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Enhanced zoning mode - Cisco MDS

Level 1
Level 1

This is regarding Cisco MDS Enhanced zoning mode. what is the best way to determine whether a MDS switch is capable of enhanced zoning mode operation, especially in a large fabric. Are there any useful commands that we can use.


Many thanks

Chokka Venkataraman

7 Replies 7

Walter Dey
VIP Alumni
VIP Alumni

All MDS support enhanced zoning:

  • Enhanced Zoning will be enabled. This provides for automatic full zoneset distribution and synchronization, as well as preventing multiple administrators from modifying a VSAN’s zoneset at the same time. It is recommended to use enhanced zoning for all configured VSANs in the SAN
  • Device-aliases will be used to configure zoning, as they are independent of the zoning database and can provide name resolution to applications beyond the zone server.
  •  Enhanced zoning is done on a per VSAN basis.  You can run enhanced zoning on VSAN 100 and basic mode zoning on VSAN 200 (for example) on the same switches.  If you enable Enhanced zoning on a VSAN, all switches in that VSAN must support enhanced zoning.  What happens is that the switch were enhanced zoning was enabled on a VSAN will send an enhanced zoning command to all of the switches in the fabric, if any switch does not respond or sends back a reject, then the change from basic to enhanced mode is aborted.  If all switches in the VSAN send back an Accept, then the change is completed.

Thanks a lot Walter :)


Thank you!

I'd like to point out that device-alias zoning is an option, not a requisite to use enhanced zoning.  We're a fairly large shop and strictly adhere to pwwn zoning. 

device-alias supports pwwn; therefore it's a additional very useful feature (eg. vsan indep., zoning can be done without knowing the exact pwwn, pwwn can change without changing zoning,.....).

I never claimed that device-alias is a prereq. for smart zoning.


I want to change to enhanced zoning, however, I think I saw somewhere that zoneset distribution needs to be full and not "active only"
since I have both 9710 and 9513 MDSs and the older ones have smaller storage, I can't set the distribution to full

is this a must ? 

Have a look at


Changing from Basic Zoning to Enhanced Zoning


To change to the enhanced zoning mode from the basic mode, follow these steps:


Step 1 Verify that all switches in the fabric are capable of working in the enhanced mode.


If one or more switches are not capable of working in enhanced mode, then your request to move to enhanced mode is rejected.


Step 2 Set the operation mode to enhanced zoning mode. By doing so, you will automatically start a session, acquire a fabric wide lock, distribute the active and full zoning database using the enhanced zoning data structures, distribute zoning policies and then release the lock. All switches in the fabric then move to the enhanced zoning mode.