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Best Practices for multi-switch MDS 9124 Impelementations

Hi,

I was wondering if anyone had any links to best-practices guides, or any experience, building mutli-swtich fabrics with the Cisco MDS 9124 or similar (small) switches? I've read most of the FibreChannel books out there and they all seem pretty heavy on theory and FibreChannel protocol operations but lack when it comes to real-world deployment scenarios. Something akin to the Case Studies sections a lot of the CCIE literature has, but anything would be appreciated.

Regards,

Meredith Shaebanyan

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New Member

Re: Best Practices for multi-switch MDS 9124 Impelementations

Hi Meridith

www.Whitepapers.zdnet.com has links to good reading. It has links to items like:

http://www.vmware.com/pdf/esx_san_cfg_technote.pdf is probably a typical SAN environment these days. It's basic and just put your 9124's in where the switches are.

http://www.sun.com/bigadmin/features/hub_articles/san_fundamentals.pdf is for bigger SANs such as DR, etc.

Things to consider with 9124's are:

They can break so keep a good current backup on a tftp/ftp/scp server.

Consider that if you have all the ports used, the two 8 port licences are not going to work on a replacement switch as they are bound to your hostid. The vendor that sold the switch should be able to get replacements quickly but you will lose time with them.

Know exactly what the snmpserver command does as if you have your 9124 replaced and you load your backup config and you use Fabric Manager, it won't be able to manage the 9124 unless you change the admin password with snmpserver.

9124/9134's don't have enough Buffer Credits to expand beyond about 10 km.

Any ISL's used between switches should always be at least two and use Port Channels where possible.

The 9124 or 9124e or 9134 are great value based switches. I keep a spare for training and emergencies. We use them in a core/edge solution and I am very satisfied with them. I have only had one failure with Cisco switches in the last 5 years and it was a 9140 that sat around for far too long doing nothing. The spare meant we were up and running in 30 minutes from the time we noticed the failure and got to the data centre. As there were two paths, no one actually noticed anything. My management system alerted me.

Remember to make absolutely sure that any servers attached to the SAN have multipathing software. The storage array vendors (HDS, EMC, etc) can sell you the software such as HDLM or Powerpath. You can use an independent solution such as Veritas DMP. Just don't forget to use it.

Follow the guidelines in the two documents and get some training as the MDS training is very good indeed. 5 days training and you will be confident about what to do in any sized SAN including Brocade and McData.

A small SAN is just as satisfying as a large one. If in doubt, get a consultant to tell you what to do.

Is that what you was after? I hope it was not too simple.

Stephen

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