iSCSI-to-FC routing in Cisco MDS 9000 Family

Unanswered Question
Mar 24th, 2010

Hi,

I'm puzzled about support for iSCSI-to-FC routing in the MDS 9000 family. Earlier hardware such as the 9216i switch and the MPS-14/2 module had a feature to allow an iSCSI Initiator to connect transparently to an FC target. This equipment is now EOL and has been replaced by models such as the 9222i switch and the 18/4 Port Multiservice Module. The datasheets for these replacements strongly imply that they support iSCSI-to-FC routing in a similar way to the earlier products - for example "iSCSI for extension of the SAN to Ethernet attached servers - Extends the benefits of Fibre Channel SAN-based storage to Ethernet attached servers".

I tried to find some hard technical info to confirm this. Chapter 4, "Configuring iSCSI" in "Cisco MDS 9000 Family NX-OS IP Services Configuration Guide Release 5.0(1a)" says that the feature is only available on the IP Storage Module, the 9216i switch, and the MPS-14/2 module, all of which are now EOL. It doesn't mention the replacement models in connection with this functionality, though they are mentioned elsewhere in the book for other features such as FC over IP. I've searched for documentation of the iSCSI support on the new models and the only document which seems relevant is this chapter - but it says it doesn't apply to these models.

Do the replacement models support iSCSI-to-FC routing or not? The datasheets use wording nearly identical to the earlier models in this area, so I assume they do. If they do, how is it configured and where is it documented? I sent feedback on this to the documentation feedback address a while ago, but haven't had a reply.

Many Thanks,

                            jjf

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jubruce Fri, 04/23/2010 - 10:51

The "Configuring iSCSI" chapter in both 3.3.3 and 4.1.1 documentation similarly talk about IPS and 14/2 modules but make no mention of 18/4, however I've used iSCSI on the 18/4 with both releases. I can only guess the same is true for 5.0 since I have yet to load 5.0 on any switches.

In terms of other documentation I don't think there is any, but all the required information is presented in the "Configuring iSCSI" chapters however it's not the easiest thing to understand from the documentation. Following is the overview I sent to a teammate on how to setup iSCSI.

1. configure Ethernet ports with ip addresses
  1a. add a route to the host, iSCSI client, via the gigabit interface 2. enable iscsi on the switch
  2a. enable iscsi on the module with the gige port
  2b. 'no shut' the iscsi interface corresponding to gige port
      e.g. gige3/4 -> iscsi3/4
  2c. no additional configuration of the interfaces is needed, although at some point turning on authentication would be a good idea

3. create iscsi initiator
  3a. use the clients ip address as the initiator name, using the node name would be better but I haven't tried it that way so ymmv
      e.g. 'iscsi initiator ip-address xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx'
  3b. use a "system assigned" nwwn and set it static
      e.g. 'static pWWN system-assign'
  3c. allocate one "system assigned" pwwn and set it static
      e.g. 'static pWWN system-assign 1'
  3d. assign vsans, an iscsi initiator can be in more than one vsan
      e.g. 'vsan xxx'

4. create targets
   spcsw1(config)# iscsi virtual-target name iqn.000190300646.fa02cb
   spcsw1(config-iscsi-tgt)# pwwn 50:06:04:8a:d5:f0:79:a1
   spcsw1(config-iscsi-tgt)# initiator ip address xx.xx.xx.xx permit

5. zone the iscsi initiator's pwwn to the target pwwns, use 'sh iscsi initiator configured' to see the pwwn

6. configure the hosts iscsi initiator, usually not much more than specifying the ip address of the gige port on the MDS

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