Configuring SNMP traps on Brocade SAN switches

SAN switches are the core components in your Storage Area Network. Therefore it’s important to monitor the devices correctly to ensure the operational continuity of your storage infrastructure.

The first approach is by implementing Brocade Network Advisor (BNA). BNA is a tool used to manage, monitor and report (performance -, throughput visualization and many more) on fiber channel SAN switches and comes with a cost (platform hosting the software + software licenses/support). Brocade Network Advisor can be integrated with Microsoft System Center Operations Manager with a Management Pack (plugin).

A different approach is by monitoring the devices with plain SNMP traps. This blogpost will guide you through the configuration process of SNMP on Brocade SAN switches. We will be using Microsoft System Center Orchestrator to collect the information in the SNMP traps and push it into a incident management tool. The use of Microsoft System Center is not mandatory, a Nagios could do the trick as well. Continue reading

A guide in updating Brocade SAN switch firmwares

I would like to share some of my personal best-practices in upgrading firmwares on Brocade SAN switches and/or directors. This blog post is divided in several sections:

  • Pre-upgrade tasks;
  • Upgrading the SAN switch;
  • Post-upgrade tasks;
  • Alternative FTP server;
  • Putty log of a SAN switch upgrade.

First of all, it’s important to mention every Brocade SAN switch has two firmware partitions. The Fabric OS (also referred to as “FOS“) is booted from the active partition, whereas the secondary partition is used to provide the ability to perform a non-disruptive firmware upgrade or as a fallback mechanism in case the firmware on the primary partition is damaged.

SANSWITCH:admin> firmwareshow
Appl Primary/Secondary Versions
FOS v7.0.0c
FOS v7.0.0c

The firmware on the SAN switch can be upgraded disruptively or, non-disruptively which will take some more time. When you are upgrading SAN switch components in a live production environment, it’s highly advisable to use the non-disruptive approach.

The firmware upgrade path can be collected from the “Brocade Fabric OS vA.B.CD Release Notes“. In general, we can say non-disruptive upgrade is supported from the previous version (identified as “B” in the version information). For example: v7.1.2b > v7.2.1c > v7.3.1d > v7.4.1. Continue reading

Disk presentation is unsuccesful even with succesful Fabric Login Process (FLOGI)

So recently I encountered a very weird phenomenon at one of my customers and we had a very hard time to determine the root cause of the issue.
My customer buys his servers each time in a set of 12 (one rack). All servers are equipped with a dual-port fiberchannel Host Bus Adapter (HBA). Each port is connected to a different fabric (TOP & BOT fabric).

One of the racks freshly installed a few weeks before the maintenance weekend when we performed a storage-, SAN switch & server upgrade was causing a whole bunch of issues. The fact is that all switches are in a healthy state, no errors are visible in the errorlog and all ports have succesfully performed a Fabric Login Process (FLOGI).

Our customers uses HP Proliant DLxxx G7 servers with a combination of QLogic and Emulex fiberchannel cards. The fiberchannel switches are HP-branded: HP Brocade 8/40 SAN switch.

In a first case, we verified the port configuration:

  1. Fix speed? Yes, 8G.
  2. Fillword? Configured with mode 3 (aa-then-ia: attempts hardware arbff-arbff (mode 1) first. If the attempt fails to go into active state, this command executes software idle-arb (mode 2). Mode 3 is the preferable to modes 1 and 2 as it captures more cases.)

and ofcourse the port statistics (and in more detail, the port errors). Here I came to the conclusion the numbers where very static. Wich means the port is online in the fabric, and as no errors are filling up I came to the conclusion the port was not being used in the fabric even it was zoned out with a storage array and a disk has been presented.

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HP Fiber Channel Product Names vs. Brocade Product Names – Switch Types

In some situations, it can come in handy to know the type of switch. However executing a switchshow command does not give you the information you need. In fact, it does only provide you with the switch type number. By using the table below, you should be able to link the switch type to the Brocade and HP Product Name.

CoreSwitch01a:rendersr> switchshow | more
switchName: CoreSwitch01a
switchType: 120.3
switchState: Online
switchMode: Native
switchRole: Subordinate

Continue reading