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Interoperability between Cisco NX-OS and HP Fabric Switch




Interoperability is the facet of an implementation where multiple vendor products come in contact with each other. Fibre Channel standards have been put in place to guide vendors toward common external Fibre Channel interfaces. If all vendors followed the standards in the same manner, then interconnecting different products would become a trivial exercise; however, the Fibre Channel standards are open to interpretation and contain many optional areas.


NX-OS Interop Modes

Cisco NX-OS software supports the following interop modes:

Mode 1 — Standards-based interop mode that requires all other vendors in the fabric to be in interop mode. t interoperates with Brocade and McData switches that have been configured for their own interoperability modes. Brocade and McData switches must be running in interop mode to work with this VSAN mode.

Mode 2 — Brocade native mode (Core PID 0). Integration with specific Brocade switches running in their own native mode of operation. Brocade switches must be configured with "core pid = 0" to work with this mode.

Mode 3 — Brocade native mode (Core PID 1). With this VSAN-based interop mode, Brocade switches will not have to be altered from their native mode (core pid = 1) and can be seamlessly added to a new or existing VSAN. This mode is also known as legacy switch interop mode 3.

Mode 4 — McData native mode. This mode, also known as legacy switch interop mode 4, provides seamless integration between VSANs and McData switches running in McData Fabric 1.0 interop mode.

Default or Native Mode — This is the default mode or behavior for a VSAN that is communicating between a SAN composed entirely of MDS 9000 switches.



A VM host is trying to connect to datastores. The connectivity works fine when using only the Nexus switches. Connectivity also works fine when using the HP Fabric switches. However when configuring ISL between Nexus and HP fabric switch the connectivity breaks.


Nexus Configuration

vsan database
  vsan 10 name "VSAN-10"
fcdomain distribute
fcdomain domain 10 static vsan 10
fcdomain commit vsan 10
fcdomain fcid database
  vsan 10 wwn SAN-WWN fcid 0x000a0000 dynamic

vsan database
  vsan 10 interface fc1/47
  vsan 10 interface fc1/48

interface fc1/47
  no shutdown

interface fc1/48
  no shutdown

interface mgmt0
  vrf member management
  ip address
line console
line vty

zone default-zone permit vsan 10
zoneset distribute full vsan 10

fcalias name SAN vsan 10
  member pwwn SAN
zone name ESXI vsan 10
  member pwwn ESXI
  member pwwn SAN
zone name WINDOWS vsan 10
  member pwwn Win2k8
  member fcid Win2k8
  member fcid SAN
  member pwwn SAN
zoneset name FABRIC-A vsan 10
  member ESXI
  member WINDOWS
zoneset activate name FABRIC-A vsan 10



The command “sh interface brief” shows the status of fabric channel ports.


Interface  Vsan   Admin  Admin   Status          SFP    Oper  Oper   Port

                  Mode   Trunk                          Mode  Speed  Channel

                         Mode                                 (Gbps)


fc1/47     10     auto   on      up               swl    F       8    --

fc1/48     10     auto   on      up               swl    E       8    --



You need to configure Nexus switch for correct interoperability mode. By default Nexus is in intro mode 1. Also for this particular interoperability to work with other vendor the FCDomain ID in the entire fabric needs to be between 97 and 127 as stated in the Cisco website.


Related Information

Configuring and Troubleshooting MDS Enhanced Zoning
Core-Edge and Collapse-Core SAN Topologies
Interoperability issues between Nexus 5k and HP storageworks