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GMULTIPATH(8)		FreeBSD	System Manager's Manual		 GMULTIPATH(8)

     gmultipath	-- disk	multipath control utility

     gmultipath	create [-ARv] name prov	...
     gmultipath	label [-ARv] name prov ...
     gmultipath	configure [-APRv] name
     gmultipath	add [-v] name prov
     gmultipath	remove [-v] name prov
     gmultipath	fail [-v] name prov
     gmultipath	restore	[-v] name prov
     gmultipath	rotate [-v] name
     gmultipath	prefer [-v] name prov
     gmultipath	getactive [-v] name
     gmultipath	destroy	[-v] name
     gmultipath	stop [-v] name
     gmultipath	clear [-v] prov	...
     gmultipath	list
     gmultipath	status
     gmultipath	load
     gmultipath	unload

     The gmultipath utility is used for	device multipath configuration.

     The multipath device can be configured using two different	methods:
     ``manual''	or ``automatic''.  When	using the ``manual'' method, no	meta-
     data are stored on	the devices, so	the multipath device has to be config-
     ured by hand every	time it	is needed.  Additional device paths also will
     not be detected automatically.  The ``automatic'' method uses on-disk
     metadata to detect	device and all its paths.  Metadata use	the last sec-
     tor of the	underlying disk	device and include device name and UUID.  The
     UUID guarantees uniqueness	in a shared storage environment	but is in gen-
     eral too cumbersome to use.  The name is what is exported via the device

     The first argument	to gmultipath indicates	an action to be	performed:

     create   Create multipath device with ``manual'' method without writing
	      any on-disk metadata.  It	is up to administrator,	how to prop-
	      erly identify device paths.  Kernel will only check that all
	      given providers have same	media and sector sizes.

	      -A option	enables	Active/Active mode, -R option enables
	      Active/Read mode,	otherwise Active/Passive mode is used by

     label    Create multipath device with ``automatic'' method.  Label	the
	      first given provider with	on-disk	metadata using the specified
	      name.  The rest of given providers will be retasted to detect
	      these metadata.  It reliably protects against specifying unre-
	      lated providers.	Providers with no matching metadata detected
	      will not be added	to the device.

	      -A option	enables	Active/Active mode, -R option enables
	      Active/Read mode,	otherwise Active/Passive mode is used by

	      Configure	the given multipath device.

	      -A option	enables	Active/Active mode, -P option enables
	      Active/Passive mode, -R option enables Active/Read mode.

     add      Add the given provider as	a path to the given multipath device.
	      Should normally be used only for devices created with ``manual''
	      method, unless you know what you are doing (you are sure that it
	      is another device	path, but tasting its metadata in regular
	      ``automatic'' way	is not possible).

     remove   Remove the given provider	as a path from the given multipath
	      device.  If the last path	removed, the multipath device will be

     fail     Mark specified provider as a path	of the specified multipath
	      device as	failed.	 If there are other paths present, new
	      requests will be forwarded there.

     restore  Mark specified provider as a path	of the specified multipath
	      device as	operational, allowing it to handle requests.

     rotate   Change the active	provider/path to the next available provider
	      in Active/Passive	mode.

     prefer   Change the active	provider/path to the specified provider	in
	      Active/Passive mode.

	      Get the currently	active provider(s)/path(s).

     destroy  Destroy the given	multipath device clearing metadata.

     stop     Stop the given multipath device without clearing metadata.

     clear    Clear metadata on	the given provider.

     list     See geom(8).

     status   See geom(8).

     load     See geom(8).

     unload   See geom(8).

     The following sysctl(8) variable can be used to control the behavior of
     the MULTIPATH GEOM	class.

     kern.geom.multipath.debug:	0
	     Debug level of the	MULTIPATH GEOM class.  This can	be set to 0
	     (default) or 1 to disable or enable various forms of chattiness.

     kern.geom.multipath.exclusive: 1
	     Open underlying providers exclusively, preventing individual
	     paths access.

     Exit status is 0 on success, and 1	if the command fails.

     This is a multiple	path architecture with no device knowledge or presump-
     tions other than size matching built in.  Therefore the user must exer-
     cise some care in selecting providers that	do indeed represent multiple
     paths to the same underlying disk device.	The reason for this is that
     there are several criteria	across multiple	underlying transport types
     that can indicate identity, but in	all respects such identity can rarely
     be	considered definitive.

     For example, if you use the World Word Port Name of a Fibre Channel disk
     object you	might believe that two disks that have the same	WWPN on	dif-
     ferent paths (or even disjoint fabrics) might be considered the same
     disk.  Nearly always this would be	a safe assumption, until you realize
     that a WWPN, like an Ethernet MAC address,	is a soft programmable entity,
     and that a	misconfigured Director Class switch could lead you to believe
     incorrectly that you have found multiple paths to the same	device.	 This
     is	an extreme and theoretical case, but it	is possible enough to indicate
     that the policy for deciding which	of multiple pathnames refer to the
     same device should	be left	to the system operator who will	use tools and
     knowledge of their	own storage subsystem to make the correct configura-
     tion selection.

     There are Active/Passive, Active/Read and Active/Active operation modes
     supported.	 In Active/Passive mode	only one path has I/O moving on	it at
     any point in time.	 This I/O continues until an I/O is returned with a
     generic I/O error or a "Nonexistent Device" error.	 When this occurs,
     that path is marked FAIL, the next	path in	a list is selected as active
     and the failed I/O	reissued.  In Active/Active mode all paths not marked
     FAIL may handle I/O at the	same time.  Requests are distributed between
     paths to equalize load.  For capable devices it allows the	utilisation of
     the bandwidth available on	all paths.  In Active/Read mode	all paths not
     marked FAIL may handle reads at the same time, but	unlike in
     Active/Active mode	only one path handles write requests at	any point in
     time; closely following the original write	request	order if the layer
     above needs it for	data consistency (not waiting for requisite write com-
     pletion before sending dependent write).

     When new devices are added	to the system the MULTIPATH GEOM class is
     given an opportunity to taste these new devices.  If a new	device has a
     MULTIPATH on-disk metadata	label, the device is either used to create a
     new MULTIPATH GEOM, or added to the list of paths for an existing

     It	is this	mechanism that works reasonably	with isp(4) and	mpt(4) based
     Fibre Channel disk	devices.  For these devices, when a device disappears
     (due to e.g., a cable pull	or power failure to a switch), the device is
     proactively marked	as gone	and I/O	to it failed.  This causes the
     MULTIPATH failure event just described.

     When Fibre	Channel	events inform either isp(4) or mpt(4) host bus
     adapters that new devices may have	arrived	(e.g., the arrival of an RSCN
     event from	the Fabric Domain Controller), they can	cause a	rescan to
     occur and cause the attachment and	configuration of any (now) new devices
     to	occur, causing the taste event described above.

     This means	that this multipath architecture is not	a one-shot path
     failover, but can be considered to	be steady state	as long	as failed
     paths are repaired	(automatically or otherwise).

     Automatic rescanning is not a requirement.	 Nor is	Fibre Channel.	The
     same failover mechanisms work equally well	for traditional	"Parallel"
     SCSI but may require manual intervention with camcontrol(8) to cause the
     reattachment of repaired device links.

     The following example shows how to	use camcontrol(8) to find possible
     multiple path devices and to create a MULTIPATH GEOM class	for them.

	   mysys# camcontrol devlist
	   <ECNCTX @WESTVILLE >	  at scbus0 target 0 lun 0 (da0,pass0)
	   <ECNCTX @WESTVILLE >	  at scbus0 target 0 lun 1 (da1,pass1)
	   <ECNCTX @WESTVILLE >	  at scbus1 target 0 lun 0 (da2,pass2)
	   <ECNCTX @WESTVILLE >	  at scbus1 target 0 lun 1 (da3,pass3)
	   mysys# camcontrol inquiry da0 -S
	   mysys# camcontrol inquiry da2 -S

     Now that you have used the	Serial Number to compare two disk paths	it is
     not entirely unreasonable to conclude that	these are multiple paths to
     the same device.  However,	only the user who is familiar with their stor-
     age is qualified to make this judgement.

     You can then use the gmultipath command to	label and create a MULTIPATH
     GEOM provider named FRED.

	   gmultipath label -v FRED /dev/da0 /dev/da2
	   disklabel -Brw /dev/multipath/FRED auto
	   newfs /dev/multipath/FREDa
	   mount /dev/multipath/FREDa /mnt....

     The resultant console output looks	something like:

	   GEOM_MULTIPATH: da0 added to	FRED
	   GEOM_MULTIPATH: da0 is now active path in FRED
	   GEOM_MULTIPATH: da2 added to	FRED

     To	load the gmultipath module at boot time, add this entry	to


     geom(4), isp(4), mpt(4), loader.conf(5), camcontrol(8), geom(8),
     mount(8), newfs(8), sysctl(8)

     The gmultipath utility first appeared in FreeBSD 7.0

     Matthew Jacob <>
     Alexander Motin <>

FreeBSD	Ports 11.2	       September 8, 2016	    FreeBSD Ports 11.2


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