What to do when the port goes to No_Sync state (Brocade)

Sometimes the port on Brocade SAN Switch change its state to No_Sync, It means the SFP is seeing light but the frames are out of sync.

This state change can occur on any type of port. If there is a host connected simply reboot the host or disable and enable the ports on HBA.

If this is on a E-Port – Disable and enable the ISL ports in both ends.

If its still not fixed, check porterrshow and portshow of that individual port and also check Lrs_in, Lrs_out, Ols_in and Ols_out countes of the port which is in question. This will help to narrow down if the cable or SFP is bad. Click here.

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How to implement core edge fabric using Cisco and Brocade SAN switches? (interopmode)

Update : Starting from FOS 7.1 Brocade does not support IM1, IM2, IM3 (IM – interop mode). But if you want to connect Cisco and Brocade switches the only option is to use Access Gateway (Brocade) and NPV (Cisco) feature. Following article is for reference only. 

Core edge fabric is the most used fabric in any data centers for many reasons, but if we have Cisco MDS9000 director and Brocade edge switch or any other vendor how are we going to make them communicate with each other? Both the devices much acknowledge that they know who they are in the fabric.

This can be accomplished by setting the correct interopmode, Hardware manufactures follows the Fiber channel standards but often it’s modified to accommodate new features, since they are proprietary vendors has to implement an interop mode to function in these environments.

MDS 9000 Family interopmode:

  • Default or Native mode – This is a default mode for vsan communicating in fabric with cisco switches.
  • Interopmode 1 – This is a standard interop mode, this mode is sent in cisco switch to operate with Brocade and McData switches, make sure both these switches are operating in their own interopmode
  • Interopmode 2 – If a cisco switch is set to this mode then it can operate with specific Brocade switch running in native mode, meaning no change made in Brocade but its core pid is set to 0
  • Interopmode 3 – This is similar to 2 but this mode was introduced to accommodate Brocade switches with more than 16 ports.
  • Interopmode 4 – This mode was introduced to operate with McData switches running in McData fabric interopmode.

For example in the fabric if you have Cisco director as core and Brocade switches as edge then we need to set interopmode 1 in Cisco director and in Brocade we need to set Interopmode 1

Things to consider before changing interopmode:

  1. Eliminate duplicate zones if there is any
  2. Firmware versions
  3. Unique domain ID on each switch (if you find a duiplicate you can change the domain ID - refer CLI guides)
  4. The value of R_A_TOV should be 1000 and E_D_TOV should be 2000 in all switches on the fabric

There are few other interop modes that can be used. If you want me to add further information to this post please comment your suggestion/feedback.

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defzone feature in Brocade and its Cisco counterpart

Default zone mode in Brocade and Cisco is similar to Ethernet switch where you can simply connect devices to the switch to get going. But as you know in SAN you need to configure zones to let the devices to talk to each other. But if default zone feature is enabled it allows all devices in fabric to communicate with each other seamlessly.

This will work only if there isn’t any active config. When you enable an active config it will automatically override the default zone.

Command to enable in Brocade

# defzone --allaccess
# cfg save - needs to be executed after enabling this feature

Command to enable in Cisco

Enter configuration terminal

# zone default-zone  permit vsan vsan-id

Before executing the command devices must be added to a vsan.

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[C2-1012] Link Timeout on internal port – Brocade SAN Switches

As an administrator it’s our job to keep the SAN up always and without any errors. But sometimes we see errors of different type and these conditions detoriates SAN performance in a great way. Similarly I saw an error condition on one of our Brocade director class switch. The problem reported was is the following,

“Exchange server connected to slot 2/31 is experiencing huge latency”

I checked the portstatusshow for port 2/31. Everything seems to be ok except the following parameter.

er_bad_os               591691      Invalid ordered set

For this condition the fill word need to be set. But it’s already set to correct fill word which is 3 for 8 Gbps network, but this keeps on increasing. So I checked errdump following is what I observer.

2012/12/24-06:34:16, [C2-1012], 592988, SLOT 6 | CHASSIS, WARNING, Brocade_DCX,  S3,P-1(51): Link Timeout on internal port  ftx=1722774272 tov=2000 (>1000) vc_no=31 crd(s)lost=3 complete_loss:1.
2012/12/24-06:40:12, [C2-1012], 592989, SLOT 6 | CHASSIS, WARNING, Brocade_DCX,  S3,P-1(51): Link Timeout on internal port  ftx=1723089858 tov=2000 (>1000) vc_no=31 crd(s)lost=3 complete_loss:1.

There were numerous of these events occurring at different time interval, As per brocade message reference guide this condition is called and Stuck VC. That means the virtual channel which connects to the ports to condor2 ASIC is stuck. If the virtual channel is stuck then it will not pass any signals hence we see the er_bas_os counters increasing. Also noticed link reset happening on the same port from supportshow output.

To prevent stuckvc condition brocade recommends to enable bottleneckmon – feature of FOS (its turned off by default). Stuckvc is a cause of buffer to buffer credit loss.

Buffer Credit Background and Review

To prevent a target device (either host or storage) from being overwhelmed with frames, the Fibre Channel architecture provides flow control mechanisms based on a system of credits. Each of these credits represents the ability of the device to accept additional frames. If a recipient issues no credits to the sender, no frames can be sent. Pacing the transport of subsequent frames on the basis of this credit system helps prevent the loss of frames and reduces the frequency of entire Fibre Channel sequences needing to be retransmitted across the link. Read more here : http://goo.gl/OzMaF9

So now its evident that we have and stuckvc condition. Following is the command with suitable argument to enable bottleneckmon

bottleneckmon –cfgcredittools  -intport -recover onLrOnly

This is a non disruptive command so noting to worry of.

What it does? – “Once enabled the agent will monitor the internal links and if there is a 2-second window without any traffic on a backlink with a stuck VC, it will reset it to solve the stuck VC. This approach minimizes the impact of the link reset. But it still could happen that you see a few aborts in the host logs – which is usually self-recoverable. After that the messages should stop and you can use the full internal bandwidth of your switch again.”

I enabled this feature and following was seen after few hours in errdump.

2012/12/25-08:45:22, [C2-1012], 593099, SLOT 6 | CHASSIS, WARNING, Brocade_DCX,  S3,P-1(51): Link Timeout on internal port  ftx=1885465497 tov=2000 (>1000) vc_no=31 crd(s)lost=3 complete_loss:1.
2012/12/25-08:45:22, [C2-1014], 593100, SLOT 6 | CHASSIS, WARNING, Brocade_DCX,  Link Reset on Internal Port S3,P-1(51) vc_no=31 crd(s)lost=3.

After C2-1012 we see C2-1014 this indicates that one or more credits are lost and the link is reset. Now all is good our exchange is running better now.

Note : if the same condition exists after enabling this feature please perform a slot power off and power on for that particular blade which obviously will reset all the ports and links.

Thanks for reading through. Have a great day!
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Access Gateway mode in Brocade explained for beginners

I am a SAN Engineer for a leading storage vendor. The purpose of this article is to provide you a brief understanding on AG Mode in Brocade, the content is very basic and can be used as a reference.

Brocade Access Gateway is a FOS feature and it lets us configure an F port as N port. This reduces the number of domains. When an F port is configured as N port it increases the number of device ports that we can connect to a single fabric. When access gateway is configured on the switch the F ports connects as N ports on the fabric instead of E Ports. Switches in AG Mode are logically transparent to hosts and fabric. We can increase the number of hosts without increasing the switch. This simplifies configuration and management in a large fabric by reducing the number of domains and ports.

In simple terms we can call a switch in AG mode as multiplexer because it’s many to one.

Brocade AG Mode

The following features are not available in AG Mode:

  • FCAL
  • Fabric Manager
  • IP over FC
  • ISL Trunking
  • Extended Fabrics
  • Management Platform services
  • Name services (SNS)
  • Port Mirroring
  • SMI-S
  • Zoning

The following features are available in AG Mode

  • RABC features
  • Admin Domains
  • Advanced performance monitoring
  • Direct connection to SAN target

The following are the major difference between a Fabric OS switch in native mode and a Fabric OS switch in AG mode,

  • FOS switch in native mode is a part of the fabric and can connect only to FOS fabric only. It uses many physical ports for ISL connectivity and consumes fabric resources.
  • AG is outside the fabric, it reduces the number of switches in fabric and number of ports. We can connect switch in AG mode to any fabric, meaning it can interoperate with different typed of fabric regardless of vendor.

Ports in AG mode:

F Port – Fabric port that connects a host or a storage device to a switch in AG mode

N Port – Node port that connects a switch in AG mode to fabric as F Port.

Steps to enable AG Mode:

When enabling AG mode some configuration information like zoning and others will be deleted from switch so perform a configupload to backup the configuration.

Ensure that switch is in native mode 0. To learn about various interop modes click here
#switchshow - If the interop mode is anything other than 0 change it to 0 by issuing command #interopmode 0
#switchdisable - this syntax will disable all the ports in switch and will not participate in I/O
#ag --modeenable - Now switch will reboot and come back in AG mode with default port mapping
#switchshow - We can confirm the switch mode in this command and it will also show us the ports configured as N and F ports

To disable AG Mode,

#ag --modedisable

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