5900CP: a 5900 with Converged Ports
It took some time, but here it is : the 5900CP, a converged FC/FCoE datacenter switch.
Full FC/FCoE support
The 5900 platform had already full support for full FCoE in 3 modes:
- FCF : Fiber Channel Forwarder
- NPV : N_Port Virtualization
- Transit : FIP snooping mode
The FCF Mode provides complete FC Fabric services functionality with:
- FC Name-Services
- Zoning based on pWWN and FCID, hard-zoning by default, optional soft-zoning
- Zone alias, zone-sets and full/partial zone-set distribution
- VSAN support and VSAN Trunking ports
- FC Routing through FC static routes and FSPF dynamic routing
- NPIV support by default on all the F_Ports
The NPV Mode is particularly interesting for interop scenario’s. While the FCF mode provides full fabric services, the Fabric Services are only interoperable with other FCF Comware based switches.
If a FC SAN has existing FC Switches (from Brocade or Cisco for instance), the 5900 operating in NPV mode can perfectly integrate with the existing FC Fabric, since no Fabric Services are handled by a FC Device in NPV mode.
If the FC Fabric Services are provided by the 5900 in FCF mode, the other FC Switches (from Brocade, Cisco or HP Virtual Connect for instance) can perfectly connect as NPV devices to the 5900.
The 5900CP : The gateway to existing FC
All the previous items were already part of the existing Ethernet only 5900 series. The 5900CP simply adds the native FC interface functionality to the previous feature set.
This allows for existing servers or storage systems with FC to be connected to the 5900CP, while allowing FCoE connections for newer CNA based servers or storage systems at the same time. In order words : a very nice integration and migration path for FC and FCoE.
Each interface of the 5900CP is an SFP+ slot, and support inserting:
- classic Ethernet SFP+ optics : provides 1/10Gb Ethernet
- native FC optics : provides 4/8Gb FC
In the configuration of the 5900CP, the interface can be configured, so at 1 point you will see Ten1/0/1, after reconfiguration, it will show as FC1/0/1.
Full HP Storage portfolio supported !
HP has validated the 5900CP for use with all existing HP FC storage systems (MSA/P2000/EVA/3Par/XP) and FCoE (3Par) system.
Visit the storage SPOCK site for details:
While the current Comware7 software for the 5900 has support for up to 9 units in the IRF system, using FC/FCoE will limit support for IRF to 2 units in the system (support limit, not technically enforced). This has to do with the fact that they want to avoid sending storage traffic over the IRF links (technically possible, but it adds an additional hop, and for storage, every hop counts with regards to latency).
So that also makes sense in the SAN-A/SAN-B concept, since the SAN-A would have only IRF Member1 local ports (server facing and uplinks), while SAN-B would have only Member2 local ports (server facing and uplinks).
This effectively locks down each VSAN to a physical member inside the IRF system.
While the flexibility of the interfaces is already very nice by itself, HP is also releasing a Converged Transceiver. This is a single transceiver which can do both 10G Ethernet and FC (although only 1 at the same time 🙂 ). The admin can simply configure the interface as FC or Ethernet, and the optic will behave as an Ethernet or FC optic. No need to swap the transceiver anymore.
And the good part of course is that this is all part of the Comware7 feature set, so no additional license is required for any of these features.
Do not forget the existing feature set of Comware7, which is on full speed now (it took some time to get the features ported from 5.2 to 7), so the same 5900 series (including the 5900CP) has support for:
- MPLS (VPLS/L2VPN/L3VPN)
- Full L2/L3 Routing on IPv4/IPv6
So being able to combine this complete feature set makes it a very nice platform in my opinion.