Traffic Isolation Zoning – The mistake of FOS

If there is one thing I would consider “the” blunder of FOS engineering it has to be Traffic Isolation zoning. I mean, creating such an administrative nightmare with obscure directions causing confusion and nasty pitfalls when one thing goes wrong is in many occasions a recipe for disaster.

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1.2 Flow Vision

This subject will be divided in two sections.

  1. Flow Monitor and Generator
  2. Flow Mirror

In FOS 7 the concept of frame-monitoring was introduced on Condor2 and Condor3 ASICs. This allowed an administrator to create a frame template based on the FC frameheader (see here) and obtain statistics on these frames. Flow Vision is somewhat progressing on this technology and has been extended significantly. Flow Vision is a 3 way solution which requires a switch capable of providing the functionality, software licensed to be able to configure and capture flows and a tool to collect and interpret these flows. All Condor 3 based switches (16G), FOS 7.4 and up, and Brocade Network Advisor 12.4.x are needed to be able to fully utilise the base flow-vision functionality. (The Brocade AMP platform is an extension but will be discussed later.)

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Time to rethink your zoning strategy –peerzones

With the advance of the FC-GS and FC-SW protocols the change, or more the enhancement, of being able to use Target Driven Zoning provided Brocade with the option to tinker a bit on the implementation of the functionality.

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tim_txcrd_z What is it? What does it represent?

I get a huge amount of questions and nervous customers who tell me they see this counter increasing at an alarming rate and want to know if this is a problem or not.

The answer is yes and no. 🙂

That doesn’t help you much does it? Read on…..

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Why FDMI is compulsory (or should be!!)

FDMI stands for Fabric Device Management Interface and is such an enormously cool feature and unfortunately one of the least used. From an operational management perspective FDMI provides a wealth of information to the fabric regarding the attached devices. The thing that flabbergasted me is that almost no device (HBA/Array) has this turned on of even has the functionality embedded.

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9.1 – Long Distance configurations – Direct Connect

Switch fabric configurations over dark fibre, direct connect, links are not much different then connecting them when they sit next to each other. There is no physical interference which has an impact on protocol behavior.

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Upgrade to FOS 7.4.x fails due to APM performance monitors

As I’ve written before some features in FOS 7.3 and older have been superseded by new tools such as MAPS and FlowVision. On of those is also Advanced Performance Monitor which let you set up monitoring points in the fabric to identify traffic patterns.

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9 – Long Distance configurations

Storage networks have been used for disaster recovery and business continuity purposes for as long as fibre-channel existed. The moment arrays could communicate to other arrays over either short or long distances replication software has been developed and incorporated in firmware so that data could be copied to remote sites.

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The paradigm shift in enterprise computing 10 years from now.

The way businesses arrange their IT infrastructure is based based upon 3 things: Compute, Networks and Storage. Two of these have had a remarkable shift in the way they operate over the last decade. The keyword here was virtualization. Both Compute and Networking have been torn apart and put together in a totally different way we were used to from the 70 to the early 2000’s. Virtual Machines and overlay networks have contributed to around 97% change in IT infrastructure design, operations and management. A similar shift storage had gone through back in the late 90’s early 2000’s when the majority of direct attached storage was consolidated into Storage Area Networks or SANs. Companies like EMC, NetApp, HDS, IBM and HP created a huge amount of equipment each filled with a ton of features and functions which allowed businesses to think different about their most valuable asset: DATA.

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Open Source Software (OSS) and security breaches in proprietary firmware

It is no secret that many vendors use open source software in their products and solutions. One of the most ubiquitous  is Linux which is often the base of many of these products and used as core-OS because of it’s flexibility and freely available status without the need of keeping track of licenses (to some extent) and costs.

These OSS tools have different development back-grounds and are subject to policies of the person (or people/companies) who develop it. This obviously results in the fact that defects or bugs may result in security issues especially when it involves network related applications. Recently the bugs in OpenSSL and Apache have gain much traction as some of these are fairly significant and can result in access breaches or denial of service.

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