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Fibre Channel (SAN)

New Contributor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎03-20-2014

New SAN Implementation

Hello Community -


My company recently acquired a new Dell Compellent SAN solution. It is to be used as our new tier 1 solution for all virtual SAP related systems. This means that all virtual workloads for the SAP environment will be migrated off the AX4 (EMC) to the Compellent.


We currently have 2 (4GB) fiber channel switches servicing the existing EMC, AX4-5 SAN. The Compellent solution came with an additional pair of newer (8GB) fiber channel switches.


My questions:


1. What would you guys recommend in regards to migrating all virtual workloadsa to the new SAN without introducing downtime.

2. Can we merge all fiber channel switches into one domain? Will this introduced downtime or unnecessary complications in regards to the zone configuration?

Note: The company has no plans of this but if it is possible to use all 4 fiber channel switches to continue servicing both SANs, that would be a bonus. It would help if you have any instructions on how to do this.

3. Is it best to keep these environments separate in the interest of the migration? In other words see approach below.


Here's what I'm proposing:


1. Physically connect new Compellent SAN to existing (old) fabric backbone
Would need to release used ports or temporarily license new ones
2. Create new zones to include Dell’s Compellent solution
Add required ESXi hosts to newly created zones
3. Create or configure host access to Compellent
This would apply to the ESXi hosts used for the migration
4. Create new volume(s) for migration purposes
Map new volumes to required ESXi hosts


Note: This is not a complete list of tasks, but it seems to be one that offers the least path of resistance. The catch, I think would be what happens when we have finished migrating the virtual workloads. How would we migrate the Dell compellent to the new pair of fiber channel switches? Can we migrate the storage processors, one at a time to the new fabric without downtime?


I appreciate all the help on this.




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

Re: New SAN Implementation

I would not interconnect all 4 sanswitches but pair them up into two fabrics.

Do you have a current schema of your environment, if so please attach.


Also post a a licenseshow for all switches, if you're missing an E-port/fabric license it's not going to work anyway.

New Contributor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎03-20-2014

Re: New SAN Implementation

Hi Dion,


Thanks for the reply. Here's the licensheshow output for the older switches:


HOST:admin> licenseshow
Fabric license
First Ports on Demand license - additional 8 port upgrade license
Enhanced Group Management license
8 Gig FC license


It doesn't look like we have trunking support or e-port. BTW - We haven't received the new switches yet. 


What are the steps required to setup a fabric and what is the advantage of this? It seems the older switches are operating as individuals.





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

Re: New SAN Implementation

[ Edited ]

Fabric license should enable you to interconnect switches.

It seems your current switches have that license, if the new switches have it as well you are set to go.


Trunking is not needed to interconnect switches,  but may be nice to have.

E-port is another way of saying you've interconnected or ISLed your switches.

Whether a port can become an E-port is goverend by the Fabric license.


A fabric is a term to identify a (set of) switch(es) that share a zoning database (among other things).


If the older switches are working independent then they represent a fabric on their own.

If you would like to post you fabricshow and islshow output for both switches, we can confirm the if the switches are one fabric or two.

Posts: 44
Registered: ‎12-23-2013

Re: New SAN Implementation

hi aries


at this time all new switches have Fabric license installed


like dion , neither me would advise to connect all switches into one fabric.

it's better to have 2 fabrics for example:

1) (ax4-SPA0 and ax4-SPB1 plus CMLcontr0-0 and CMLcontr1-1)


2) (ax4-SPA1 and ax4-SPB0 plus CMLcontr0-1 and CMLcontr1-0)


there's no downtime required , isl (E-port) will comeup automaticaly once you patch ports on the switches


all you need to do is just install compellent , patch controllers (most of customers buy 2 controlers),  and configure it


about moving your virtual machines , it's easy as you use vmware:

1) update zonning

2) on cml > create new folder and assign to new servers

3) on vcenter  > create new datastore

4) run vstoragemotion


don't understand your last 2 qustions , if you would explain them in more details then I will answer



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