Cisco MDS 9000 Family Switch-to-Switch Interoperability Configuration Guide
IBM BladeCenter

Table Of Contents

IBM BladeCenter



IBM BladeCenter

The IBM BladeCenter has an option to install a two-port embedded Fibre Channel switch. This switch provides the internal blades with the ability to connect to an MDS 9000 Family switch via a standard E port connection. The MDS 9000 switch can then be leveraged to provide other fabric services such as FCIP, IVR, or network based storage virtualization.

This chapter describes interoperability with the IBM BladeCenter, and includes the following sections:



Note Prior to performing an installation, refer to the "IBM BladeCenter (QLogic Switch)" section in "Caveats,"for the latest information on IBM BladeCenter SAN Switching Module interoperability.


There is no special configuration required to set up the connection between the MDS 9000 switch and the IBM BladeCenter two-port Fibre Channel switching module. The switching module will autonegotiate with a standard MDS 9000 switch FC port to a 2-Gbps, non-trunking E port. The VSAN that the module will be a member of does not need to be placed into an interoperability mode, and can be left in the MDS 9000 switch native mode. The module cannot autonegotiate to a trunking E port (TE port) because it does not have the ability to understand VSANs or the trunking protocol. Therefore, the switching module and all of the blades attached to the module will be members of the same VSAN.


Zoning can be performed from either the MDS 9000 switch or from the BladeCenter SAN Utility. However, the zone set database on the MDS 9000 switch or the IBM BladeCenter switching module does not get propagated. The MDS 9000 switch does not distribute the zone set database to the switching module, nor does it receive one.

Note After two active zone sets successfully merge, always copy the active zone set to the full zone set database prior to modifying it on the MDS 9000 switch.

Figure 12-1 shows the IBM SAN Utility after connecting an MDS 9000 switch to the SAN Module. The MDS 9000 switch is identified as a Cisco System switch with the switch WWN listed. The FcAddress field lists the domain ID (0x180000) of the VSAN in the MDS 9000 switch to which the BladeCenter is attached.

Figure 12-1 Identifying MDS Using the IBM BladeCenter SAN Utility

The name server in the IBM SAN Utility lists devices present on the switching module and the MDS 9000 switch. Devices that are on the switching module are listed on the switch FCSM, while devices on the MDS 9000 switch are listed with the MDS 9000 switch WWN. (See Figure 12-2.)

Figure 12-2 Examining the Name Server Using the IBM BladeCenter SAN Utility

Examining the MDS 9000 switch port provides the expected information for a non-trunking device. For example:

MDS-9506# show int fc1/1
fc1/1 is up
    Port description is ISL-bladeCenter-14
    Hardware is Fibre Channel, FCOT is short wave laser
    Port WWN is 20:01:00:0d:ec:02:35:c0
    Peer port WWN is 20:0f:00:c0:dd:01:c0:40    WWN of IBM Switching Module 
    Admin port mode is auto, trunk mode is on
    Port mode is E, FCID is 0x180000        <==== Autonegotiated to E port
    Port vsan is 20
    Speed is 2 Gbps					 Autonegotiated to 2Gb
    Transmit B2B Credit is 12
    Receive B2B Credit is 255
    Receive data field Size is 2112
    Beacon is turned off
    5 minutes input rate 681152 bits/sec, 85144 bytes/sec, 591 frames/sec
    5 minutes output rate 170664 bits/sec, 21333 bytes/sec, 591 frames/sec
      346300 frames input, 49794748 bytes
        0 discards, 0 errors
        0 CRC,  0 unknown class
        0 too long, 0 too short
      346136 frames output, 12520204 bytes
        0 discards, 0 errors
      5 input OLS, 3 LRR, 0 NOS, 6 loop inits
      4 output OLS, 3 LRR, 3 NOS, 6 loop inits
      255 receive B2B credit remaining
      12 transmit B2B credit remaining

Querying the MDS 9000 Fabric Configuration Server shows that the IBM switching module does not support FCS, but this is not a serious problem because FCS is not a mandatory Fibre Channel service. The only impact is that the MDS 9000 switch cannot determine the IP address of the IBM switching module. For example:

MDS-9506# show fcs database vsan 20

FCS Local Database in VSAN: 20
Switch WWN               : 20:14:00:0d:ec:02:35:c1
Switch Domain Id         : 0x18(24)
Switch Mgmt-Addresses    :
Fabric-Name              : 20:14:00:0d:ec:02:35:c1
Switch Logical-Name      : Excal-54
Switch Information List  : [Cisco Systems, Inc.*DS-C9216-K9*1.3(4a)*20:00:00:0d:
Switch Ports:
Interface  fWWN                     Type     Attached-pWWNs
fc1/1      20:01:00:0d:ec:02:35:c0  E        20:0f:00:c0:dd:01:c0:40
fc1/11     20:0b:00:0d:ec:02:35:c0  F        20:04:00:a0:b8:0f:4e:e3

MDS-9506# show fcs ie vsan 20

IE List for VSAN: 20
IE-WWN                   IE-Type           Mgmt-Id          Mgmt-Addr
10:00:00:c0:dd:01:c0:40  Switch (Adjacent) (No FCS support)None
20:14:00:0d:ec:02:35:c1  Switch (Local)    0xfffc18
[Total 2 IEs in Fabric]

When using Fabric Manager to examine the fabric (see Figure 12-3), Fabric Manager shows the IBM BladeCenter SAN Switching module as a Qlogic switch. The module is displayed with a red slash through the icon because the IP address of the module cannot be determined using FCS.

Figure 12-3 Fabric Manager Displaying Blade Center SAN Module

Standards based Fibre Channel rules still apply to a fabric built with the IBM BladeCenter SAN Switching module, just as they would in any MDS 9000 switch native mode VSAN.