Fibre Channel (SAN)

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Posts: 1
Registered: ‎08-03-2012

Fabric Switch Upgrade Options

Hi, I am an IT Architect familiar with SAN fabrics but more of a generalist then a SAN fabric expert.  What I am interested in knowing is whether one can swap out current SAN Fabric switches with a newer model with minimal impact and work.

Scenario:

We currently have two Brocade 300 switches each of which are a separate fabric.  We have a secondary site where we want to add two Brocade 300 switches to that SAN to provide fabric connectivity in that data centre in a consitent manner to how we operate in the primary data centre.  This is mainly to keep the consistency between the administrative interfaces and products in use to ease any learning curve.

Since the current Brocade 300 switches are a few years old and have their capacity nearly maxed out, I am interested in whether we could introduce two new Brocade 5100 switches into the existing fabrics, migrate the existing Brocade 300 connected devices over to these switches and then remove the Brocade 300 switches an take them to the secondary site?

In addition, since these existing Brocade 300 switches have been increased to include all the available GBIC ports for these devices, can those GBIC and licenses be moved to the Brocade 5100 to increse it from the base 24.

Since the secondary site will NOT require as many ports, this would allow us to take 8 - 16 ports from the older devices and put them in the 5100 increasing our data centre's capacity for FC connections and meet the need in our secondary data centre with the single purchase.

Any input is greatly appreciated.  Internally when I mentioned such a notion I was met with (That would be a whole LOT of WORK)  I need to quantify that effort.  Since we have redundant fabrics in the data centre this should be a non-disruptive upgrade effort with minimal risk OR I am complely off my rocker....

Thanks in advance.

Mark

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎09-02-2011

Re: Fabric Switch Upgrade Options

I've done this often.  The largest impact is how the hosts handle fcid changes.  For instance AIX stores these values in the ODM, so unless you use the same ports for both host and storage(as well as the same Domain ID on the switch) it will not be able to discover its storage without doing a cfgmgr and some subsequent cleanup of the lspath output (if using MPIO).  Other OSs handle this much better since they do more of an active probing.  I would create a spreadsheet showing source/destination pairs for each host and you can create a good plan for how you're going to move each port and how that will affect your storage communication. As long as you validate pathing and ensure you maintain healthy paths to each host you will be fine.  Just go slow and methodical.

As for the license question I'm not sure.  Mine have always been rip/replace operations.

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