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FC SAN interoperability

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Florin Voicu
Occasional Advisor

FC SAN interoperability

I have one Compaq 16 port FC fabric switch
(158223-B21 ). For more information: (http://www.compaq.com/products/storageworks/Hubs-and-Bridges/fcs8s16qs.html)

I want to configure a FC-AL with N,L,K,and R class servers sharing some FC10 Disk System and HP FC hubs 10port (A3724A) short wave.

Can anyone tell me if will be possible to connect the Compaq switch with the HP FC-AL structure using HP 10port Hubs without any problem?

Some practical experience?
Some web recources?

Thank you,

I attached here a visio graphics.
Eric de Lange_2
Respected Contributor

Re: FC SAN interoperability

Hello Florin,

I see what you are doing but I beleieve you will run into limitations. if this where to be an all HP config, it would not be allowed to have multiple hosts via one hub to a FC switch since the hosts would not be able to talk 24-bit addressing but only 8 bit. Another thing to bear in mind are LIP's and their effect on the stabillity of the configuration in general.

I would give the hosts their own connection to the FC switch (it is a Brocade switch).

There is not a lot of documentation on this. mainly because Compaq tests with their own hardware and HP tests with their own products as well. I would check with Compaq to hear if they have tested HP9000 systems in their SAN configurations.

hope this helps,

Bernd Reize
Trusted Contributor

Re: FC SAN interoperability

Hi Florin,

we use a similar environment, but be bought our brocades directly from HP.
Take a look at the firmware of the switches, if you have a new one (either 2.2.x or 2.4.x) you can define different Aribrated Loops on one Switch.
That might give you an advantage with fault tolerance, data path, splitting, etc.
If possible, you should consider to use fabric connects, at least for your N and L classes.
Fabric connects are, once established, easier to handle, more fault tolerant, ...

Although the connect trough HUBs should work, I agree with Caliban that it is not a good idea.

hope, i could help
Florin Voicu
Occasional Advisor

Re: FC SAN interoperability

Thank you both for your answers.

Sorry about I does not mention on my first message that the Compaq switch will be configured into a separate SAN (and it is already installed!).
We plan to build a separated SAN using HP equipment, too. We will start with some FC10 disk arrays. After this we want to be able to interconnect both switches (Compaq and HP).

Regarding the possible actual limitation (very well pointed by you) we decided to use switches (Brocade 8 port - A5625A) but my question is still on top: Does anyone encounter some experience with interconnection between different vendors FC equipment (switches in my case) such as: HP, Brocade, QLogic or Compaq?

Assuming that information included in hereunder attached "pdf" file is correct (could not be? :-)) I could compared the Compaq switch with a Brocade Silkworm 2800Fibre Channel Switch (A5624A). It looks to have similar characteristics. What I am still looking for it is a practical experience with these two switches. Are they fully compatible? It is specified that I could connect without problems the Compaq switch with a HP 9000 server using the QuickLoop FCAL emulation software. But with HP switch?

During my search, I have found an interesting site that could be useful for other question regarding SAN interoperability (http://www.snia.org/).

Thank you again,

Vincent Fleming
Honored Contributor

Re: FC SAN interoperability

The Compaq and HP switches are the same hardware. The firmware, on the other hand, may be different. Recent HP switches run 2.4.1, and the Compaq ones run 2.2.1, if I remember correctly.

This could cause some problems.

Other than that, Quickloop takes some care in configuring with other topologies, such as Fabric Login. If you're doing everything Fabric Login, you will have less trouble. This requires 10.20 or above, the newer FC HBA in your HPUX servers, and the latest patch levels for the FC HBAs.

Good Luck
No matter where you go, there you are.
Bernd Reize
Trusted Contributor

Re: FC SAN interoperability

As far as I know, the HBA needed for fabric Login, A5158A, is only supported by HP-UX 11, not by 10.20 - but I would be really happy, if I am wrong ;-)

In our environment, we have connected different OS/(HBA)'s (WinNT/QLogic,SUN/??,AIX/??,HPUX/Tachyon) trough the same switches. That runs without any problems, as long as you define different Zones for each OS.
We don't have different switches connected together, but this should not cause problems, too.
Recently, we updated a StorageTek switch with a firmware (a2.4.1) from HP - that worked perfectly, too.
So I think they really are the same, only different Labels.

David Navarro
Respected Contributor

Re: FC SAN interoperability

Hi all. As long I know switches from Compaq are brocade exactly than HP. Normaly for interconnect both switches or being attached to same hosts, switches must have same release level. I suggest you to upgrade switch with oldest release to the newest one.