Connecting fabrics

 
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Brian Proteau
Frequent Advisor

Connecting fabrics

I support isolated fabrics and am not really familiar with the complex fabric architecture.

What I need to do is temporarily latch 2 fabrics together so servers from "Fabric A" can access arrays on "Fabric B" and vice versa.

Someone explained that I will need to modify both switch configs to match identically before it will work.

My question is if there is an easier way than using the command line to add all "Fabric A" config (Zones and Alias config) to "Fabric B" and vice versa.

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Torsten.
Acclaimed Contributor
Solution

Re: Connecting fabrics

Hi Brian,

this is just such a broad question so you cannot expect an exact answer.

Normally you have at least 2 SANs, each server has access to both:

Server HBA1 -> SAN1 -> array
Server HBA2 -> SAN2 -> array

Connecting both such SANs will usually result in a disaster.

But if you have a SAN1a, SAN1b, SAN2a and SAN2b and you want to connect SAN1a and SAN1b together it might be different.

However, to answer the question we need to know your topology.

One advise: all switch domain ID's must be unique!

Hope this helps!
Regards
Torsten.

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AWilliams_1
Trusted Contributor

Re: Connecting fabrics

There can be only one zoning database in a fabric, so if you join the switches with an ISL, you will have to first of all delete the zoning configuration from one of the fabrics.
You can put a fibrechannel router between the fabrics and then the switches maintain their independant configs and you can add cross switch configs as well. Routers are very expensive however.
You dont have to use the command line, almost all of the configuration activities can be done via the GUI in either webtools or DCFM.
Brian Proteau
Frequent Advisor

Re: Connecting fabrics

To clarify a bit we have this configuration: Isolated environments:

Client A:
ServerA-HBA1 -> Switch1 -> arrayA
ServerA-HBA2 -> Switch2 -> arrayA

Client B
ServerB-HBA1 -> Switch3-> arrayB
ServerB-HBA2 -> Switch4-> arrayB

The temporary need is for:

(1)ServerA to access arrayB
(2)ServerB to access arrayA

The idea is to:

(1)Connect Switch1 to Switch3
(2)Connect Switch2 to Switch4

My questions:

(1) I was told to connect them I first have to make the configs identical. Is this correct?
(2) Since the switches don't see each other, I will have to duplicate the alias and zones across each switch via command line.
(3) If those 2 are correct, I was wondering if there was an alternate way of making the configs identical (or some other process for making this work).

Torsten.
Acclaimed Contributor

Re: Connecting fabrics

Well, it makes a difference if your SANs consists of a let's say 8 port switch and 2 servers or a ~800 port switch and 800 servers.

You have

Client A:
ServerA-HBA1 -> Switch1 -> arrayA
ServerA-HBA2 -> Switch2 -> arrayA

Client B
ServerB-HBA1 -> Switch3-> arrayB
ServerB-HBA2 -> Switch4-> arrayB

Consider this:

Client A:
ServerA-HBA1 -> Switch1 -> arrayA
ServerA-HBA2 -> Switch2 -> arrayA
ServerA-HBA3 -> Switch3 -> arrayB

Client B
ServerB-HBA1 -> Switch3-> arrayB
ServerB-HBA2 -> Switch4-> arrayB





Hope this helps!
Regards
Torsten.

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Brian Proteau
Frequent Advisor

Re: Connecting fabrics

I get your point and I will consider this approach. I think this could might be fine for this project.

However, there may be a future requiement to do what I described. For instance, if I needed to extend a switch to add additional port capacity. Can you speak to that process?

The basic question is if you need to extend a switch by connecting 2 switches together, how would you do it?


Stephen Kebbell
Honored Contributor

Re: Connecting fabrics

Hi Brian,

adding a new switch to an existing fabric is quite simple. A new switch usually has no zoning defined on it. Your existing fabric probably does. When you add a switch with no zoning to a fabric with zoning, then the new switch "downloads" the fabric's zoning configuration to itself, and your fabric has a new switch.
The difficulty is when you want to merge two exisiting fabrics, where both fabrics have zoning defined. Then you need to merge the zoning configuration (both fabrics need exactly the same config) before you connect the ISL.
Brocade have a "zone merger" tool which does all this, but I don't think it's available for public download. I used it to merge two large fabrics together, and it worked like a charm.
Torsten's point about unique Domain IDs is critical.
An FC-Router as suggested by AWilliams is also a possibility.

Regards,
Stephen
Brian Proteau
Frequent Advisor

Re: Connecting fabrics

Perfect Stephen! You've answered my questions exactly. You worded this much clearly than I did. I will contact Brocade to ask about availabiity of this zone merger tool to test in the lab with it. If not, I'll do it manually.

"The difficulty is when you want to merge two exisiting fabrics, where both fabrics have zoning defined. Then you need to merge the zoning configuration (both fabrics need exactly the same config) before you connect the ISL."
johnCatBE
Advisor

Re: Connecting fabrics

Brian

I obtained the brocade zone merger tool (or at least an old version of it) by some means i've now forgotten, as a prelude to checking the viability of merging two existing SAN fabric pairs.
The tool worked fine in this "dry run" mode - only complaining that the fact that the names of the effective configs was different would prevent a successful merger.

Anyhow politics deemed that merger was too risky and we were steered to using FC-FC routing (which we've done).

I believed that the zone merger tool would work our situation - but was subsequently put off a bit by speaking with a Brocade PS person who implied it was out-of-date and not reliable in certain scenarios... but for non prod stuff well..........

Certainly worth a play with. though .......i've tried to attach it here.
Usual caveats.

Update


I've just tried to attach zonemerger v21 but its slightly larger than 1Mb and will not traverse mail server. If you require it please let me know and we might work out another way of sourcing it.



regards

John
Brian Proteau
Frequent Advisor

Re: Connecting fabrics

Thanks John,

I did find the tool here...

http://community.brocade.com/home/docs/DOC-1097;jsessionid=B0D4ED1A57A18FE5D4A1584C9E2797FE

...however it certianly is outdated according to the readme's supported OS "OS: NT, Windows 2000"

Perhaps I will play in the lab with it but, like you I think the risk in production would be too great. Thanks for checking into this. I will consider all other suggestions in this thread to determine the best course of action for this project.