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Migration from VC-Enet 1/10 to Flex-10 modules

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ChristianWickham
Frequent Advisor

Migration from VC-Enet 1/10 to Flex-10 modules

We had a c7000 Blade Chassis with BL480 G1 blades and some new BL 460 G6 and BL490 G6 blades. All blades are running ESX 4.

Our current state is that interconnect bays 1 and 2 contain VC-Enet 1/10 modules (firmware 2.12), and we have purchased a pair of Flex-10 modules that we need to put into bays 1 and 2 to map to the LOM on the BL 480 and BL490/460 blades.
My current config is that a vNet uplink will contain a network connection from both VC-Enet modules, so we can loose a single VC-Enet module without loss of connectivity. But, I will need to have (for a short time) a Flex-10 module in bay 1 and a VC-Enet module in bay 2, and uplinks to our core switches to utilise links from both the Flex-10 and VC-Enet at the same time, mapped through to each Ethernet LOM connection, so that I can then remove the second VC-Enet without loss of network connection.

Can the Flex-10 and VC-Enet play nicely together? Can I add a link from a Flex-10 to a vNet that already has links through the VC-Enet modules?
Is there anyone who has done this who can tell me what problems this may cause?
Thanks
9 REPLIES
JonathanT
Frequent Advisor

Re: Migration from VC-Enet 1/10 to Flex-10 modules

I have Flex-10's in Bays 1 + 2 and VC 1/10 in Bays 3 + 4. The Flex-10 have CX4 uplink cables from bays 1 to 3 and 2 to 4. VC 1/10 do 4 1GbE uplinks in an LACP trunk to the core switches. Works fine so far. Traffic flows smoothly blade to blade through the flex 10 and blade to network via flex-10 to VC 1/10 to core switches. You can't mix different types of VC modules in adjacent bays.
ChristianWickham
Frequent Advisor

Re: Migration from VC-Enet 1/10 to Flex-10 modules

Thanks for your extra information, we will definitely consider this.
But, did you have the Flex-10 modules in bays 1 and 2 from the beginning, or did you do what we are trying to do - move from VC-Enet to Flex-10 in bays 1 and 2?
JonathanT
Frequent Advisor

Re: Migration from VC-Enet 1/10 to Flex-10 modules

i had VC 1/10 initially and then upgraded to Flex-10. Had to reset the entire VC domain cause at first it got really pissed about the change. This probably won't be a hot zero down time kind of upgrade.
Vincent Berger
Valued Contributor

Re: Migration from VC-Enet 1/10 to Flex-10 modules

A VC Flex-10 module cannot coexist horizontally with a VC-Ethernet 1/10 module. What you can do is backup your existing domain configuration, take the 2 1/10 modules out, put the 2 Flex-10 modules in and restore the configuration. You cannot do that without a loss of network connectivity, sorry
ChristianWickham
Frequent Advisor

Re: Migration from VC-Enet 1/10 to Flex-10 modules

This sounds like what I will have to do, with a complete outage, and wiping the existing config.

Can anyone tell me the best way to change over from VC-Enet 1/10 to Flex-10? Step by step would be good if someone has done it.

I am a bit concerned, because to manage the VC Domain, I connect to the IP address of one of the VC-Enet modules? So how do I edit the configuration to remove the VC-Enet if I cannot communicate to it? I use EBIPA fixed addresses and not DHCP.
I tried removing the "passive" VC-Enet module from Bay 1 and then tried to delete the module from the domain, but after 20 minutes it was still "updating the checkpoint/checkpoint not valid". When I inserted a Flex-10 into bay 1, it was recognised as a VC-Enet 1/10 module!
I have inserted the Flex-10 modules into bays 5 and 6 so that I could update their firmware to 2.3 - and they all work and get active links, but of course they do not map to the onboard LOM Ethernet cards.

How do I wipe the configuration foor the VC-Enet modules so I can insert the Flex-10s?
Do I need to un-assign the vNets from all the servers and/or do I delete all the vNets first? I have tested that in a Flex-10 ports and VC-Enet ports can be put together into the same vNet, so does this mean that I can leave my vNets configured? I'm quite happy to delete all the config again, but I want to avoid having to power down all my servers to do this (i.e. delete Domain Configuration).
WFHC-WI
Honored Contributor

Re: Migration from VC-Enet 1/10 to Flex-10 modules

Hi Christian,

We are planning an identical change and expect to have to rebuild our VC domain and the vNets and profiles within it.

Although VCM provides you with the ability to backup and restore a domain configuration, I'm not sure this will work for a couple reasons. First, any Flex-capable server (your G6s) will need their profiles to be modified to reflect the additional NICs. Second, the vNets are a record of your combination of module + uplink ports + speed settings. Using a Flex10 module means additional settings because of bandwidth control.

I have restored VCM configs from backup in the past (albeit with identical interconnects) and unfortunately it is not as clean of a process as it might seem.

The good news is that with this domain rebuild you will not have to remove existing configurations because you will be creating everything from scratch. The bad news is that the servers will have to be powered off since a changed profile can only be applied to a server while it is off.

I hope that helps, be sure to report to us how the update went. Good luck!
ChristianWickham
Frequent Advisor

Re: Migration from VC-Enet 1/10 to Flex-10 modules

I performed the change recently, and this is how I did it.
It didn't go as well as expected, but it ended up working. The first step was to de-configure everything using the VC-Enet 1/10 module in bay 1, this was more than just removing all the external ethernet links from the vNet configuration, this also meant we had to edit all the server profiles to set network cards 1 and 3 to have "Unassigned" as their network. This is because the LOM NICs are assigned to the VC-Enet in bay 1 (way to go HP for poor redundancy design!). I have firmware 2.3, so that allowed me to change the Server Profiles without rebooting the servers. I also ensured that I updated the firmware on the Flex-10 modules before I started this process. I then performed a failover to the standby module (Tools, Reset Virtual Connect Manager), and then I could physically unplug the VC-Enet module in bay 1. Then a few seconds later, I could navigate to the bottom of the screen in Hardware Overview to "Remove from Domain".
Then I could insert the Flex-10 module - but it was reported as "unsupported". I re-configured the VC-Enet 1/10 module in bay 2 to have no connections, and then removed it from the chassis.
Then this is where I came unstuck. The Domain Controller that performs the LDAP authentication was running as a virtual machine on the blades. It could not be contacted to let me log in to the Flex-10 module in Bay 1. When I inserted the next Flex-10 module into bay 2, the Virtual Connect Manager logged me out and I could not get back in. I was able to log in with the default administrator log in from the iLo type ticket on the module (the default password), and then I was presented with the first time wizard.
I was given two options - restore from backup (no thanks, everything is different), or import settings. It took a good 10-15 minutes to import, and then it took me through the rest of the wizard to set up Ethernet networks and SAN settings.
It took me a while, and the virtual machines that had been running on the blades were mostly OK - some had rebooted, but most were still online. We also had some firewall maintenance going on, so most machines were doing nothing, and only around 5% reported problems writing to the disk (SAN connections were down). I had powered down 5 of the blades, and the problem was that these all got different WWNs for their SAN connection (the running blades were unchanged), but we re-presented the LUNs from our EVA 8100 SAN and all came right. I don't know if these blades that were powered off also got new MACs.

It may have been impossible to do this (even if I had non-LDAP login to the Virtual Connect modules) because it appears that when the "incompatible" Flex-10 module was plugged in to bay 1, it did not get the Virtual Connect Domain settings applied to it. The blades remained up and running, and if the SAN configuration had remained, then for me it would have been a minimal impact outage (because I scheduled it at the same time as a network outage), but as it turns out it was not as bad as I thought (powering down all servers would have been impossible).
The Brit
Honored Contributor
Solution

Re: Migration from VC-Enet 1/10 to Flex-10 modules

Has anyone actually tried restoring a VC 1/10 ENet configuration file to a Flex10 module???

I have't seen any doc on whether this is supported or not, and since I dont have any Flex10 modules (yet), it has not become an issue for me.

As to the earlier comment that "...the profiles would have to be modified..", well that seems reasonable to me, but it is clearly preferable to re-configuring the whole VC domain from scratch.

Considering how much of the VC configuration DOES NOT "have" to change, i.e. FC, Uplinks, etc., I would say it was extremely bad planning on the part of HP if Flex10 could not accept and utilize a 1/10 VC configuration.

Dave.
ChristianWickham
Frequent Advisor

Re: Migration from VC-Enet 1/10 to Flex-10 modules

I made a comment about the powered off blades getting new WWNs for their SAN HBAs, but it appears that the blades also got new MAC addresses for their NICs.

The blades that were powered on when the VC-Enet was replaced with a Flex-10 did not change MAC or WWN, even after a reboot, or rebuilding the OS on the blade.