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Thread: DEC/Compaq DS-SWXRA-HC

  1. Default DEC/Compaq DS-SWXRA-HC

    I'm looking at the DEC/Compaq DS-SWXRA-HC as a disk array solution for my two DEC 3000-700 systems (they have onboard Centronics 50 pin SCSI interface).

    I have been looking for a manual to explain how this array works and a hardware diagram but have been unable to find one.

    It looks like the array uses a different SCSI connector, I was wondering if I could convert the Centronics 50 pin to what is on the DS-SWXRA-HC, I've just been unable to determine what SCSI interface it uses.

    Does anyone have any insight into this array?

    Thanks!!

  2. #2
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    From a quick look around for information those StorageWorks RAID systems probably have 16-bit LVD interface RAID controllers. I don't know if they would work in 8-bit SE mode if connected to an 8-bit SE host.

    One possible option which might improve the disk performance of your TURBOchannel system is a KZTSA 16-bit SCSI host adapter. The issue there is that is an HVD interface, so you would need an HVD to LVD converter.

    KZTSA SCSI Storage Adapter Installation and User’s Guide
    Order Number: EK–KZTSA–UG .C01
    http://www.vaxhaven.com/images/2/23/EK-KZTSA-UG-C01.pdf

    There is currently a KZTSA-AA listed on eBay for $30 in the US.

  3. Default

    Is the SW301-AA a better fit, can’t seem to fin any manuals on that array?

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    For StorageWorks RAID systems it depends on the controller. There are at least three flavors, HSZxx = SCSI, HSDxx = DSSI, HSJxx = CI.

    The HSZ10, HSZ15, HSZ40, and HSZ50 are Fast, Wide, Differential SCSI interface controllers for 8-bit Single-Ended SCSI–2, and should be compatible with a TURBOchannel KZTSA Fast, Wide, Differential SCSI host adapter.

    StorageWorks™ Array Controllers HS Family of Array Controllers User’s Guide
    Order Number: EK–HSFAM–UG. D01
    The StorageWorks Array Controllers HS Family of Array Controllers User’s Guide contains instructions for installing and using HSJ30, HSJ40, HSD30, HSZ40–Ax, and HSZ40–Bx array controllers.
    sup.xenya.si/sup/info/digital/MDS/jun99/Cd3/STORAGE/HSFAMUGD.PDF

    StorageWorks™ Solutions
    SW300-Series RAID Enclosure Installation and User’sGuide
    Order Number: EK–SW300–UG. A01
    This manual describes the SW300-series redundant array of independent disks (RAID) enclosure, the rules for unpacking and installing, configuring the enclosure, and its associated components, and describes error analysis and fault isolation. Procedures for replacing the major components also are described.
    www.vaxhaven.com/images/9/91/EK-SW300-UG-A01.pdf


    This SW301 manual specifically mentions DSSI, which is not what you would want for a controller interface.

    StorageWorks™ Solutions
    24 SBB, DSSI RAID Subsystem, Deskside Expansion Unit (SW301) User’s Guide
    Order Number: EK–SW301–UG. A01
    This guide describes the procedures that install and operate the 24 SBB, DSSI RAID Subsystem deskside expansion unit (SW301).
    manx-docs.org/collections/mds-199909/cd3/storage/sw301uga.pdf


    The only StorageWorks controllers I have used are the simple HSD10 DSSI interface controllers, which plug into a single BA350 slot. The more advanced controllers seem to require a separate cache module, and seem to be installed in redundant pairs, and need flash cards for their internal OS. I'd be interested in trying an HSD30 DSSI controller setup sometime, but putting all of the parts together would be more expensive that it would be worth to me.
    Last edited by gslick; April 24th, 2020 at 06:52 PM.

  5. Default

    So this would work:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/DUAL-HSZ50-...IAAOSwsYdd2CPo

    And I take it that you could connect drive shelf's via the SCSI ports on the front shown in the pic?

    Looks like I would need an SW500 enclosure to house all of this?
    Last edited by maxfli; April 25th, 2020 at 08:01 AM.

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    If you did add a TURBOchannel KZTSA FWD (Fast, Wide, Differential, also known as HVD) SCSI host adapter to your DEC 3000-700 systems from what I understand that should be compatible with that DUAL HSZ50 controller setup in the BA350-MB shelf.

    The SCSI connectors on the front of the HSZ50 are 12-39921-01 H885-AA Tri-Link connector blocks for the host adapter connection. The Tri-Link connector block is removable and connects to a single SCSI connector on the front of the HSZ50. The idea there is that the host SCSI bus can chain in and out through the Tri-Link block and if the HSZ50 controller fails and needs to be replaced the Tri-Link block can be removed with the host side SCSI cables still attached, keeping the host side SCSI bus intact.

    The device side SCSI bus connectors downstream of the HSZ50 controller are on the backplane under the lower HSZ50 controller. There should be six HD50 SCSI-2 connectors. Each one is a separate bus. If there are dual HSZ50 controllers installed each bus is connected to both controllers as SCSI IDs 7 and 6, so only 6 devices can be connected to each bus.

    BA350-MA-Shelf-Layout.jpg

    StorageWorksFamily
    BA350–MA Controller Shelf User’sGuide
    Order Number: EK–350MA–UG. A02
    This manual describes the BA350–MA StorageWorks controller shelf
    and the rules for configuring the shelf and its associated power supplies,
    device addresses, and SCSI buses. Procedures for replacing power
    supplies, blowers, and shelves are also described
    sup.xenya.si/sup/info/digital/MDS/jun99/Cd3/STORAGE/350MAUGA.PDF

    For the SCSI devices downstream of the HSZ50 controllers they could be installed in a BA350-LA 8-bit shelf.

    BA350–LA Modular Storage Shelf User’s Guide
    Order Number: EK–350LA–UG–001
    This manual describes the BA350–LA storage shelf and the rules for
    configuring the shelf to include power, system building blocks (SBBs),
    device addressing, and SCSI buses. Procedures for determining shelf
    status and replacing blowers are also included.
    sup.xenya.si/sup/info/digital/MDS/jun99/Cd3/STORAGE/350LAUG1.PDF

    16-bit SCSI devices could be installed in a 16-bit BA356 shelf and connected through an 8-bit I/O module installed in the BA356.

    7 Device, 16-Bit SBB Shelf (BA356−S Series) User’s Guide
    Order Number: EK–BA356–UG. B01
    This publication describes the major StorageWorks 16-bit components (such as
    shelves, power units, SBBs, SCSI buses, I/O modules, and cables), status displays,
    specifications, and replacement procedures.
    www.vaxhaven.com/images/b/bf/EK-BA356-UG.B01.pdf

    8-Bit I/O Module (BA35X−MG) User’s Guide
    EK−BA35X−MG. A01
    This document describes the 8-bit I/O module (see Figure 1). It explains how to install the I/O module in the
    BA356 shelf, and how to set the shelf small computer system interface (SCSI) addresses. The basic documentation
    set for the I/O module is StorageWorks Solutions, 7 Device, 16-Bit SBB Shelf (BA356–S series) User’s Guide
    (EK–BA356–UG. B01).
    sup.xenya.si/sup/info/digital/MDS/jun99/Cd3/STORAGE/35XMGUGB.PDF


    In a real DEC installation all of the storage shelf blocks would be installed in a purpose built rack. For your own use they could just be stacked on top of each other.


    My only actual experience with these is with an HSD10 DSSI controller installed in a BA350–LA storage shelf connected between a VAX host DSSI interface and 8-bit SCSI devices installed in the same BA350–LA, or connected to 16-bit SCSI devices in a BA356 shelf with a BA35X-MG 8-bit I/O module installed. I have no actual experience with HSZxx SCSI controllers.

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    Just in case it helps: I was in the StorageWorks team in CXO, and I had a minor role in writing firmware for the HSZ40, HSZ70, HSG80, etc. There's a "chance" that I could tell you something useful, if reminded with pictures and such (the official product names were not used much in the hallways, because by the time those names were chosen, we were moving on to something else).
    I used to have an HSZ10 (or was it Z20?) box at home, to use with my PC. It would support 1 or 2 controllers, and 6(?) SBB's. As I recall, the FW card from an HSZ40 was the same - the Z10 was just a stripped-down Z40 (architecturally).
    I think the SBB shelves could be configured with an adaptor module to let you use narrow SCSI, wide SCSI, or wide differential SCSI, at least in some situations.

    Pete

  8. Default

    @gslick - So that I understand this, the shelfs that house the SCSI devices (hard drives, solid state drive and tape drives) are connected to the back of the HSZ50 via SCSI cables? Just in the picture(in the ebay link) of the rear of the HSZ50 enclosure I don't see any additional ports.

    @saipan59 - Any input you have is helpful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maxfli View Post
    @gslick - So that I understand this, the shelfs that house the SCSI devices (hard drives, solid state drive and tape drives) are connected to the back of the HSZ50 via SCSI cables? Just in the picture(in the ebay link) of the rear of the HSZ50 enclosure I don't see any additional ports.
    No, the connectors for the SCSI bus downstream of the HS controller in the BA350-M shelf are on the same side of the backplane that the HS controllers plug into. They are located below the lower HS controller and aren't easy to see in photos as they are back inside the shelf. I don't know if the SCSI cables can be connected and disconnected without removing the HS controllers. The gap in the front is too narrow to reach into with the HS controllers installed.

    This figure from the manual referenced below shows a BA350-M shelf with two HS controller installed with 6 SCSI cables exiting from the front below (or to the left of the vertically mounted shelf in this case) the lower HS controller.

    BA350-MA-Cables.jpg


    StorageWorks™Array Controllers
    HS Family of Array Controllers User’s Guide
    Order Number: EK–HSFAM–UG. B01
    The StorageWorks Array Controllers HS Family of Array Controllers
    User’s Guide contains instructions for installing and using HSJ30,
    HSJ40, HSD30, and HSZ40 array controllers.
    vaxhaven.com/images/d/d1/EK-HSFAM-UG-B01.pdf

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    Quote Originally Posted by saipan59 View Post
    Just in case it helps: I was in the StorageWorks team in CXO, and I had a minor role in writing firmware for the HSZ40, HSZ70, HSG80, etc.
    Pete
    Are images of the firmware that gets loaded onto the PCMCIA cards for the various HS controllers archived anywhere? That would be very useful.

    Do the HS controllers have a boot loader in firmware built into the controllers that allows firmware to be downloaded to a blank PCMCIA card through the serial console interface? If you acquire an HS controller without a firmware card and acquire a compatible blank PCMCIA card, is there a way to get the HS controller up and running with the latest firmware?

    I've been able to do that with a DECserver 900TM by booting it over the network and downloading the firmware to a compatible blank PCMCIA card. No idea if there is a similar way to do that with an HS controller.

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