Cisco UCS Manager

Set up FCoE Connectivity for a Cisco UCS Blade

Document ID: 110434

Updated: Apr 14, 2010



Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) is a unified computing solution that fuses access layer networking and servers. This high-performance, next-generation server system provides the data center with a high degree of workload agility and scalability.

The hardware and software components in the UCS support the unified fabric of Cisco, which allows multiple types of data center traffic over a single physical Ethernet network. This Data Center Ethernet (DCE) technology reduces the amount of cabling, management, and cost with the combination of the host bus adapters (HBAs) and network interface cards (NICs) into a single adapter called the Converged Network Adapter (CNA). This adapter can carry LAN and SAN traffic on the same cable.

Cisco UCS uses Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) protocol to carry Fibre Channel (FC) traffic inside Ethernet frame. Cisco UCS also adheres to multiple 802.1 standards to provide the DCE underlying the FCoE needs to effectively transport those frames. The fabric interconnect separates the LAN and SAN traffic from the Ethernet frames and forwards them to the appropriate network ports. This gives the flexibility to deploy this technology without the need of implementing the unified fabric solution across the entire data center network.

Cisco UCS blade installed with Cisco UCS CNA M71KR – E Emulex Converged Network Adapter or Cisco UCS CNA M71KR – Q QLogic Converged Network Adapter can handle both FC and IP simultaneously. The converged network adapter presents an Ethernet interface and an Fibre Channel interface to the operating system. The OS is completely unaware of the encapsulation taking place in the Ethernet segment. The only requirement is for the OS to have the appropriate drivers to recognize the CNA hardware.

At the fabric interconnect, the server-facing Ethernet port receives the Ethernet and Fibre Channel traffic. The fabric interconnect (which uses Ethertype to differentiate the frames) separates the two traffic types. Ethernet frames and Fibre Channel frames are switched to their respective uplink interfaces.

This document illustrates all the necessary steps to properly configure FCoE connectivity for a Cisco UCS blade using either of the CNA's.



Cisco recommends that you:

  • Have a working knowledge of Cisco UCS Server Blade software and hardware.

  • Be familiar with the UCS Manager GUI.

  • Have a UCS system that runs version 1.0(1e) or later

  • Understand the impact and implications of the different commands described in this document

  • Be familiar with the UCS components and topology. Refer to the diagram for a typical solution.

Ensure that you meet these requirements before you attempt this configuration:

Components Used

The information in this document is based on these software and hardware versions:

  • Cisco UCS System

  • Adaptor Cards required to support FCoE: the Cisco UCS CNA M71KR – E Emulex Converged Network Adapter or the Cisco UCS CNA M71KR – Q QLogic Converged Network Adapter

The information in this document was created from the devices in a specific lab environment. All of the devices used in this document started with a default configuration. If your network is live, make sure that you understand the potential impact of any command.

Network Diagram

This is a typical topology used with the Cisco UCS:


This is the network diagram used in this test plan:



Refer to the Cisco Technical Tips Conventions for more information on document conventions.

Background Information

The Cisco UCS follows the FCoE protocol as defined by the ANSI T11 Standards Committee. The FC traffic encapsulated inside this Ethernet requires the same lossless network characteristics that are found in a fabric network. Instead of the buffer-to-buffer (B2B) credit system used in native fabric topologies, the FCoE relies on a new set of Ethernet standards that were develop to enhance the Ethernet protocol to ensure lossless transport of the FCoE traffic.

The Ethernet links on the system support these Ethernet enhancements to ensure lossless transport for the FCoE traffic:

  • Priority Flow Control (PFC) IEEE 802.1Qbb is an extension of the PAUSE (802.3x) mechanism. PFC creates eight virtual links in each physical link and allows any of these links to be paused individually without affecting the flow of traffic in the other links.

  • Enhanced Transmission Selection (ETS) IEEE 802.1Qaz is a scheduling mechanism in hardware that allows a two-level Deficit Weighted Round Robin (DWRR) with strict priority support. This allows control not only of bandwidth, but also of latency.

  • Data Center Bridge eXchange (DCBX) is a discovery and capability exchange protocol to verify that both ends are configured properly to support the DCE traffic. It can provide basic configuration if one of the two sides is not configured properly.

The fabric interconnect operates in N-Port Virtualization (NPV) mode and not as a FC switch in the fabric. This means that it does not require a FC domain ID to keep the number of domain IDs in the SAN fabric the same. The fabric interconnect joins the fabric through a normal FLOGI. The FLOGIs that comes from the server blade adapters is translated by the NPV process into FDISC into the fabric.

Main Task


Before you begin, make sure that your upstream MDS switches are NPIV enabled, and assign the selected interface to the Cisco UCS with the appropriate VSAN number.

The Cisco UCS must be up and operational by now and have basic connectivity established.

1. Verify that Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnect Supports FCoE Feature

The Fabric Interconnect must be set in order to operate in FCoE mode. Connect to the Fabric Interconnect and connect to nxos mode in order to verify this:


 ! Log into UCS Manager CLI mode

 ! Connect to "nxos" mode

cali-spring-A# connect nxos
Cisco UCS 6100 Series Fabric Interconnect

TAC support:

Copyright ©) 2009, Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.

The copyrights to certain works contained herein are owned by
other third parties and are used and distributed under license.
Some parts of this software may be covered under the GNU Public
License or the GNU Lesser General Public License. A copy of
each such license is available at and

 ! Make sure FCoE is supported on the switch, 
   by issuing "show fcoe"

cali-spring-A# show fcoe
FCoE/FC feature is desired.

Type “exit” to disconnect from nxos

Display of inventory will also show install of FC Modules into the switches

 ! exit from "nxos" mode to switch mode, 
   and making sure you are seeing the FC module

cae-sj-ca-B# show fabric-interconnect inventory expand
Switch A:

    Switch Card:

    Slot  Description          Num Ports  State      PID             Serial (SN)
    ----- -------------------- ---------- ---------- --------------- -----------
        1 20x10GE/Supervisor           20 Online     N10-S6100       JAF1242ASGK
        2 8x1/2/4G FC Module            8 Online     N10-E0080       JAB123800NM

2. Identify Fiber Channel components and Connectivity in Cisco UCS

Before you configure the fabric interconnect to support VSAN, you need to make sure that your FC uplink expansion works and is visible from the fabric interconnect. Complete these steps:

  1. Log into UCS Manager GUI mode.

  2. In the Navigation pane, choose Equipment.

  3. Choose Fabric Interconnect > Fabric Interconnect #.

  4. Choose Uplink FC Ports.


3. Create VSAN to Support FCoE for FC Uplink

The FC port defaults to VSAN 1 in Cisco UCS, but, if the upstream Fibre Channel switch is connected to a different VSAN #, the proper VSAN configuration is required on the FC ports of the Fabric Interconnect. Complete these steps:

  1. In the Navigation pane, choose SAN.

  2. Choose SAN Cloud.

  3. Choose the FC Uplinks for the fabric in question (A or B).

  4. Right-click VSANs in the FC Uplinks of the Fabric # where you want to create the VSAN for Uplink.


  5. In the Create VSAN wizard, enter a name for this new VSAN. In this example, it is called vsan-100.

  6. Now enter the VSAN ID. Remember that this has to match to an existent VSAN ID in the fabric to which the UCS connects. In this example, VSAN 100 is used for fabric A and VSAN 200 for fabric B.

  7. Now enter the FCoE VLAN that maps to the VSAN configured in this fabric. Remember that this VLAN has to match to an existent VLAN in the LAN network. Click OK.


  8. Click the VSAN name you created in order to display your results.


    Now, repeat the same process for the uplink of Fabric B, except with VSAN 200 and VLAN 200 for Fabric B, you get this result:


4.1 Assign VSAN to FC Uplink Port in Fabric Interconnect

Now assign the VSAN you just created to the FC Uplink port in your Fabric Interconnect that has a direct link to your SAN network. Complete these steps:

  1. In the Navigation pane, choose the Equipment tab.

  2. Choose Fabric Interconnect A > Expansion Module #.

  3. Choose Uplink FC Ports and choose the FC Port 1 that has a connection to the upstream SAN switch.

  4. In the Work pane to the right in VSAN, choose the VSAN you just created from the drop-down menu.

  5. Click Save Changes.

    Repeat the same process to assign this VSAN to all the designated FC Up link ports that remain on this same Fabric Interconnect.


  6. In order to configure the second fabric, repeat steps 2 through 5. Cisco recommends that you use a different VSAN and a different FCoE VLAN to keep your fabrics separated. In this example, VSAN ID 200 and FCoE VLAN 200 were used.


4.2 Assign VSAN to FC Uplink Port in Fabric Interconnect (Alternate Method)

Choose the FC port linked to your SAN network and assign this port to the VSAN created in the previous step.

These FC Uplinks must already be provisioned with respective VSAN IDs on the SAN network side (MDS switch).

  1. In the Navigation pane, choose the SAN tab.

  2. Expand SAN Cloud and then expand FC Uplinks - Fabric A.

  3. Expand Uplink FC Ports. In this test case, choose FC Port 2/1 that has connection to the upstream SAN switch.

  4. Either right-click the desired FC port, or, in the Work pane to the right, click the port as shown.


  5. In the Properties pop-up window for FC Port 1, choose the VSAN to which this FC port will pinned from the drop-down menu.

  6. Click OK.


  7. Click Save Changes.

  8. Repeat the same process for all other FC ports in Fabric A and Fabric B.

5. Create vHBA within Server Profiles

Create two network adapters in a Service Profile to grant the Operating System access to the two SAN fabrics provisioned in previous steps.

  1. In the Navigation pane, choose the Server tab.

  2. Under Service Profiles, choose root.

  3. In the work pane to the right, click Create Service Profile (expert).


  4. In the Create Service Profile pop-up window, fill in the Service Profile name. Click Next.


  5. In Storage section, add the vHBAs that you have just configured on Fabric Interconnect A and B. You can also give a name to these vHBA's. Make sure that you have selected the correct WWNN pool for these vHBAs.


  6. A vNIC is not assigned in this Service Profile for FCoE. Choose No vNICs and click Next.


  7. Choose the server boot order policy to use and click Next. If you do not want to choose any policy, then click Next.


  8. In the Server Assignment window, choose the server pool to use and click Next. If you do not want to choose a server pool now, click Next.


  9. Choose the IPMI profile and the SoL Configuration profile that you wnat to apply to this policy and click Finish. If you do not want to apply and IPMI or SoL profile, then click Finish.


  10. The results are successful.


    The created vHBAs are visible in the vHBA tab of your created profile.



Refer to the verification process in the previous section.


There is currently no specific troubleshooting information available for this configuration.

Related Information

Updated: Apr 14, 2010
Document ID: 110434