Home > Cisco UCS, Storage > Direct Connected Fiber Storage to UCS

Direct Connected Fiber Storage to UCS

So i’ve come across this recently.  I have a client that is direct connecting the Fiber from their NetApp array to the 6120’s of the UCS.

The issue that has been raised is that this is not technically supported.  As is seems Cisco releases with the 1.4.1 firmware release that you can absolutely do this.  However there is a caveat, it’s supported by Cisco as long as the storage vendor will support it.

The biggest problem is that NetApp did support it, but they don’t any longer.  So it seems Cisco was left holding the ball when NetApp walked away.

So if your running a NetApp array that is direct connected to their UCS w/o an MDS or even a 5548 with the FC module, its no longer technically supported and you very well may run into issues if you need Vendor support.

For those not familiar with direct connecting the storage i’ll give a little but of information on it, as well as some of my experiences with it and some tips on making it “work” with UCS.

So inside the 6120 there is effectivly a very very dumb MDS switch.  There is no Zoning, it is all 1 big zone, you do vSANs, but obviously no inter-vSAN routing, no security, no real way of even getting any initiator/target information for troubleshooting purposes.

In order to even use the functionality, you must change the Fiber portion of the switch from “End-Host Mode” to “Switch Mode”.  This is EXTREMELY similar in method and functionality to switching the Network side to “Switch Mode”.

You MUST also make sure to select the default vSAN that is created upon inital set-up, and enable “Default Zoning”

Intersting note you MUST absolutely make sure the HBA name in the Boot Policy is the EXACT same as the HBA name in the HBA Template, or it won’t boot.
So again, in my opinion if you can avoid direct connecting your SAN storage to the 6120, please avoid it, at least until UCS 2.0 comes out  🙂

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