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EtherChannel between Nexus 5596UP and IBM BNT Virtual Fabric 10Gb Switch Module for BladeCenter


Is it possible to connect the Nexus 5596UP (NX-OS 5.2+) to the IBM BNT Virtual Fabric Switch Module (VFSM) for BladeCenter (N/OS 6.8+) using LACP EtherChannel?

My 10G FCoE scenario: IBM Blade HS23 Emulex II CNA -> IBM BNT VFSM -> N5596 -> IBM N6270 Filer (CNA)

I have three 10G connections between the BNT VFSM and N5596.

Steve Fuller


I've not personally configured it, but both the Cisco Nexus 5596 and IBM VFSM support IEEE 802.3ad (now IEEE 802.1AX) in either static or dynamic configuration using the Link Aggregation Control Protocol so you should be able to connect these successfully.

From section 4.3 BNT Virtual Fabric 10Gb Switch Module of the IBM BladeCenter Virtual Fabric Solutions Redbook:

Static, EtherChannel, and LACP (IEEE 802.3ad) link aggregation, up to 100 Gb of total bandwidth per switch, up to 18 trunk groups, and up to eight ports per group.

The Nexus 5596 also support virtual Port Channel (vPC) so you could split the links from the VFSM across two Nexus 5596 if you wish.


Hi Steve,

Thanks for your feedback. I had seen that section of the redbook. Another redbook has a different message for FCoE traffic crossing over the LACP trunk.

Redbook "Storage and Network Convergence Using FCoE and iSCSI" page 354

The BNT Virtual Fabric 10Gb Switch Module does not currently support link aggregation on

links that carry FCoE traffic. An example includes the links between BNT Virtual Fabric 10Gb

Switch Module and the Nexus in our tests. Link aggregation can cause a significant constraint

on the total amount of FCoE bandwidth available. A possible workaround that we did not test

is to configure multiple virtual SANs (VSANs) and associated FCoE VLANs on the Nexus

5010, allowing multiple links between the two switches, each carrying its own FCoE VLAN.

Hi Edward,

The statement in the Storage and Network Convergence Redbook would seem fairly clear in that link aggregation when using FCoE is not possible. Given the VFSM has 10 external ports are you able to allocate some of the ports to FCoE VLANs and use others as a link aggregate for non FCoE VLANs?


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