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nPartition Administrator's Guide > Chapter 1 Getting Started with nPartitions

Introduction to nPartitions

 

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Cell-based HP servers enable you to configure a single server complex as one large system or as multiple smaller systems by configuring nPartitions.

Each nPartition defines a subset of server hardware resources to be used as an independent system environment. An nPartition includes one or more cells assigned to it (with processors and memory) and all I/O chassis connected to those cells.

All processors, memory, and I/O in an nPartition are used exclusively by software running in the nPartition. Thus, each nPartition has its own system boot interface, and each nPartition boots and reboots independently.

Each nPartition provides both hardware and software isolation, so that hardware or software faults in one nPartition do not affect other nPartitions within the same server complex.

You can reconfigure nPartition definitions for a server without physically modifying the server hardware configuration by using the HP software-based nPartition management tools.

For procedures for creating and reconfiguring nPartitions, see Chapter 6.

Operating Systems Supported on nPartitions

Table 1-1 lists the operating systems that can run on nPartitions.

For an overview of the server models that support nPartitions, see “HP Server Support for nPartitions”.

For details on operating system boot and reset procedures, see Chapter 5.

Table 1-1 nPartition Operating System Support

Operating SystemSupported Cell-Based Servers
HP-UX 11i v1 (B.11.11)

HP-UX 11i v1 (B.11.11) is supported on HP 9000 servers, including the cell-based HP 9000 servers.

The HP-UX 11i v1 (B.11.11) December 2003 release and later supports rp7420, rp8420, and HP 9000 Superdome (SD16A, SD32A, SD64A models), based on the HP sx1000 chipset.

The HP-UX 11i v1 (B.11.11) December 2006 release and later supports rp7440, rp8440, and HP 9000 Superdome (SD16B, SD32B, SD64B models), based on the HP sx2000 chipset.

HP-UX 11i v1 does not support cell local memory.

Also see “nPartition Hardware Requirements for Operating Systems”.

HP-UX 11i v2 (B.11.23)

HP-UX 11i v2 (B.11.23) is supported on HP Integrity servers, including the cell-based HP Integrity servers.

The HP-UX 11i v2 (B.11.23) September 2004 release and later also supports cell-based HP 9000 servers based on the HP sx1000 chipset.

HP-UX 11i v2 supports cell local memory.

Also see “nPartition Hardware Requirements for Operating Systems”.

HP-UX 11i v3 (B.11.31)

HP-UX 11i v3 (B.11.31) is supported on HP Integrity servers and HP 9000 servers.

HP-UX 11i v3 is supported on all servers based on the HP sx1000 chipset, and on HP Integrity servers based on the HP sx2000 chipset.

HP-UX 11i v3 supports cell local memory.

Also see “nPartition Hardware Requirements for Operating Systems”.

HP OpenVMS I64 8.2-1 and 8.3

OpenVMS I64 8.2-1 is supported on cell-based HP Integrity servers based on the HP sx1000 chipset.

OpenVMS I64 8.3 is supported on HP Integrity servers based on the HP sx1000 and sx2000 chipsets.

OpenVMS I64 does not support cell local memory.

Also see “nPartition Hardware Requirements for Operating Systems”.

Microsoft Windows Server 2003

Windows Server 2003 is supported on HP Integrity servers, including the cell-based HP Integrity servers.

Windows Server 2003 supports cell local memory.

Also see “nPartition Hardware Requirements for Operating Systems”.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 Update 2

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 Update 3

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 are supported on HP Integrity servers, including the cell-based HP Integrity servers.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux does not support cell local memory.

Also see “nPartition Hardware Requirements for Operating Systems”.

SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9

SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 10

SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 and SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 are supported on HP Integrity servers, including the cell-based HP Integrity servers.

SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 and SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 support cell local memory.

Also see “nPartition Hardware Requirements for Operating Systems”.

 

HP Server Support for nPartitions

HP supports nPartition capabilities on cell-based servers, listed in Table 1-2.

On HP Superdome servers based on the HP sx1000 chipset, you can mix both PA-RISC nPartitions and Intel Itanium 2 nPartitions in the same server complex under specific system configurations. For details, refer to “HP Superdome Hybrid Servers: Intel Itanium 2 and PA-RISC nPartition Mixing”.

The same basic nPartition features are supported for cell-based HP 9000 servers and cell-based HP Integrity servers, though some differences exist in the sets of supported tools and management capabilities. Where such differences exist, this document notes them.

Table 1-2 HP Servers Supporting nPartitions

HP 9000 Servers. HP 9000 servers have PA-RISC processors.

The first-generation cell-based HP 9000 servers include the following models:

  • HP 9000 Superdome servers, including the SD16000, SD32000, and SD64000 models. These models support up to 16 cells in a server complex.

  • HP 9000 rp8400 model, which supports up to four cells in a server complex.

  • HP 9000 rp7405/rp7410, which supports up to two cells in a server complex.

For details see “Server Hardware Details: Cell-Based HP Servers”.

The following second-generation cell-based HP 9000 servers use the HP sx1000 chipset. For details see “sx1000 Chipset for HP Servers”.

  • HP 9000 Superdome servers, including the SD16A, SD32A, and SD64A models. These models support up to 16 cells in a server complex.

  • HP 9000 rp8420 model, which supports up to four cells in a server complex.

  • HP 9000 rp7420 model, which supports up to two cells in a server complex.

The following third-generation cell-based HP 9000 servers use the HP sx2000 chipset. For details see “sx2000 Chipset for HP Servers”.

  • HP 9000 Superdome servers, including the SD16B, SD32B, and SD64B models. These models support up to 16 cells in a server complex.

  • HP 9000 rp8440 model, which supports up to four cells in a server complex.

  • HP 9000 rp7440 model, which supports up to two cells in a server complex.

For details see “Server Hardware Details: Cell-Based HP Servers”.

HP Integrity Servers. HP Integrity servers have Intel Itanium 2 processors.

The Intel Itanium processor family architecture was co-developed by Hewlett-Packard and Intel.

Cell-based HP Integrity servers use either the HP sx1000 chipset or the HP sx2000 chipset.

The following cell-based HP Integrity servers use the HP sx1000 chipset; for details see “sx1000 Chipset for HP Servers”.

  • HP Integrity Superdome servers include the SD16A, SD32A, and SD64A models. These models support up to 16 cells in a server complex.

  • The HP Integrity rx8620 model supports up to four cells in a server complex.

  • The HP Integrity rx7620 model supports up to two cells in a server complex.

The following cell-based HP Integrity servers use the HP sx2000 chipset; for details see “sx2000 Chipset for HP Servers”.

  • HP Integrity Superdome servers include the SD16B, SD32B, and SD64B models. These models support up to 16 cells in a server complex.

  • The HP Integrity rx8640 model supports up to four cells in a server complex.

  • The HP Integrity rx7640 model supports up to two cells in a server complex.

For details see “Server Hardware Details: Cell-Based HP Servers”.

 

HP Superdome Hybrid Servers: Intel Itanium 2 and PA-RISC nPartition Mixing

HP Superdome servers based on the HP sx1000 chipset can support hybrid configurations with both PA-RISC nPartitions and Intel Itanium 2 nPartitions in the same server complex.

NOTE: For details and restrictions on mixing PA-RISC nPartitions and Intel Itanium 2 nPartitions on HP Superdome servers based on the HP sx2000 chipset, see the HP Integrity Superdome/sx2000 Service Guide.

On Superdome hybrid servers based on the HP sx1000 chipset, each nPartition must have only PA-RISC processor or Intel Itanium 2 processors. However, both types of nPartitions can reside in the same server complex. Within each PA-RISC nPartition, all cells must have the same processor revision level. Within each Intel Itanium 2 nPartition, all cells must have the same cell compatibility value.

NOTE: Specific firmware, operating systems, and management tools are required to supported mixing PA-RISC nPartitions and Intel Itanium 2 nPartitions on Superdome hybrid servers.

For details, refer to HP Superdome Hybrid Servers, which is available from the http://docs.hp.com/en/hw.html Web site under the HP 9000 Superdome Server and HP Integrity Superdome Server links.

Hardware Components of nPartition-Capable Servers

All hardware within a cell-based server—including all cells, I/O chassis, cables, cabinet hardware, fans, and power and utility components—is considered to be a server complex.

Within each cell-based server cabinet are one or more cells, each of which contains processors and memory.

Each cell-based server cabinet can have multiple I/O chassis that provide PCI slots for I/O cards. I/O resources also include any I/O devices attached to I/O cards within the I/O chassis.

Core I/O is required for each nPartition to provide console services and other boot and management abilities. On first-generation cell-based servers and HP sx1000 chipset-based servers, core I/O is provided by a PCI card residing in an I/O chassis. On HP sx2000 chipset-based servers, core I/O is provided on each cell. On all cell-based servers, each nPartition has only one core I/O active at a time.

Each I/O chassis connects to only one cell in the server. Some cell-based servers also support optional I/O expansion cabinets to provide additional I/O chassis. An HP Superdome complex can consist of one cabinet or two server cabinets, and can also include one or two I/O expansion cabinets (to provide additional I/O chassis). The two-cell HP servers consists of a single server cabinet only. The four-cell servers consists of a single server cabinet and can optionally include one I/O expansion cabinet to provide two additional I/O chassis.

For details on listing and managing nPartition hardware components, see Chapter 7.

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