The Brocade best practices configuration guide

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Introduction

For many years I’ve been working with Brocade fibre channel equipment and handled from small to very large storage networks. In these +- 18 years a lot of companies I worked for or who’s storage infrastructure I had the pleasure to work on or with have changed their view on design, operational management, performance, and adjusted their policies to incorporate high availability features to ensure optimal business usage of their most valuable asset, their data.

Unfortunately the opposite is also true. The design, implementation and poor overall state of many storage infrastructures I see on a day to day basis very often makes me gasp for air and stun me that these are still operational in a real life production environments. Infrastructures that run billions of financial transactions a day, hospitals, public transport, power-plants and telecommunications often suffer because a single fibre cable is the cause of havoc in network or storage infrastructures. The main reason these do not results in massive outages is often due to people being able to find a problem quickly and, to be honest, this is also a testimony to the flexibility and robustness of the Fibre-Channel protocol combined with rock-solid storage equipment which is able to obfuscate many of the problems that are lingering under the surface of the storage area network. The lack of day-to-day physical and operational maintenance that used to be done by very dedicated sysadmins is often outsourced to companies who do not budge outside their service contracts. These service contracts do not only put the handcuffs on the operational side of the fence but also contain a massive amount of legal restrictions which lead to significant penalties in case of service disruption. This not only puts the contracted service organisation in a straight-jacket for not being able to maintain this environment but also, often unknowingly, elevates the risk of software and hardware defects having a profound impact on the entire IT infrastructure.

This guide tries to walk you through the main configuration steps to create a resilient Brocade storage network environment without having the intent to replace current admin guides, white-papers or best-practise guidelines. This guide will describe what is mentioned in the official manuals but is too often overlooked or forgotten. The guide will be an ongoing series of posts each describing a separate topic and is listed under the Brocade -> Config Guide menu item.

Fairly often blog-posts will be updated. Keep an eye out and check back in regularly.

 

 

About Erwin van Londen

Master Technical Analyst at Hitachi Data Systems
Brocade, Brocade Technical

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