Fibre Channel (SAN)

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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎06-16-2008

Extend Fabric between Mcdata/Brocade and MDS

Hello,

In my company we've 2 fabrics made of:

2x Mcdata DS4700M - M-EOS 9.09.05 - Domain ID 1

2x Mcdata DS24M2 - M-EOS 9.09.05 - Domain ID 2 <- connected to DS4700 with LongWave SFP in a different building

2x Brocade DS5000B - FOS 6.3.0c - Domain ID 99 <- connetected to DS4700 with ShortWave SFP

Since my company is going to move to a new building I need to extend my SAN in order to connected the new EMC storage to the "old" one.

Consider that we'd like also to implement Nexus 5548UP switches in the new building in order to progressive move to the FCOE standards...

Which kind of SAN switches should I buy in order to be compatible (and propagate the zone set) with the existing Mcdata/Brocade world and also the new FCOE standards (Nexus...)?

A consultant told me that the Nexus switches can be connected via FC to any devices non-Cisco only if is set in NPIV mode... is It true?

Thanks

Regards

Valued Contributor
Posts: 931
Registered: ‎12-30-2009

Re: Extend Fabric between Mcdata/Brocade and MDS

If Cisco NPIV mode is similar to Brocade's Access Gateway, then yes.

That would mean that the Cisco device has disabled fabric services, no domain id and does not participate in zoning.

Regular Contributor
Posts: 201
Registered: ‎11-24-2009

Re: Extend Fabric between Mcdata/Brocade and MDS

Cisco name for it is NPV Mode and it's mostly equivalent to Brocade's own Access Gateway. Both do F-Port aggregation with NPIV.

NPIV standard is the modern and preferred way for cross-vendor integration.

Fabric interop modes, on the other hand, is the 'last chance' when one needs to merge SANs from different vendors (for instance, as a result of company merger/acquisition followed by IT consolidation). When planning a new SAN I would try to avoid cross-vendor interop as much as I can.

Talking about FCoE and the future, you might as well want to try Brocade VCS which is a complete, commercially available end-to-end DCB/FCoE solution.

Brocade VCS competes directly with Cisco Nexus offering.

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎06-16-2008

Re: Extend Fabric between Mcdata/Brocade and MDS

thank you very much for your answers...

Unfortunately our Network Administrator has decided to move to the Cisco World for the LAN...

So, In order to have SAN integration, I've to find a way to move my SAN in this direction.

What do you think about If I buy 4x MDS, 2x in the old building attached to the Brocade ( in NPIV and removing the old MCDATAs) and 2x in the new building attached on the Nexus?

At the end of the Lun Migrations, I can probably discharge the Brocades, In order to have all Cisco enviroment and better integration between FC and FCOE.

Does exists a way to save my zones from the Mcdatas and convert in the Brocade Way?

Regular Contributor
Posts: 201
Registered: ‎11-24-2009

Re: Extend Fabric between Mcdata/Brocade and MDS

Competitive speech aside, buying four MDS switches at this stage doesn't look as a smart investment, because then you'll have to run two migration projects: first from McDATA/Brocade to Cisco MDS and then rather soon from MDS to pure Nexus environment. Thus your MDS's won't return on investment.

I would replace McDATAs with Brocade switches first, so that I have native Brocade FC environment. Because you're already running Brocade SAN, this upgrade is way easier than rip-and-replace with all-new MDS gear. Nexus switches can then be connected to your Brocade SAN with NPV which is industry standard and does not require interoperability tuning.

When time comes to move to native FCoE you'd still retire your FC switches, but at least you won't need to run two complex migration projects.

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎06-16-2008

Re: Extend Fabric between Mcdata/Brocade and MDS

Consider that I've to keep alive the FC world since several devices will still remain with this technology (for example the Tape Library.. that has 10x connections)

So FC switches should always stay connected to the FCOE ones....

And If I do this with the brocade switches connected in NPIV mode to the nexus, the "switching engine" run on the Nexus.... and I don't want to do this...

What If a Nexus goes down?

Regular Contributor
Posts: 201
Registered: ‎11-24-2009

Re: Extend Fabric between Mcdata/Brocade and MDS

Well I thought you plan to use Nexus in NPV mode to connect to Brocade SAN. In this case FC switching runs on Brocades and Nexus is seen from the SAN as just an edge F-Port aggregator.

If you do it the other way around then ofcourse it's a whole different story.

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