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C7000 with Virtual Connect Flex Fabric 10Gb/24-port module

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TechC
Regular Advisor

C7000 with Virtual Connect Flex Fabric 10Gb/24-port module



Hello,



We are implementing the HP C7000 blade chassis with some bl460c g7 blade servers.

We will be using the p4000 series iSCSI SANs for storage.

We also want to connect an HP Tape library via fibre channel to one of the blade servers via interconnect on the C7000 chassis. We would like to use the Virtual Connect Flex Fabric 10Gb/24-port modules as our interconnects for the blade servers and to attach the FC library Can someone please tell me what connectors and mezzanine cards are needed if any to make this work? Also what additional licenses if any are needed to facilitate the Virtual Connect functionality?



I have read up on the Virtual Connect Flex Fabric 10Gb/24-port module and while it says it allows you to bring Ethernet, Fibre Channel, and high performance iSCSI into a single module., I cannot seem to find exactly what connectors I need and if it will indeed allow my blade servers and FC tape library to connect up to the chassis.



Thank you

Jimmy
13 REPLIES
The Brit
Honored Contributor

Re: C7000 with Virtual Connect Flex Fabric 10Gb/24-port module

Hi Jimmy,
I may be wrong, however I think you are still going to need to attach your tape library to an external FC Switch of some type. I dont think the library can be connected directly to a port on the IC module.

Interesting question though.

Dave.
Robert_Jewell
Honored Contributor

Re: C7000 with Virtual Connect Flex Fabric 10Gb/24-port module

Thats correct. An important thing to remember is that the VC modules are NOT switches.

-Bob
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TechC
Regular Advisor

Re: C7000 with Virtual Connect Flex Fabric 10Gb/24-port module

OK now I am really confused.

The reason is this.. I have had two HP engineers via chat on the HP website tell me that if I use the 403626-B21 FC Pass thru module interconnect in the C7000, and the bl460c-G7 has an FC mezzanine card like the 456972-B21 Dual Port FC HBA.. then I do not need an FC switch between the chassis and the FC tape library. Does this sound incorrect to you guys?

They also confirmed that if I wanted to use the 571956-B21 FlexFabric interconnect instead of the FC passthrough module, and the blade server has a flex adapter(which the G7 does) then I also do not need an FC switch between the chassis and the FC tape library.

Now I am just looking to connect the library to the blade server via direct FC connection and am still unsure if it's possible with the blade server architecture..

Thanks again
TechC
Regular Advisor

Re: C7000 with Virtual Connect Flex Fabric 10Gb/24-port module

Another think that makes me feel that this is possible is that the FC protocol does not need a switch in between two devices to communicate. For example in the case that you have a host with an FC HBA directly connected via FC to a tape library or storage array for that matter. There is no switch needed in these cases.

Anybody else out there know if this is possible with a blade chassis?

Thanks
Jimmy
Steven Clementi
Honored Contributor

Re: C7000 with Virtual Connect Flex Fabric 10Gb/24-port module

Right...

But the VC module is neither a Switch OR a Direct Connect Device.

The Passthru is a direct connect device.


I have not seen the FlexFabric hardware as of yet. I should be getting a pair of modules in next week. I don't know how you would "map" an outside device to an inside device, but on the older VC-FC module, it was not possible to connect devices to your servers via the external ports since the VC Module was a "device" itself, not a switch.

That may have changed some with the new modules.


Steven
Steven Clementi
HP Master ASE, Storage and Clustering
MCSE (NT 4.0, W2K, W2K3)
VCP (ESX2, Vi3, vSphere4, vSphere5)
RHCE
NPP3 (Nutanix Platform Professional)
David Claypool
Honored Contributor

Re: C7000 with Virtual Connect Flex Fabric 10Gb/24-port module

FlexFabric utilizes NPIV on ports configured for FibreChannel uplinks and requires an external switch to provide fabric management, exactly the same way as with a Virtual Connect FC interconnect.
TechC
Regular Advisor

Re: C7000 with Virtual Connect Flex Fabric 10Gb/24-port module

Thanks guys,

So going from what David says here about Fibre Channel uplinks and such I am discouraged a bit. More frustrated with my lack of understanding. Can you guys take a look at what the HP engineers relayed to me via chat and see what you guys think.
The text is below.

Thanks
Jimmy

########Conversation 1#########
Guest: Hi, thank you. I want to connect a tape library to a bl460c blade server that resides in my c7000 chassis.

Guest: Is it possible?

HP_ENG: You want to connect a tape library to a Blade server?
Guest: yes
HP_ENG: You would need a fibre channel interconnect if you want to use an independant tape library.
Guest: right an HP MSL series library.
HP_ENG: We do have tape Blades by the way.
Guest: Yep, I actually saw that. looking to use the MSL series though.
Guest: So once I have a Fibre interconnect in the c7000. I will need a Fibre Channel HBA in the blade server correct?
HP_ENG: Something like "16 port FC Pass-thru Module for c-Class BladeSystem 403626-B21" could work.
Guest: At that point I can connect the MSL4048 to the interconnect port in the c7000 blade chassis?
HP_ENG: Yes
HP_ENG: Right.
Guest: So the pass through is only good for the blade servers that have an FC HBA obviously
HP_ENG: Which gen Blade?
HP_ENG: Correct.
Guest: BL460C-G7
HP_ENG: HP BLc Brocade 804 8Gb Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapter
HP_ENG: 590647-B21
HP_ENG: That could work.
Guest: If I use this. I still need an HBA in each blade server I want to use the Fibre CHannel protocol with correct?
HP_ENG: Yes I believe so.
Guest: ok, but the pass through will be the best option you think for what I am trying to do? Simply connect a library to one host.
HP_ENG: It would be the least expensive.
Guest: ok fantastic. Thank you very much..
HP_ENG: c7000 QuickSpecs click here
Guest: Do I need any special connectors?
Guest: Or will a standard fibre cable suffice as a connector from the MSL series and the chassis?
HP_ENG: Just the standard SPF, cable to the tape library
HP_ENG: Nothing odd.
#########END#####################

####CONVERSATION 2################

Guest: We have a C7000 blade chassis with BL460C-G7 blade servers.
Guest: I want to connect one of your MSL libraries to one of the BL460C-G7 servers
HP_ENG: Thank you for the information and your patience. Please hold a moment while I transfer you to a specialist now.
Guest: ok
info: Hello, you are now chatting with HP_ENG2.
HP_ENG2: How can I help you today?
Guest: Hi I am confirming a configuration.
Guest: I have a c7000 blade chassis and some bl460c G7 blade servers.
Guest: I want to use a 403626-B21
Guest: Fibre Pass thru
Guest: to connect one of the HP MSL4048 libraries to one of the bl460c g7 servers
Guest: An engineeer confirmed it would work yesterday but on the HP forum I was told it may not or that I may need a Fibre switch inbetween the library and the chassis.
HP_ENG2: Let me take a look at this for you.
Guest: CAn I connect the library directly to the fibre pass through module as long as the G7 has a FC HBA?
Guest: 456972-B21
Guest: for example
HP_ENG2: Let me confirm that.
Guest: OK thank you.. I would also like to know if alternatively I can use the 571956-B21 HP BLc VC FlexFabric 10Gb/24-port module to accomplish the same thing?
HP_ENG2: Ok I just confirmed you can use the pass thru with an HBA for that.
HP_ENG2: Is there anything else I can help you with today?
Guest: Ok so thank you for confirming that. Can you please tell me what other connectors I need to make this work on the chassis side ?
Guest: Sorry I mean from the Library FC connection to the chassis.
Guest: DO you have a part number for the cable/connector?
HP_ENG2: You could use one of the following depending on what type of cable you prefer and the length:
HP_ENG2: 0.5m PremierFlex LC/LC Multi-Mode Optical Cable- BK837A
HP_ENG2: 1m PremierFlex LC/LC Multi-Mode Optical Cable- BK838A
HP_ENG2: 2m PremierFlex LC/LC Multi-Mode Optical Cable- BK839A
Guest: ok so all will work then. Thank you.
HP_ENG2: You're welcome!
Guest: Can you answer the other question?
Guest: regarding the FlexFabric module?
Guest: Or do I need to start another session?
HP_ENG2: It should work for this as well. You generally want to pair FlexFabric connections together to get the most out of them.
Guest: Ok I am concerned that I need a FC switch between the library and the chassis. With the FC pass thru interconnect module I don't need an FC switch.. But I also do not need one using the FlexFabric interconnect Guest: Sorry the statement before last is a question.
Guest: With the FC passthru intercconect I do not need a FC switch between the library and the chassis.
HP_ENG2: That's correct.
Guest: Do I need a FC switch between the library and chassis if I use the Flex Fabric interconnect?
HP_ENG2: No you shouldn't.
HP_ENG2: As long as you have a FlexFabric HBA.
Guest: right the G&'s have 2 of these standard correct?
Guest: G7's
Guest: bl460c-G7
HP_ENG2: Yes that's correct.
Guest: ok fantastic.. can I have one more question?
HP_ENG2: Certainly.
Guest: Ok If I use the Flex Fabric interconnect do I need SFP connectors such as AJ718A
Guest: or
Guest: 455883-B21
HP_ENG2: No you wouldn't need SFPs.
Guest: ok
The Brit
Honored Contributor

Re: C7000 with Virtual Connect Flex Fabric 10Gb/24-port module

Jimmy,
I think the information you were given about the Pass-thru is possibly correct. This would be just like connecting the library directly to the blade (I've never connected my MSL's directly). (Of course, there could be no sharing or zoning or anything like that).

The VC Flex Fabric situation is not even similar. As pointed out above, VC completely changes the game, since it is neither a pass-thru, or a switch. I am not convinced that the information you got from HP is cosher.

Dave
The Brit
Honored Contributor

Re: C7000 with Virtual Connect Flex Fabric 10Gb/24-port module

Sorry,
I missed the comment about the FlexFabric HBA's. It is very likely that this makes the configuration valid.

Dave.
Steven Clementi
Honored Contributor

Re: C7000 with Virtual Connect Flex Fabric 10Gb/24-port module

I just received my 2 new FlexFabric VC Modules into the Lab.

After playing with them for a short while... it looks like the options are exactly the same as with other VC-FC modules.

You create a "SAN Fabric" Profile which you can then assign to an adaptor.

I don't see any 1 to 1 mapping being possible so I am still convinced that it would not work without a SAN Switch.

I happen to have an MSL Tape Library in the lab and perhaps tomorrow I can do some playing around to see, but the VC module is just NOT a SAN Switch device and thus, has no intelligence for other devices to "log in" to it. All traffic is passed upstream in NPIV mode for the SAN Switch to figure out.


Steven
Steven Clementi
HP Master ASE, Storage and Clustering
MCSE (NT 4.0, W2K, W2K3)
VCP (ESX2, Vi3, vSphere4, vSphere5)
RHCE
NPP3 (Nutanix Platform Professional)
TechC
Regular Advisor

Re: C7000 with Virtual Connect Flex Fabric 10Gb/24-port module

Steven,

Thank you for the information and please post back your results. Although one of my colleagues confirmed through our reseller that indeed you need a SAN switch to make the connection as well with the VC interconnect.

I am still not 100% clear if the passthru FC module will allow a direct connection with no SAN FC switch in the middle. Can you confirm or deny this capability? I know it has been said on this thread that it can but i want to be sure if possible and would value any other opinions.

Thanks again
Steven Clementi
Honored Contributor
Solution

Re: C7000 with Virtual Connect Flex Fabric 10Gb/24-port module

The passthru is simply a direct connection from inside to outside.

if the device you want to conenct supports direct connection of servers, then it should work.


Which FC Library was it that you wanted to connect?


Steven
Steven Clementi
HP Master ASE, Storage and Clustering
MCSE (NT 4.0, W2K, W2K3)
VCP (ESX2, Vi3, vSphere4, vSphere5)
RHCE
NPP3 (Nutanix Platform Professional)
TechC
Regular Advisor

Re: C7000 with Virtual Connect Flex Fabric 10Gb/24-port module

Thanks Steven, great I can direct connect the devices then using the passthru module.

The device is likely going to be the MSL4048 LTO4 library. Do you foresee any issues with that?

Thank you