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VXVM Tutorial


Veritas Volume Manager is a storage management application by Symantec ,

which allows you to manage physical disks as logical devices called volumes.

VxVM uses two types of objects to perform the storage management

1. Physical objects are direct mappings to physical disks

2 . Virtual objects are volumes, plexes, subdisks and diskgroups.

a. Disk groups are composed of Volumes

b. Volumes are composed of Plexes and Subdisks

c. Plexes are composed of SubDisks

d. Subdisks are actual disk space segments of VxVM disk ( directly mapped
from the physical disks)

Initialize Physical Disks under VxVM control

A formatted physical disk is considered uninitialized until it is initialized for

use by VxVM. When a disk is initialized, partitions for the public and private
regions are created, VM disk header information is written to the private
region and actual data is written to Public region. During the normal
initialization process any data or partitions that may have existed on the disk
are removed.

Note: Encapsulation is another method of placing a disk under VxVM control

in which existing data on the disk is preserved

An initialized disk is placed into the VxVM free disk pool. The VxVM free disk
pool contains disks that have been initialized but that have not yet been
assigned to a disk group. These disks are under Volume Manager control but
cannot be used by Volume Manager until they are added to a disk group

Steps to Recognize new disks under VxVM control

1. Run the below command to see the available disks under VxVM control

# vxdisk list

in the output you will see below status

error indicates that the disk has neither been initialized nor encapsulated by
VxVM. The disk is uninitialized.

online indicates that the drive has been initialized or encapsulated.

online invalid indicated that disk is visible to VxVM but not controlled by

If disks are visible with format command but not visible with vxdisk list
command, run below command to scan the new disks for VxVM

# vxdctl enable

Now you should see new disks with the status of Online Invalid

2. Initialize each disk with vxdisksetup command

#/etc/vx/bin/vxdisksetup -i

after running this command vxdisk list should see the status as online for
all the newly initialized disks

4. Virtual Objects (DiskGroups / Volumes / Plexs ) in VxVM

Disk Groups

A disk group is a collection of VxVM disks ( going forward we will call them as
VM Disks ) that share a common configuration. Disk groups allow you to
group disks into logical group of Subdisks called plexes which in turn forms
the volumes.


A volume is a virtual disk device that appears to applications, databases, and

file systems like a physical disk device, but does not have the physical
limitations of a physical disk device. A volume consists of one or more plexes,
each holding a copy of the selected data in the volume.


VxVM uses subdisks to create virtual objects called plexes. A plex consists of
one or more subdisks located on one or more physical disks.

From the below diagram you can observer below points

The Diskgroup named Diskgroup_o1 is created using 4 different VM disks
named as vxdisk_0x, vxdisk_oy, vxdisk_oz and vxdisk_oa

The diskfgroup Diskgroup_01 was configured with 4 different volumes i.e.

1. Concat_vol 2. striped_vol 3. mirror_vol and 4. raid5_vol

Concat_vol is a concatenation volume with single plex i.e. con_plex01 inside,

and con_plex01 was build up using 4 subdisks of different size

Striped_vol is a striped volume with single plex i.e. stripe_plex01 inside, and
stripe_plex01 was build up using 4 subdisks of same size

mirror_vol is a mirrored volume with two plexes named mplex01 and

mplex02 inside, each plex is copy of other. Both the plexes formed with
different subdisks of either same size or different size.

raid5_vol is a raid5 ( striped with parity) volume which build up using 3

different plexes formed with the subdisks of 3 different VM disks.

Summary Transformation of Physical disks into Veritas Volumes

Below diagram shows you the complete transformation of a physical disk into
a veritas volume. And below is the summary of complete process

1. Recognize disks under solaris using devfsadm, cfgadm or reconfiguration

reboot , and verify using format command

2. Recognize the disks under VxVM using vxdctl enable

3. Initialize the disks under VxVM using vxdisksetup

4. Add the disks to Veritas Disk Group using vxdg commands

5. Create Volumes under Disk Group using vxmake or vxassist commands

6. Create filesystem on top of volumes using mkfs or newfs, and you can
create either VXFS filesystem or UFS filesystem