Cisco equiv of Brocade Access Gateway

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Jun 27th, 2008
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Greetings,


I have a large Brocade SAN which I am gradually migrating to Cisco but it will take time. Brocade are not really interested in supporting interop modes and as I need to puchase more edge switches for our HP C Class blade enclosures, I started warming to the idea of Brocade switches running Access Gateway. I have not been able to find any information on whether the Cisco 9124i acts in the same way as the Brocade switches that sit in the C class enclosures.


Just in case you don't know what Access Gateway does, it uses NPIV and makes the switch completely invisible to the switch (say the core) at the other end of the fibre. If I replace our Brocade directors with MDS switches, I can keep using the Brocade edge switches without having to worry about interop mode or domain ID's.


So, does the 9124i offer the same "invisibility" as Access Gateway?


Stephen

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techhelp24 Fri, 06/27/2008 - 02:21
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Stephen,


--->>> I have not been able to find any information on whether the Cisco 9124i acts in the same way.....


I'am not 100% sure, but i know that only Brocade Switch can work as Access Gateway.


Whit other word, Cisco cannot be configured as AG.


--->>> If I replace our Brocade directors with MDS switches, I can keep using the Brocade edge switches without having to worry about interop mode or domain ID's.


I assume, the 9124i are configured in Mode "2" or "3" at his time, is correct ?


In this case, you must change the Mode if you replace the Brocade Director with Brocade, because the Cisco Director to Switches or Swicth to Switch must be set to Mode "0"

dmcloon Fri, 06/27/2008 - 17:46
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If you searched on 9124i you won't find a thing as there is no such model! I assume you really meant the 9124.


The MDS config guide has a chapter on N-Port Virtualization (NPV) in edge switches. It states the 9124 supports NPV.


http://cisco.com/en/US/docs/storage/san_switches/mds9000/sw/rel_3_x/configuration/guides/cli_3_3_1/npv.html


The core switch can be either a Cisco or Brocade. If it is a Cisco MDS you must enable NPIV with "npiv enable" config command. It can be done on the fly. Also, no need to put the VSAN in interop mode if the edge is a Brocade AG.


Any model of Cisco MDS (except 9020) can act as an NPIV core, but only select models can act as an NPV enabled edge switch, as per the config guide link.



stephen2615 Fri, 06/27/2008 - 18:41
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Dallas,


i or e, you know what I mean as I stated it was for Blades. It is the 9124e or better known as the Cisco Fabric Switch for HP c-Class BladeSystem.


Anyway, going by that link you provided, it does something similar where the switch becomes invisible to the core and no Domain ID, etc is required.


How do ISL's work with NPIV if the core is Brocade? I assume that Port Channels are not supported and it will just be individual ISLs. It raises a number of questions...


Stephen






dmcloon Fri, 06/27/2008 - 19:51
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Hi Stephen. Once you place the 9124e into NPV mode, the links connecting to the Brocade NPIV core should no longer be viewed as "ISLs", because the usual E or TE port protocols do not run, such as principal switch selection, zone merge, FSPF. Think of the 9124e as an N_port and the Brocade as an F_port. The Brocade will receive an initial FLOGI from the 9124e and then each blade server login will be translated by the 9124e into an FDISC command and sent across the link to Brocade. The Brocade should then accept the FDISC and the accept will contain the assigned FCID for the blade server.


If you have multiple links to the core, each link can only be a member of one VSAN. There is no trunking. You could have multiple links in same VSAN in which case we will auto load balance servers across the links. In 3.3 SAN-OS you can, if you wish, manually specify which specific uplink the server is tied to.

stephen2615 Fri, 06/27/2008 - 21:38
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Hi Dallas,


Its unlikely that I will need more than one VSAN per switch anyway at least while we have the Brocades.


I have to make a decision on which way to go and know enough about them to justify that decision to a Brocade orientated manager...


As always, your advice is excellent.


I think I need to ask the local SE or HP rep for a loan of a 9124e to see what happens.


One last thing. Are they actually 4 Gb dedicated interfaces and not oversubscribed? If so, its pretty full on for such a small system.


Stephen

dmcloon Fri, 06/27/2008 - 23:02
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All 24 ports are able to do 4Gbps linerate. There is no oversubsription in the ASIC design. The HP blade switch config is 16 internal server ports and 8 external/uplink ports. So if your talking about oversubscription on the uplinks, worst case is 2:1. Dont forget the 9124e is for server connections and so I bet you will never see 16 servers pushing more that 2Gbps traffic each at the SAME time.


I am pretty sure we support the BAG, we are fairly flexible ;-) You would need to consult our interop matrix.

techhelp24 Sun, 06/29/2008 - 06:57
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Dallas,


--->>> I am pretty sure we support the BAG, we are fairly flexible ;-)...


and I'am me sure you don't have understand the question here.


The question is follow:


--->>> So, does the 9124i offer the same "invisibility" as Access Gateway?


I cannot find any Matrix that say Cisco Switch have the same Feature "Access Gateway" like as Brocade.

techhelp24 Fri, 06/27/2008 - 21:41
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Dallas,


is Access Gateway like as Brocade AG Supported by Cisco ?

groutley Sun, 06/29/2008 - 16:41
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Simply put,

a 9124, in any form, when put into NPV mode 'npv enable' is the same function as a Brocade Access Gateway.

i.e. Both use NPIV to log multiple WWPN's over a single F port.

While implementation of the function may be different, the actual function is the same.

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