earlier storage systems.
  4. To verify the installation, run the list providers command, and make sure that the HP MSA VSS HardwareProvider is displayed in the list of providers.

    C:\> vssadmin list providers
    vssadmin x.x - Volume Shadow Copy Service administrative command-line tool
    (C) Copyright 2001-20xx Microsoft Corp.
    Provider name: 'Microsoft File Share Shadow Copy provider'
    Provider type: Fileshare
    Provider Id: {89300202-3cec-4981-9171-19f59559e0f2}
    Version: 1.0.0.1
    Provider name: 'HPE MSA VSS Provider'
    Provider type: Hardware
    Provider Id: {9d09666c-5cf8-45ca-9294-127c95562094}
    Version: 3.7.x.x
    Provider name: 'Microsoft Software Shadow Copy provider 1.0'
    Provider type: System
    Provider Id: {b5946137-7b9f-4925-af80-51abd60b20d5}
    Version: 1.0.0.7

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Creating shadow copies

VSS functionality includes creating, deleting, and managing shadow copies.

To create a shadow copy of a standard linear volume which is not already assigned to a snap pool, use the SMU or the CLI to create a snap pool, and then convert an existing standard volume to a master volume using the CLI (enabling the volume for shadow copies).

If user try to take a snapshot of an linear volume that has not been converted into a master volume first, the HPE MSAVSS hardware provider will attempt to convert it to a master volume automatically, after allocating a backing store of approximately 20% of the size of the volume (but not less than 6GB). When the last snapshot is deleted, the volume will then be converted back to a normal volume to free up resources that might subsequently be needed to take snapshots further volumes.

To create a shadow copy of a volume in a virtual pool, skip to step 2 below.

To create a shadow copy:

  1. If the volume is a linear volume, use the SMU or CLI to create a snap pool and then use the CLI to convert an existing standard volume to a master volume, which enables the volume for snapshots (shadow copies). If the linear volume is not already a master volume, convert it to a master volume using the CLI convert std-to-master command. The HPE MSA VSS hardware provider will attempt to automatically allocate a snap-pool, and convert a standard volume into a master volume. However, performing these steps ahead of time enables more control over the allocation of storage, and provides better feedback in case an operation does not succeed.

  2. Create the shadow copy using a VSS requestor such as Disk shadow (included in Windows Server 2008 and later) or VShadow (available as a download from microsoft.com as part of the Windows SDK).

    NOTE:
    • After the hardware provider is installed, backup software may take advantage of it to create temporary hardware snapshots on the system when backups are run.
    • The HPE MSA VSS Hardware Provider takes shadow copies quickly (less than 5 seconds), but the Microsoft VSS subsystem can take a long time to recognize and import the new shadow copies. It may take up to 90 seconds to create and import a shadow copy. It takes longer if multiple RAID partitions are included in the same shadow copy set.

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LUN 0 mapping

For best performance, avoid mapping any storage system volumes to the host using LUN number 0, which is used by HPE MSA VDS hardware providers and MSA VSS hardware providers to monitor and manage the system. The providers automatically assign LUN numbers starting at LUN number 1, but if have manually mapped LUNs to the host using LUN number 0, the providers must compete with I/O traffic, and this may cause commands to run more slowly, or timeout.

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64-bit VSS clients

When creating snapshots on a 64-bit OS, must use a 64-bit VSS client application. Microsoft’s VSS framework does not support 32-bit requestors on 64-bit operating systems.

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Ensuring read-write access of VSS shadow copies

When VSS creates a shadow copy, it maps the LUN with the shadow copy data back to the host. Because this is generally used for backup, the volumes on the LUN are read-only. The LUN is mapped read-write, only the volumes are read-only. User can restore read-write access of the volumes on the server, as shown below.

NOTE: Multiple terms for the same or similar storage elements can include disks, volumes, snapshots and LUNs, depending on whether the storage element is being referenced by an operating system, a storage device, or an application.

The read-only or read-write attribute may also be influenced by the SAN policy of Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012, and Windows 2016 systems. The SAN policy in place on the server affects the access level for newly discovered disks, but volumes on the disks for VSS shadow copy snapshots are always initially discovered as read-only, regardless of the SAN policy or version of Windows operating system.

Restoring read-write access

On the server, clear the read-only status of the imported snapshots’ disks and volumes using the commands below. Select the disk that corresponds to the LUN with the snapshot data. After selecting the disk and clearing the disk’s read-only status, select the volume and clear the volume’s read-only status.

Relative to the tables below, invoke the Microsoft Disk Part utility by typing diskpart at the command line. Once invoked, DISK PART> appears as a prompt for entering the commands listed in the tables below. Type exit to quit the Microsoft Disk Part utility.

DiskPart utility - disk commands
Command/sequence
Description
1
list disk
Allows you to determine which disk number to use in the following command.
2
select disk x
Selects a disk where x refers to the disk number from the list disk command.
3
detail disk
Use command to verify the disk is in an offline and/or read-only state.
4
online disk
Use command to bring the selected disk online.
5
attributes disk clear read only
Clears the read only attribute, allowing this host to write to the disk.
6
list volume
Allows you to get a list of volumes residing on disk, if any. The volume number displayed will be used in the select volume command

The commands in the below table are repeated for each volume on the LUN; typically, there will be only one volume - or none - for a newly-provisioned LUN.

Command/sequence
Description
1
Select volume y
Selects a volume, where y refers to the volume shown in the list volume command.
2
detail volume
Use command to verify the volume is read-only.
3
attributes volume clear read only
Clears the read only attribute for the volume.

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Troubleshooting

This section contains troubleshooting information for the HPE MSA VSS Hardware Provider.

Issue
Description
The HPE VSS Hardware Provider cannot create a snapshot.
The following error is reported:
VSS_E_PROVIDER_VETO
  • The system might not have a license certificate file installed. To enable use of VSS, you must obtain and install a license certificate file for the purchased option.
  • The maximum number of snapshots allowed by the snapshot license has already been created.
  • The storage system has failed to execute the commands from the HPE MSA VSS Hardware Provider, or the communication between the HPE MSA VSS Hardware Provider and the system is broken, due to any of the following conditions:
  • The LUN that will be used to create the snapshot is not a master volume.

  • The serial number cannot be obtained for the controller owning the master volume partition.

  • The snapshot cannot be found in the VSS HardwareProvider’s snapshot list.

  • The partition is not a snapshot.

  • The LUN assignment to the newly created snapshot failed.

  • The snapshot that will be deleted is not an HPE MSA snapshot.

  • A firmware upgrade operation may temporarily prevent VSS from managing the system.

The shadow copy does not exist on the controller.
The backup utility automatically deletes the shadow copy when the backup is complete.
You might have used the Windows Explorer shadow copy shell extension context menu to create a shadow copy, which is to be used for creating a Windows software shadow copy, not hardware shadow copies.
Make sure you have created the shadow copy using the persistent (-p) attribute.
If you use the Vss admin tool from Microsoft to create shadow copies, it is not designed to work with the HPE MSA VSS Hardware Provider. Vss admin create shadow only works with the Microsoft software shadow copy provider built into Windows.
An application error in the Windows event logstates:
ssproxy requires that the HBA can handle 256-Kbyte transfers. You might need to set the MaximumSGList to avalue of 65 or higher if using a SCSI Port driver.
The MSA CAPI Proxy requires the maximum data for the CAP command to be 256Kbyte. This does not apply to Stor port HBA drivers.
  • For SCSI port HBA drivers, create a MaximumSGList registry entry if it does not already exist and set it to a value of 65 or higher, if it has not already been set.1

NOTE: The SCSIport host-bus adapter driver has been removed in Windows Server 2012. Instead, use either a Storport driver or a different host-bus adapter.
To set the registry for Qlogic cards using the SCSI port driver, double-click qla2300.reg in the CAPI Proxy’s installation directory, such as
C:\Program Files\HPE\HardwareProviders\MSA\VSS\qla2300.reg.
It is taking a long time to create the shadow copy.
The HPE MSA VSS Hardware Provider takes shadow copies quickly (less than 5 seconds), but the Microsoft VSS subsystem can take along time to recognize and import the new shadow copies. It may take up to 90 seconds to create and import a shadow copy. It takes longer if more RAID partitions are included in the same shadow copy set.
Not Implemented or 0x80004001 error when revert command used in VShadow or Diskshadow.
The revert option is meant for host-based snapshots and is not supported for storage system-based snapshots. Use the resync command instead.
VSS_E_MISSING_DISK error when using the RESYNC command
This error can occur if the target volume is in use when the RESYNC command is issued. The target volume may be left in an offline state; use DiskManagement or DISKPART to bring the target volume back online. To minimize the like hood of this error occurring, stop the VSS subsystem with the command NET STOP VSS prior to performing the RESYNC operation; the VSS subsystem will automatically restart when you launch a VSS client. If necessary, use MOUNTVOL to unmount the volume prior to issuing the RESYNC command to ensure that other applications are not accessing the volume.
VSS_E_PROVIDER_VETO error when using the RESYNC command
This error can occur if a previous operation in the system is still in progress and the resync operation cannot proceed. The target volume may be left in an offline state, use DiskManagement or DISKPART to bring the target volume back online. Review the event log in the system and wait for any operation in progress to complete before retrying the operation.
A “0mb” volume may appear in the DiskManagement applet after creating a hardware snapshot of a GPT-formatted volume.
The Disk Management Control Panel applet may display an unnamed volume with a capacity of 0mb after a snapshot is created on a GPT disk. These are associated with special meta data partitions that Windows creates as part of the snap shot process and may safely be ignored. If they are bothersome, they can be deleted using the DISKPART command, by looking for a 256KB partition with an Unknown partition type. Volumes formatted with a traditional MBR partition table are not affected.

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Uninstalling the HPE MSA VSS hardware provider

To uninstall the HPE MSA VSS Hardware Provider, perform the following steps.

  1. Choose Start, Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs or Start ;Control Panel; Programs and Features .

  2. Choose HPE MSA VSS Hardware Provider and click Change/Remove

  3. Respond appropriately to the prompts.

  4. Select the HPE MSA CAPI Proxy from the Add/Remove Programs list, and uninstall it now.

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Legal Disclaimer: Products sold prior to the November 1, 2015 separation of Hewlett-Packard Company into Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company and HP Inc. may have older product names and model numbers that differ from current models.

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Document title: HPE MSA 2050 Storage - Installing and Using the HPE MSA VSS Hardware Provider
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