Data Center

How Open and Simple is a VCS Fabric?

by on ‎06-06-2012 11:24 PM - last edited on ‎10-28-2013 08:16 PM by bcm1 (739 Views)

Since the launch of VCS Fabrics, an important feature is the ease of deploying them with existing network infrastructure. Yesterday,Colin, at UCSguru.com published a blog titled "UCS and VCS a Great Combination".  UCS, of course, refers to Cisco UCS servers.  Here is the configuration Colin put together.

 

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Source: UCSguru.com [click to enlarge]

 

This test configuration has a VDX 67xx series VCS Fabric at the top of rack acting as an aggregation layer connecting to the Nexus 5000 switches in front of UCS servers with Cisco Catalyst routers at the core.  That looks pretty interoperable doesn't it?

 

Some of the Colin's observations:

 

  • The CLI was very familiar to an old Cisco guy like me which was very re-assuring and made navigating the NOS CLI really easy.
  • The Auto formation of the Brocade Trunks was great, no config at all required, the Switches just recognized that they have multiple links to the same switches and auto channeled them at hardware level.
  • The vLAG (LACP Software) Channels worked really well, giving all the benefits of VSS or vPC but without the limitation of only being able to channel from or to a single pair of switches.
  • Now for the best bit, in order to turn these 3 separate or “Classic Mode” Brocade VDX switches into an Ethernet Fabric “VCS Mode” took all of 1 line of code on each switch. Literally just set the RBridge ID (Think of this as the unique switch identifier, similar to a stack member in a Catalyst 3750 stack)and VCS ID and job done. 
    VDX6720-1# vcs rbridge-id 1 vcsid 1 enable
  • The ease and simplicity of setting up a Brocade VCS Fabric will no doubt be its main differentiator over the other Ethernet Fabric offerings along with its relatively low price point for full Ethernet Fabric functionality.
  • Anyway this post was to give you my opinion on how I found setting up Cisco UCS with Brocade VCS. In short really easy and am liking what I am seeing from Brocade VCS. Can see why EMC have added Brocade VDX switches as an option in their VSPEX architecture

 

I plan to post more about interoperable configurations of VCS Fabrics now that I'm part of the Strategic Solutions Validation lab.  Stay Tuned...

 

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