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When using Emulex HBAs, small computer system interface (SCSI) commands fail with the status: Storage Initiator Error (1029456)

Symptoms

  • When using Emulex HBAs, these messages may appear in the vmkernel/vmkernel.log or messages log files:

    • ESX/ESXi 4.x/5.x:

      NMP: nmp_CompleteCommandForPath: Command 0x28 (0x4100bb1ace80) to NMP device "naa.60060480000190101925533030344332" failed on physical path "vmhba2:C0:T0:L9" H:0x7 D:0x0 P:0x0 Possible sense data: 0x0 0x0 0x0.
      WARNING: NMP: nmp_DeviceRequestFastDeviceProbe: NMP device "naa.60060480000190101925533030344332" state in doubt; requested fast path state update...
      ScsiDeviceIO: 747: Command 0x28 to device "naa.60060480000190101925533030344332" failed H:0x7 D:0x0 P:0x0 Possible sense data: 0x0 0x0 0x0.


    • ESX/ESXi 3.5:

      StorageMonitor: 196: vmhba1:0:17:0 status = 0/7 0x0 0x0 0x0
      WARNING: SCSI: 2896: CheckUnitReady on vmhba3:1:1 returned Storage initiator error 0x7/0x0 sk 0x0 asc 0x0 ascq 0x0
      StorageMonitor: 196: vmhba2:0:6:0 status = D:0x0/H:0x7 0x0 0x0 0x0

  • This can lead to different pieces of code reporting failure due to a Storage initiator error. For example:

    J3: 2158: Aborting txn 0x4100af9defb0 due to failure pre-committing: Storage initiator error
    WARNING: Swap: 2214: Failed to extend swap file: Storage initiator error, fileHandle 699051, from 0KB to 16777216KB.
    WARNING: World: vm 78925: 1111: init fn memsched failed with: Storage initiator error!
    Fil3: 977: Sync READ error ('') (ioFlags: 8) : Storage initiator error
    Cow: 1885: Sync IO issued on cow disk failed with Storage initiator error
    WARNING: Cow: 1064: COW Commit failed with Storage initiator error

  • Unable to configure NPIV on virtual machine located on ESX/ESXi hosts with Emulex HBAs.

Cause

In the vmkernel log messages, H:0x7 indicates a Storage Initiator Error for the Host Status. For more information, see Understanding SCSI host side NMP errors/conditions in ESX 4.x (1029039).
 
NoteD:0x0 indicates no error for the Device Status, and P:0x0 indicates no error for the Plugin Status.
 
There is no Sense Key or Addition Sense Code/ASC Qualifier information for this status as this is a host side condition.
 
This issue can occur if the affected hosts are using Emulex 2Gb, 4Gb and 8Gb HBAs (including rebranded Emulex HBAs) with old or outdated firmware.
Known outdated firmware versions for 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, and rebranded Emulex HBAs are:
  • 8GB HBA Firmware Versions: 1.11*, 2.00* 
  • 4GB HBA Firmware Versions: 2.10*, 2.5*, 2.7*, and 2.80*
  • 2GB HBA Firmware Versions: 1.8*, 1.90*, and 1.91*
You can determine the firmware version by checking the driver nodes in /proc/scsi/lpfc820 on the ESX/ESXi host.

Note: The preceding firmware versions also have issues with NPIV, which prevents it being configured correctly.

Resolution

Note: VMware does not explicitly state required HBA firmware (this is a requirement of the array/switch vendor), but updates to the Emulex firmware have resolved these initiator errors.

Known good firmware versions for 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, and re-branded Emulex HBAs are:
  • 8GB HBA Firmware Versions: 2.01 a3
  • 4GB HBA Firmware Versions: 2.82 a4
  • 2GB HBA Firmware Versions: 1.92 a1
These firmware versions resolve these errant storage initiator errors and also the issue configuring NPIV. Please contact your vendor for selecting the appropriate firmware version for your host.

Notes:
  • For the 8GB HBAs, you must also ensure that the lpfc820 driver is of version 8.2.2.121.45 or later.
  • Vendors that rebrand Emulex HBAs may not have this latest firmware qualified yet on their website. The firmware provided on the Emulex site works with rebranded cards. For more information about the recommended/certified firmware for the hardware, engage the vendor directly.
If the firmware of all HBAs has been upgraded and the storage initiator error persists, file a support request with VMware Support and note this Knowledge Base article ID in the problem description. For more information, see How to File a Support Request.

Tags

scsi-commands-fail

Update History

08/23/2011 - Added information on firmware version required for 8GB Emulex HBAs 06/20/2012 - Added that the affected firmware also affects NPIV configuration. 07/17/2012 - Added information to contact the vendor for firmware upgrade 01/10/2013 - Added ESXi 5.x to the product version list.

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