HPE EVA Storage

Soft Zoning and Hard Zoning

 
Manoj   Jose
New Member

Soft Zoning and Hard Zoning

Hi All,

Can any let me know the difference between soft zoning and hard zoning and how we practicaly do that.
6 REPLIES 6
Bulent ILIMAN
Trusted Contributor

Re: Soft Zoning and Hard Zoning

I will try to explain in my own words, hope helps,

Soft zoning(In my words port based zoning) is the zoning method where the ports on an SAN switch is considered.

Hard zoning (WWN based zoning in my words) is the method where the World Wide Names of the HBAs are being used as the reference point.

I usually use port based zoning, because it is more flexible than WWN based.

ie. you dont need to change zoning after a HBA replacement which occurs more often than a switch failure.

WWN based zoning is useful when your switch has fixed GBICS on it, and you can connect your devices whichever port you like. If a port fails I mean. But today most of the switches has pluggable SFPs, so you can easily move them to the port you need.
PP BIJU KRISHNAN
Trusted Contributor

Re: Soft Zoning and Hard Zoning

Hi Manoj,

Here is the correct definition and simple document that will help you implement zoning in your environment. Its an old doc but still valid and useful.

Hardware Enforced Zones
In a hardware enforced zone, all zone members are specified as either switch
ports or WWN, but not both. Any number of ports or WWNs in the fabric can be
configured to the zone. When a zone member is specified by port number or
WWN, the individual device port or WWN is included in the zone. If WWNs are
used exclusively in a zone, new devices can be attached without regard to
physical location. In hard zones, switch hardware ensures that there is no data
transferred between unauthorized zone members. However, devices can transfer
data between ports within the same zone. Consequently, hard zoning provides the
highest level of security.
Software Enforced Zones
In a software enforced zone, at least one zone member is specified by WWN and
one member is specified as a port. In this way, you have a mixed zone that is
software enforced. When a device logs in, it queries the name server for devices
within the fabric. If zoning is in effect, only the devices in the same zone(s) are
returned. Other devices are hidden from the name server query reply.
Software enforced zones are created when a combination of WWNs and ports are
used. When using software enforced zones, the switch does not control data
transfer and there is no guarantee of data being transferred from unauthorized
zone members. Use software zoning where flexibility and security are ensured by
the cooperating hosts.
chris huys_4
Honored Contributor

Re: Soft Zoning and Hard Zoning

Hi Bulent,

> Soft zoning(In my words port based zoning) is
> the zoning method where the ports on an SAN
> switch is considered.

> Hard zoning (WWN based zoning in my words) is
> the method where the World Wide Names of the
> HBAs are being used as the reference point.
Your definitions while, like mine, are not the real definitions, see response 2 for that, are actually the opposite of what the popular definitions are.
I.e. soft zoning, in popular wrong definition, is wwn zoning and hard zoning in popular wrong definition is, port zoning.

For the rest, wwn zoning is the most commonly used zoning, because of its flexibility. Contrary to your belief, its actually fabric switchchanges, sfp's that get switched from 1 port on 1 switch in a fabric to a completely other port on the other switch in the same fabric, that are the most common in sanmaintanance and therefor makes "wwn zoning" the most common type of zoning and "port zoning" a san zoning type that is dieing out.

Greetz,
Chris
Sheldon Smith
HPE Pro

Re: Soft Zoning and Hard Zoning

Historical note: Back in v1 of Brocade firmware, hard zoning WAS by switch ports only, and any use of WWNs resulting in soft zoning. This changed by V2 to what PP BIJU KRISHNAN described, above.
FYI, all B-series switch/firmware combinations supported by HP are at least at v3, and that's only for the 2Gb MSA switch. All other supported combinations are at least at v5.

Note: While I am an HPE Employee, all of my comments (whether noted or not), are my own and are not any official representation of the company

Accept or Kudo

SunnyS
Advisor

Re: Soft Zoning and Hard Zoning

Zoning is a way to limit visibility and accessiblity.

Soft zoning limit visibility but does nothing to enforce accessiblity.

Hard zoning limit visibility but also enforces accessibility in the switch hardware.

Hard zoning is more secure than soft zoning.
krusty
Honored Contributor

Re: Soft Zoning and Hard Zoning

Hi Manoj,

I did a fairly detailed answer to a similiar post. See this link and I believe it will answer your question.

http://forums13.itrc.hp.com/service/forums/questionanswer.do?admit=109447627+1288645696275+28353475&threadId=1352925

Cheers,

Curt
"In Vino Veritas"