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Field Notice 70545

Booting UCS from EMC VNX5300

Hi, We have a UCS 6100 and wanted to boot from a VNX 5300 directly connected via FCoE. My understanding is his cannot be done due to the FCoE multihop limitation. Also, we are not able to implement zoning on the UCS. The Nexus 5K has been sugested as a fix. But, please confirm:

1. Even with a Nexus 5K with FC module the UCS will still need a FC expansion module on the 6100 ,due to the multihop limitation, and terminate directly on the VNX 5300 FC port on the SP .

2. What version of NX-OS and Nexus 5K model supports Zoning?

3. Can I connect an HBA directly into the 5K FC ports and use the 5K FC ports as a switch fabric to the VNX 5300 FC SP port?

Thank you

Jeremy Waldrop

Christopher, here are your options for SAN connectivity.

  1. Connect the VNX to the Nexus 5000.
    • You will want 2 Nexus 5ks for redundancy.
    • You will need the Storage Services License.
      • You can use either FCoE or traditional FC connections from the VNX. For traditional FC you will have to have an expansion module that has FC interfaces
    • The Nexus 5k has the same FC zoning/fabric services that an MDS 9100 has. All Nexus 5ks have the FC feature set, you just need the storage license to use it past 60 days.
      • From the UCS you will need to an FC expansion module and connect at least 2 interfaces to Nexus 5k, 6120-A ---> N5K-A, 6120-B ---> NBK-B. I would also port channel those FC connections to provide a single logical FC uplink from each 6120.
    • You can connect a traditional server HBA to the Nexus 5k and zone it just like on an MDS, you just have to have the FC expansion module.
  2. Connect the VNX directly to UCS via FCoE or traditional FC. This is one of the new features of UCS firmware 1.4.x but for this to be fully supported you still need a Nexus 5k or MDS for zoning.

Thank you! In regards to - All Nexus 5ks have the FC feature set, you just need the storage license to use it past 60 days... So even if we do FCoE end to end we will need the FC feature set on the Nexus 5K? Even without the FC module? Also,  Is FCoE multihop supported in the Nexus 5K? For example, CNA FCoE -> Nexus FCoE-> VNX 5300 FCoE?

Also, for - Connect the VNX directly to UCS via FCoE or traditional FC. This is one  of the new features of UCS firmware 1.4.x but for this to be fully  supported you still need a Nexus 5k or MDS for zoning.... Could we connect the VNX 5300 directly to the UCS w/ 1.4x firmware via FCoE and use LUN masking on the VNX side and word wide name and port settings on the UCS?

Yes, you can connect the VNX directly to the UCS 6120s and enable FC switch mode/default zoning. Technically this works without an MDS or N5K in the mix for zoning. We have a client doing this and it works but Cisco recently changed their stance on this saying that is now not supported.

From what I have heard there is a scalability issue that one of the storage vendors found when doing testing. Not sure what the scale limit is or if it was EMC or NetApp that found the issue. We have a client doing this with an EMC CX4 and they haven't had any issues.

Hi Jeremy, is there any official statement on direct FCoE connection between UCS and VMX not being supported anymore?

It isn't that direct attach isn't supported it is that an MDS/N5K is recommended just for the purpose of zoning. You would only need to connect a single FC port in each fabric for this. I/O is still sent directly to the storage array over FCoE.

Take a look at these 2 screen shots

Yes, for either FCoE or FC you must purchae the storage service license.

CNA FCoE -> Nexus FCoE-> VNX 5300 FCoE is not FCoE multihop. That is 2 FCoE point-to-point connections; one from the VNX to the N5K and the other from the CNA to the N5K.

FCoE multihop would be this --- CNA -->N7K-->N5K-->VNX

Thank you, last questions.

1. UC FCoE -> Nexus 5K (with storage services license)-> VNX FCoE port is supported correct? Want to make sure Fabric Interconnect does not need FC module. Thanks

No, UCS FCoE-->N5K is not supported. You have to either direct attached VNX to 6120s or connect 6120s to N5K over FC on the expansion module.

Thank you!!


I'm trying to do this same configuration, and was wondering if anyone has any instructions or guides on how to configure it. I think I have the basics covered, but want to make sure I haven't missed anything.

Well, I ended up getting an additional set of MDS Switches since Cisco does not recommend using direct connected FC / FCoE on the 6100s with default zoning anymore due to default zoning apparently leading to major problems with failover and RSCT. So I connected the VNX directly to the 6100s but also connected two MDS switches for the rest of the FC Fabric over ISL to the 6100s and configured the zoning on the MDSs which now distribute the zoning to the 6100s.

We have proposed a similar setup to customer here in Sri Lanka. FCOE direct attached to VNX5300 via FI's. This was based on our understanding of the Cisco support for Direct Attach FC/FCOE as per the announcement of UCSM 1.4. The configuration was also validated by Cisco based on the information available to them at that time. May be the de-support of this configuration without a upstream switch for zoning was announced later.

Can anybody let us know whether the above limitation is lifted in the newly released of UCSM 2.0, we are planning to use VMware HA for all VM's. For smaller configurations such as ours, where customer wants to go with FCOE, it is not financially viable to introduce 2 nos. of Nexus switches with FC expansion module x 2 on the FI's, just to work around the issue with RSCT during a failover.

Ours is not a big configiuration just four (4) blades distributed across two blade chassis to support about 50 VM's.



Can you provide a little more information about this FCOE issue during a failover that the UCS FI's have with direct connections? 

Also, did you get any answers to your question?

We're running in a similar deployment setup...wondering about stability...

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