Opening New Doors with Cisco UCS Zoning of Fabric Interconnects

By July 11, 2013Cisco, Storage, UCS
Cisco, Cisco UCS, UCS, Zoning, Fabric Interconnects, IDS, Michael Freisinger

With the release of UCS Manager 2.1 (which was released in Q4 of 2012) full zoning configurations are now supported on the Fabric Interconnects via attaching a SAN to the Fabric Interconnect with Appliance Ports.  Why is this interesting?

With full zoning configuration supported, the Fabric Interconnects can now function as a Fiber Channel switch thus eliminating the need for a separate costly Fiber Channel fabric.  This opens the door for smaller environments to look at Fiber Channel within the Cisco UCS platform.

Configuring the Fabric Interconnects for zoning is relatively simple.

Here it is outlined at a high level:

  1. Put the Fabric Interconnects into FC Switch Mode (reboot required)
  2. Configure Unified Ports, setting ports as Storage Ports (reboot required)
  3. Create your VSANs (one per Fabric Interconnect, making sure to Enable FC Zoning) and assign them to the Storage Ports
  4. Create your Storage Connection Policies
  5. Add your FC Target (typically your SAN WWPN)
  6. Create your SAN Connection Policies
  7. Add your vHBA Initiator Groups (assigning your vHBA templates to your Storage Connection Policies)
  8. Associate your newly created SAN Connection Policies to the appropriate Service Profile Template

Once your blades are booted, the vHBA’s will log into your SAN and you will be able to perform the necessary SAN steps to present LUNs to the blades.

After the entire configuration in the steps above is performed, UCS Zoning is a very nice, fast and cool technology. On a large scale, Cisco UCS Zoning is not a replacement for Fiber Channel switching fabric.  However, in a smaller environment where the Cisco UCS only needs to interconnect with the SAN storage, it could be a great fit.


Photo by fulanoinc