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New Contributor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎07-03-2010

Brocade 300 mpio configuration for virtualization in SMB

I've been trying to find an answer to this in the Brocade documentation for the model 300 switch. I'm currently replacing some existing/old equipment for my company and have been flip-flopping on storage architecture options for the past few days. Ultimately, I've decided that budget-wise a pair of Brocade 300 switches hit the mark totally and dual-port fiber HBA's won't break the budget either. It ends up being cheaper than iSCSI since we'd need new core switches to support it, and we've no interest in unified fabric just yet (waiting until core switches are due for replacement, and they're only a year old).

So I will have ten servers for virtualization, each with a 4Gb dual-port HBA. I'd like to ensure multipathed IO for the storage network, so will be connecting each of the two ports to different switches. My storage system, an IBM N6040 (NetApp FAS3100) has two 4Gb target ports per filer head (active/active cluster). I'll likewise be connecting one port on each head to a different switch to ensure fully redundant pathing and we'll be putting all our eggs in one basket, so-to-speak, as far as our IT infrastructure goes.

My understanding is that the two switches need to be connected to each other via ISL to be "aware" of each other (like ethernet switch stacking), but I've not found anything in the documentation or whitepapers that describes a simple multipathed FC solution like this so I ask, is this the correct configuration for what I'm trying to do, and do I require more than one port for ISL if so?

Our current gear runs on older rebranded IBM FC switches, and they aren't linked at all, thus the confusion. I'm hoping for some clarity and insight so I can come up with an actual hardware recommendation to get this project approved. Thanks for your time!

Super Contributor
Posts: 635
Registered: ‎04-12-2010

Re: Brocade 300 mpio configuration for virtualization in SMB

Hi,

If I picked up all the information correctly I would like to say that you put all eggs into one basket if you connect both switches with an ISL.

You will have a single fabric which can may fail due to serveral reasons.

I suggest to run two fabrics. Connect each filer head to each switch. Use maybe port 0a & 0b for switch one and 0c & 0d for switch two of each filer head.

Port 0a & 0b are the onboard ports and sharing the same ASIC on the NetApp head. Sorry IBM head.

NetApp recommends to use additional PCI cards as initiator cards for the loop connections.

Zoning can look like that:

Fabric1 (switch one)

Zone1: srv01_1;head1_0a

Zone2: srv01_1;head2_0a

Zone3: srv02_1;head1_0b

Zone4: srv02_1;head2_0b

...

Fabric2 (switch two)

Zone1: srv01_2;head1_0c

Zone2: srv01_2;head2_0c

Zone3: srv02_2;head1_0d

Zone4: srv02_2;head2_0d

...

Avoid a zoning like any to any.

Install the NetApp Hostutilities on your servers.

Try to run 50% of your servers over filer head 1 and 50% over filer head 2.

I assume that the load on the servers is balanced.

I hope this helps.

Regards, Andreas

New Contributor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎07-03-2010

Re: Brocade 300 mpio configuration for virtualization in SMB

Yes, this does help. A lot!

Here is another consideration, the existing site has two old IBM Bladecenters connected to two old IBM 2005-16b fiber channel switches (Brocade 200E). Most of this stuff works okay but is out of warranty, hence the replacement.

Can I connect the new 300's to the old 200E's via ISL and maintain the existing fabrics (they ARE two separate fabrics)? That way the new switches and servers can connect through the existing fabrics to the filer heads with minor zoning additions, and the old Bladecenters will still be connected as well until I'm ready to decomission them. Then I should be able to move the connections from the filers heads to the existing 200E's over to the new 300's without any changes (multipathing should keep the hosts online and the zoning should remain unchanged). Or am I mistaken? Should I just buy an additional pair of adapters for the filer and operate it completely separately?

Thanks again!

Super Contributor
Posts: 425
Registered: ‎03-03-2010

Re: Brocade 300 mpio configuration for virtualization in SMB

To connect the 300 to 200E, you need Full fabric License or 4 Domain fabric Licenses in all 4 SWs. Then you can merge the 300 SWs  to existing 200Es, which are redundant fabrics. Then you can connect the Filers for redundancy. Now for merging purpose, pls find attached pdf of SAn migration guide..

After that what you want to do? pls let me know.

If you find the thread correct pls make it correct

Contributor
Posts: 20
Registered: ‎09-20-2007

Re: Brocade 300 mpio configuration for virtualization in SMB

Instead of creating zones for each head like this:

Fabric1 (switch one)

Zone1: srv01_1;head1_0a

Zone2: srv01_1;head2_0a

Zone3: srv02_1;head1_0b

Zone4: srv02_1;head2_0b

...

Fabric2 (switch two)

Zone1: srv01_2;head1_0c

Zone2: srv01_2;head2_0c

Zone3: srv02_2;head1_0d

Zone4: srv02_2;head2_0d

Is there anything wrong with zoning like this:

Fabric1 (switch one)

Zone1: srv01_1;head1_0a, head2_0a

Zone2: srv02_1;head1_0b, head2_0b

...

Fabric2 (switch two)

Zone1: srv01_2;head1_0c, head2_0c

Zone2: srv02_2;head1_0d, head2_0d

I am getting mixed suggestions from the vendors and there is ZERO documentation/recommendations...that I can find.

Super Contributor
Posts: 635
Registered: ‎04-12-2010

Re: Brocade 300 mpio configuration for virtualization in SMB

Hi Daryl,

both will work in the same way.

It is more a general handling topic. In bigger SANs it gets diffucult if you add multiple initiators and tagrets in a single zone.

Its up to you how you prefer your zoning. To have a good naming convention for zoning is very helpfull.

Best regards,

Andreas

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