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Brocade ISL Trunk configuration

07/11/2019 | SAN | No Comments

One of the most interesting parts of administrating FC switches is implementing ISL’s (Inter-Switch Links) between 2 datacenters. In this article, we will cover the steps that need to be taken in order to create a fabric. We assume that the physical link (cabling) has already been set up and that the switch is already configured.

On the demonstration below I’m using Brocade SAN switches G62-series running Fabric OS version 8.0.2e.

  1. We start off by disabling the switch.
    FOS_STORCOM1:admin> switchdisable
  2. Next, we need to configure the port speed of the ports which will be inter-connected.
    FOS_STORCOM1:admin> portcfgspeed -i <port number> -f <port speed>

  3. Brocade SAN switches can be easily configured using the configure command. Once entered  it will lead you through some important configuration steps.
  4. Next, we’ll need to calculate the ISL distance. A rule of thumb will be to multiply the real physical distance with 1.5 to get the ISL distance.
    real_distance_km x 1.5 = ISL_logical_distance

    In my case, I have two switches with a physical distance of 146 km. I will use 220 km as ISL distance.

  5. To activate the port in LS (Long Distance Dynamic) mode enter the following command
    FOS_STORCOM1:admin> portcfglongdistance <port number> LS 1

    A vc_link_init value of 1 uses the ARB fill word (default). A value of 0 uses IDLE. The required value might depend on the link being used. The commands must be repeated for each ISL port.

  6. Optionally, you can enable the QOS on the ISL ports by using the following command:
    FOS_STORCOM1:admin> portcfgqos --enable <port number>
  7. To check and confirm the port parameters use the following command:
    FOS_STORCOM1:admin> portshow <port number>
  8. At this step the port is ready. Enable the switch and the ports using the following commands
    FOS_STORCOM1:admin> switchenable
    FOS_STORCOM1:admin> portcfgpersistantenable <port number>
  9. Log on to the second switch and perform the same operations from Step 1 to Step 7
  10. Your SAN fabric should be ready now. Verify it using the following commands:
    FOS_STORCOM1:admin> fabricshow
    FOS_STORCOM1:admin> trunkshow

The article Essential troubleshooting command lines every Storage Administrator should know offers interesting stuff related to the switch administration.

A complete command line list and other switch administration can be found on the Brocade Fabric OS Administration Guide.

Any suggestion or question? Leave a reply below, or feel free to contact us. Make sure to subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest.

A CLI (Command Language Interpreter or Command Line Interface) is a program which handles the interface using text in lines (command lines). The usage of Command Lines dates back from from the mid-1960s where computer terminals were widely used as the standard technology.

Today, almost every platform or software’s fundamentals are based on the command line. Starting from Windows Server 2012, any Linux distribution or even computer or storage networks (SAN).

Below we will cover some command line commands which are essential for every Storage Administrator. If you think there’s more interesting to be added, feel encouraged to contact us.

Microsoft Windows Powershell

Determine a Virtual Machine’s underlying physical host (Command execution: Guest computer)

(get-item "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Virtual Machine\Guest\Parameters").GetValue("HostName")

Get a VM’s .VHD(X) location files and .VHD details (Command execution: On the host computer)

Get-VM | Select-Object VMID | Get-VHD | Select-Object Path
Get-VHD <.VHDX file path>

Get a Host Adapter’s WWN (Command execution: On the host computer)

Get-InitiatorPort | Select-Object -Property PortAddress | Format-List -Property PortAddress

Get Host Adapter’s WWN remotely or for a whole cluster (Command Execution: On the host computer)

Get-InitiatorPort -CimSession <Computer name>
Get-ClusterNode | %{Get-InitiatorPort -cimsession $_.Name}

Show MPIO disk paths of a volume / vlun (Command execution: On the host computer)

(gwmi -Namespace root\wmi -Class mpio_disk_info).driveinfo | % {Write-host "Name: $($_.name) Paths: $($_.numberpaths)"}


Brocade OS CLI

Find a host Alias name using WWN

nodefind <Host's wwn>

Find a host alias using a wildcard ” ”

nsaliasshow | grep -i "<alias name>"

Display zone information of an alias

zoneshow | grep -i "<alias name>"

Display error information of a single port of all switch ports

porterrshow <port number>

Any suggestion or question? Leave a reply below, or feel free to contact us. Make sure to subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest.