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Fibre Channel (SAN)

Posts: 0

options for interconnecting to distant sites


We are planning to join together two remote sites (more thant 10 km apart) and have narrowed the possibilities to bringing them together to two.

1) Using extended fabric license.

2) Using routing.

The current topology is as follows:

site1          > 10 km apart               site2

fabric1                                          fabric3                                           

sw11--sw12--sw13                              sw31                             

fabric2                                          fabric4

sw21--sw22--sw23                              sw41                             

The idea is to connect switch sw31 to switch sw31 and switch sw23 to switch sw41 through DWDM devices as follows:

site1                > 10 km apart         site2

fabric1                                          fabric3


fabric2                                          fabric4


These four switches are Brocade 5100.

Now, we can study our two options:

1) Using extended fabric license: We would need to buy extend fabric license for 8 switches (quite expensive) and would need to merge fabrics 1 and 3 along with fabrics 2 and 4 independently so we would have two resulting fabrics: fabric13 and fabric24. With this option we would need to plan this merge carefully.

2) Using routing: We know that the 5100 switches support Integrated Routing which uses EX_ports. We know that EX_ports are connected to routers in the following way:

switch:EX_PORT--------port:FC router

However, can we interconnect 5100 switches as if they were routers by installing on them this advanced license?

site1                                                                 site2


By using this method (if possible) we would not need to merge fabrics from both sites and keep our current configuration (less migration work). Another advantage for this options is that only these EDGE switches would be the only ones that would need this license, not all 8 switches.

In this topology, can zones be routed between the two independent fabrics from both sites?

What are your thoughts regarding both options?

Thank you and regards

Valued Contributor
Posts: 761
Registered: ‎06-11-2010

Re: options for interconnecting to distant sites


When it comes to the routing option:

you just need to install Integrated Routing license in one switch, the one that would work as Router. The rest would keep the same.

Also, to enable a Routing on a switch, you need to configure Virtual fabrics, because you neeed one to work as a Base switch. this Base switch can be configured as a Router.

With this configuration you dont need to merge the two fabrics but you can communicate hosts from the two sites.

One thing to bear in mind is that if the switchs are more than 10Km apart, you will need the extended fabric license anyway, no matter if you use Routing or not. This license is required to communicate switchs that are more > 10km away from each other.

When it comes to the extended fabric option:

I am not sure, but I reckon that you only need to purchase the license for the switchs connected to the dwdm.

It has some drawback like having to merge the two zonesets.

But on the other hand, many many enviroments have this architecture and it is very robust and stable.

I personally prefer this option because I consider that is easier to maintain and t'shoot (but this might be because I am a little bit lazy...)


Posts: 0

Re: options for interconnecting to distant sites


Thank you you clarified a lot of doubts =)


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