Comware supports HPE Smart SAN for 3PAR

When configuring a Fibre Channel storage environment, there are basically 2 parts in the configuration:

  • Setup of the SAN Infrastructure (F/E ports, domain IDs, trunks, VSANs)
  • Zoning configuration: done at initial setup and updated for every new server/storage system added to the network

While the initial setup if fairly simple, the zoning configuration can be more intensive to update and maintain.

This configuration step has now an alternative to provide easier setup and maintenance through the SmartSAN feature.

SmartSAN defined

SmartSAN is the HPE term for target-driven peer-zoning (TDPZ). In order to use SmartSAN, both the SAN infrastructure and the Storage system (3PAR) need to have support for SmartSAN. SmartSAN provides automatic zone configuration based on the Target(3PAR) node configuration, essentially eliminating the manual zone configuration on the fabric.


Classic Zone rules

Classic zoning rules recommend a single Initiator/Target per zone. This required a lot of work to setup and maintain the zones.

Example setup, showing a single zone per initiator/target pair:

zone name 3par1-esx1
 member pwwn 10:00:00:90:FA:47:01:01
 member pwwn 20:01:00:02:AC:01:03:33
zone name 3par1-esx2
 member pwwn 10:00:00:90:FA:47:01:02
 member pwwn 20:01:00:02:AC:01:03:33
zoneset name hpe
 member 3par1-esx1
 member 3par1-esx2
zoneset active name hpe

Peer zoning

Peer zoning is a simplified zone configuration that still results in the basic zoning rule recommendation: single Initiator/Target communication. However, instead of having to configure each zone individually, a single zone can be configured with the target and initiators, but each WWN will be marked (configured) as either Target or Initiator. The peer zone will automatically ensure that initiators can only communicate with the targets and not with the other initiators. Same result as class zone, but easier config. However, still manually performed by the fabric administrator.

This is an example (manual) peer zone. By marking each member as target or initiator, the switch will automatically restrict access from the initiator to only the target (not the other initiators). Adding a new server does not require a new zone, but simply requires adding the member pWWN as initiator to the existing zone:

zone name 3par1
 member pwwn 20:01:00:02:AC:01:03:33 target
 member pwwn 10:00:00:90:FA:47:01:01 initiator
 member pwwn 10:00:00:90:FA:47:01:02 initiator
zoneset name hpe
 member 3par1
zoneset active name hpe

Target-Driven Peer zoning

TDPZ provides the configuration of the peer zoning, but this time it is automatically done by the Target device (the 3PAR system), hence the term “Target-driven”.  It has been implemented in such a way that the 3PAR administrator does not even need to aware of this: When a new host is defined on the 3PAR, the host will automatically be added to the zone on the fabric! Note that a SmartSAN license must be installed on the 3PAR system.

No forklift required!

What is really nice is the fact that SmartSAN does not require the entire infrastructure to be SmartSAN aware. The SmartSAN enabled infrastructure can still support Storage systems that are not SmartSAN aware (they just require good old manual zoning) and non-SmartSAN aware server (they will not provide the same reporting/inventory details).

Fabric switch support

Both Brocade (sold as HPE B-Series) and HPE Comware based switches have support for SmartSAN.

Comware SmartSAN support

In the HPE Comware switch family, all current datacenter switches have support for SmartSAN (5700/5900AF/5900CP/5930/etc.).

  • On the 5700/5900/5920 series, SmartSAN was introduced in the R2421 release
  • On the 5930 series it was also introduced in the R2421 release

Before using SmartSAN, make sure the entire fabric (all Comware FCF devices) support enhanced zoning (required to support the peer zoning feature), so make sure all FCF devices are running a firmware release that supports enhanced zoning.

On the switch connecting to the 3PAR, the administrator must enable SmartSAN support

[comware-fabric] smartsan enable

That’s it!

This command will automatically:

  • convert any VSAN from basic zoning to enhanced zoning (this is propagated fabric-wide to all FCF-enabled switches!)
  • enable support for TDPZ
  • enable the FDMI database (distributed database with operational information of all SAN connected devices)

On the 3PAR, the admin can now create new hosts using the “createhost” command:

3PAR8200 cli% createhost -port 0:2:1  esx1  10:00:00:90:fa:47:fb:01
3PAR8200 cli% createhost -port 0:2:1  esx2  10:00:00:90:fa:47:fb:02
3PAR8200 cli% createhost -port 0:2:1  esx3  10:00:00:90:fa:47:fb:03

This functionality will also be added to the graphical management console.

This command will automatically trigger the 3PAR to send a new peer zone to the connected fabric switch. This can be reviewed on any fabric switch:

<comware-fabric>dislay zoneset
VSAN 11:
  zoneset name TDPZ_DefaultZoneSet
    zone name tdz3par_20210002ac018a6d_00
      pwwn 10:00:00:90:fa:47:fb:01 initiator
      pwwn 10:00:00:90:fa:47:fb:02 initiator
      pwwn 10:00:00:90:fa:47:fb:03 initiator
      pwwn 20:21:00:02:ac:01:8a:6d target

This shows that a new zone is added to the currently active zoneset. The TDPZ can co-exist with any other zone (or zone type) in the zoneset, so the fabric admin can still have manual zones as well in the same zone database.

On the 3PAR, the hosts must be defined on the NSP (Node Slot Port), so per NSP a separate TDPZ will be created in the fabric.

This shows how HPE SmartSAN can make the SAN fabric zoning extremely simple!

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