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Dynamically adding storage for use with multipath I/O

This document (3000817) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.


SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9

Please note, this document is obsolete for newer SLES versions.
For SLES10/11 please check the multipathing chapter in the Storage Admin Guide instead.

SAN suited for multiple paths to storage

The Linux installation has already been configured to use Device-Mapper Multipath I/O (DM-MPIO) per the article "How to setup / use multipathing on SLES".

The Linux driver for the host base adapters (HBAs) on the system supports rescanning the HBA to detect the addition or deletion of storage areas ("SAN disks"). For example, a QLogic or Emulex HBA is being used.

The system has been booted with kernel parameters for SCSI device scanning that are appropriate for the SCSI device numbering plan being followed in the SAN and for the SCSI levels reported by the HBAs as discussed in TID 3955167 - Troubleshooting SCSI (LUN) scanning issues.


Adding SAN storage to the Linux system and setting up multiple I/O paths to it without needing to reboot the system.


Follow these steps to allocate new storage on the SAN, make it visible to the Linux system and use it to create new filesystems or to expand existing filesystems residing on logical volumes:
  1. Allocate the storage on the SAN and update its access control settings to allow the Linux system access to the new storage. How this is done in detail is highly dependent on the components of the SAN and its architecture; refer to the SAN vendor's documentation for details.

  2. On the Linux system, instruct the HBA driver to rescan the SAN to discover the new storage area ("LUN"). The exact commands depend on the kernel version and driver.

    With SLES9, the Qlogic and Emulex drivers require different commands for rescanning. For example, for a QLogic 2300 HBA, the command is
    echo scsi-qlascan > /proc/scsi/qla2xxx/
    whereas for an Emulex HBA, it is
    echo 1 > /sys/class/scsi_host/hostX/issue_lip
    (replace X with the appropriate Number of your HBA).                                                                                                                                                                                                  
  3. If the HBA driver supports it, check that the new disk is seen by the HBA driver correctly (at this point, the newly added LUN will not yet be known to the higher layers of the Linux kernel's SCSI subsystem and will not yet be usable).

    With SLES9 for a QLogic 2300 HBA, run
    less /proc/scsi/qla2xxx/
    and check the "SCSI LUN information" section. The entries for the newly added disks are indicated by a "*" after the flags.
    Unfortunately, there is no equivalent for Emulex cards.

  4. Make the new device known to the middle layer of the Linux kernel's SCSI subsystem. This can be done in two ways.
    • Through the
      command which rescans the SCSI subsystem for changes. Depending on the SCSI device numbering plan in use, arguments may need to be used to enlarge the scope of the search or to control it more carefully, e.g through -l -w -c
      which will search LUNs other than 0, scan for more device IDs and for more channels, or through --hosts="hostlist" --channels="channellist" --ids="idlist" --luns="lunlist"
    • Alternatively, one can
      echo "scsi add-single-device 0 1 2 3"> /proc/scsi/scsi
      to add the storage with host ID 0, channel ID 1, target ID 2, LUN ID 3, or, with kernel 2.6.5-7.257 or newer,
      echo "- - -"> /sys/class/scsi_host/hostX/scan
              (replace X with the appropriate Number of your HBA)  to rescan all targets on a host.
    NOTE - If the above steps do not present the LUN to the host, a server restart may be required.

  5. Run
    to have the new devices be picked up for DM-MPIO.
  6. Examine /dev/disk/by-id to identify the persistent device names for the new storage area(s) and use the persistent device names for further operations (including filesystem creation and addition to /etc/fstab).
  7. If LVM is to be used for the new storage area(s), configure LVM at this point, either through YaST or using the LVM command line tools, starting with pvcreate.

Additional Information

Alternative: Expand an existing storage area

The procedure in this document covers how to add and use new storage areas. In some situations, it can be preferable to expand an existing storage area (LUN) and resize the filesystem(s) residing on it. For details on that procedure, refer to TID 3129645 - How to Expand a Multipath-Enabled LUN.

Caveat regarding device names

The /dev/sd* device entry for a storage area may change on a reboot (e.g. when other storage areas are allocated or removed). This is not problematic for an MPIO setup, but may cause problems when applying steps from this document to a non-multipath setup. In a non-multipath setup, the device names in /dev/disk/by-id should be used instead of the /dev/sd* names as the/dev/disk/by-id names persist over reboots.

Adding additional storage to a mainframe LPAR

A similar procedure to add additional storage (DASDs) to an LPAR on an IBM zSeries mainframe is documented in z/VM and Linux on IBM System z The Virtualization Cookbook - A cookbook for installing and customizing z/VM 5.2 and Linux SLES 10 on the mainframe.


This Support Knowledgebase provides a valuable tool for SUSE customers and parties interested in our products and solutions to acquire information, ideas and learn from one another. Materials are provided for informational, personal or non-commercial use within your organization and are presented "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

  • Document ID:3000817
  • Creation Date: 15-Oct-2007
  • Modified Date:03-Mar-2020
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

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