Cisco UCS direct attach / NetApp Filer (FCoE + LAN) / Unified Storage

With Cisco UCS firmware 2.1, it’s possible to directly connect NetApp Filer (With 10G CNA card) on the Fabric Interconnect to use both FCoE and Network. Previously, we have to choose one or the other. This limit has been removed.

However, the configuration is not user friendly as this was not initialy design onto the GUI.

First, the FC mode of the FI should be set to “Switching mode” instead of the default “End Host Mode”. The change should be done on “Equipment” tab, then select the Fabric A/B. On the right panel there is a link to change the mode. This change requires a reboot, so be carefull on production systems.

Once restarted, you have to configure the Fabric Interconnect port attached to the storage controller. On “Equipment” tab, expand to the concerned port, right click on it and choose “Appliance port”. After a few seconds, the ports comes back online. Then, reconfigure the port to “FCoE Storage Port”. On the right panel, you will see “Unified Storage” port type. It’s now possible to choose the vSAN and VLAN.

One important tip, the vSANs previously created, should have “FC zoning” enabled for the Fabric Interconnect been able to perform the zoning configuration.

This is how to avoid usage of a Nexus 5000 switch on a FlexPod architecture.

One more important point is regarding the failure cases. As the Fabric Interconnect doesn’t use vPC, it’s not possible to configure NetApp ifgroup (vif) with LACP, it should be configure with failover. In case of IOM failure, as the NetApp port is not bring offline, there passive card is not activated and the Network Flow goes to the upstream switch. Your connectivity between the FI and the upstream switch should be able to handle this trafic. You can manually switch the active network card on the NetApp with the “ifgrp favor” command.

Release notes cisco UCS 2.1 sample :
Release 2.1(1a) adds support for the following:


Cisco UCSM based FC zoning—direct connect topologies

–Multi-hop FCoE

Unified appliance port

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