interoperability cisco MDS9509 and Nortel DWDM optical metro 5200

Unanswered Question
May 24th, 2007

My cisco interop guide doesn't say anything about third party DWDM hardware, can someone verify this setup works?

I have this problem too.
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stephen2615 Fri, 05/25/2007 - 15:49

It seems that you have raised a good point here. The list of supported devices seems to be for well known brands that have been around for ages.

I recently purchased some new VTL's that are not on the list and the VTL vendor does not actually produce a list for me to search. I had a bit of an interesting discussion with the vendor on this but it went no where as they finally seemed to let it drop and that I would not ask the question again. There was no interop matrix with anything including HBA's. I don't blame Cisco for this as it should be the vendor who initiates these types of agreements.

So, I suspect that most companies rely on the standard that they use to ensure interop. However, the standards themselves are not always a standard. Take for instance Nortels support for fibre channel on the web site.

"Fibre Channel (FC-100, FC200, subrate support".

I don't have a clue what that means.

So, good luck trying to find an answer to your question. I do know that Brocade and Nortel once said that both companies proved that native FC SAN extension worked.


inch Sun, 05/27/2007 - 01:18


FC-100 = 100MB/s or 1GbFC & FC-200 = 200MB/s or 2Gb FC :)

FC-100 is also a product name for a sun/qlogic sbus fibre channel card :)

They are terms that used to be used quite a lot - not any more however :)


stephen2615 Sun, 05/27/2007 - 01:36

Hi Inch,

I suppose they are standards based names then? In other words, the Nortel DWDM solution should work ok with the MDS?

The interesting thing is that if you search the Cisco web site, it in no way reflects what FC-100 or FC-200 is in relation to Fibre Channel.

I know a lot about those FC-100 cards and not all of it is good. I worked for Sun for a while but never ever thought that it had anything to do with the speed which was 1 Gb.


reberhar Sun, 05/27/2007 - 07:54

I do have a customer that is using this. If you are trying to use muxponder cards in the 5200, make sure that Nortel is aware of this in your customer account.

There was an ASIC problem that needed to be fixed in older Nortel mux cards for the FC/FICON protocol that resulted in bit errors, so make sure you have the latest hardware release. There is a field notice out from Nortel about this as of Feb 2006. If the customer is buying these cards new or using newer cards, you should be fine.

Cisco does not do interoperability tests of MDS with third-party DWDM equipment. Some storage vendors do and you can find that on their interop matrices.

DWDM is supposed to be transparent. But as you can see above, muxponders can introduce problems because optical FC signals get converted to electronic signals and then muxed into another 10G optical signal.



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