Converged Infrastructure Discussions

Cisco UCS and NetApp MetroCluster

Hi all,

Anyone with any thoughts re this:

  • Dual site setup with NetApp Fabric MetroCluster (two storage controllers stretched over fiber links)
  • Two Nexus 5000 switches at each site, so we have two FC fabrics, stretching both sites (as required for MetroCluster)
  • To be introduced: UCS with dual Fabric Interconnect Modules at *each* site

Are there any references or documentation describing this? I have a slight concern that we will have UCS FIC modules across two sites on the same FC fabric (A & B respectively) & I’m not 100% sure they will behave nicely.




Re: Cisco UCS and NetApp MetroCluster


We have been testing many different configurations in our labs involving MetroCluster within FlexPod, and the configuration you describe is essentially the version we have settled on to validate and release over the next few months.

We'll leverage MetroCluster across the dual sites for redundancy and failover, as well as 2 pairs of FIs for the server components, one pair at each site. The only major change from what you describe is that we are validating the Nexus 7K for the networking components so we can use OTV for the seamless migration of VMs and to support multiple failover scenarios. The Nexus 5K will be 100% supported and discussed in the CVD, but our main validation will focus on the N7K because of these additional features.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.


Re: Cisco UCS and NetApp MetroCluster

Hi Dave,

Many thanks for your response - this helps a lot!

Interestingly enough, there are N7k's as well in this environment (northbound of N5k's), so OTV may be on the cards as well at some point.



Re: Cisco UCS and NetApp MetroCluster

Hi Dave,

any info with regards to when this CVD would be available?

many thanks,


Re: Cisco UCS and NetApp MetroCluster


We are targeting Sept/October, but of course timelines are always subject to change.

Re: Cisco UCS and NetApp MetroCluster

Interesting design, so would there be a minimum number of CNAs in the filers? I'm thinking would you need dedicated ports for the FCoE traffic, one to each fabric? And then say a two port lacp ifgrp, doing vPC on the nexus side to the dual N5K's at each site for the ethernet traffic? Or isn't there any limitation at the NetApp end from this perspective?

Re: Cisco UCS and NetApp MetroCluster

Yes, 2 FCoE ports will be the minimum required for FCoE boot, one to each fabric like you mentioned. If card redundancy is a requirement, you'd need 2 CNAs per controller, along with FC-VI cards for MetroCluster, 10GbE cards for front end traffic (our testing will involve those ports in an IFGRP), and any other I/O cards required for your environment.

Re: Cisco UCS and NetApp MetroCluster

you'd need 2 CNAs per controller [...], 10GbE cards for front end traffic

Okay, I thought just 2 CNAs per controller can do the trick & run both FCoE *and* 10GbE - that's the whole point of CNA/UTA, isn't it?

Re: Cisco UCS and NetApp MetroCluster

Yes, generally that is the case. Our Nexus 5k versions of FlexPod use this particular configuration.

However, Cisco requires all (FCoE) storage traffic to be located in a separate VDC from Ethernet traffic on the Nexus 7000 platform. Since VDC are defined on a per-port basis, you'll need separate ports for FCoE traffic vs. Ethernet traffic, which is why we require additional adapters.

See the following illustration in our most recent N7K CVD that shows this setup.

Also, here's a link to the VDC description in the Design Guide.

Re: Cisco UCS and NetApp MetroCluster

Thanks again - this explains a lot!