ONTAP Hardware

Must 10G Twinax cable and switch really come from the same vendor?


I am listening training FAS3200 Series Troubleshooting and slide 15 of module 1 has quite interesting statement:

the switch and cable must come from the same vendor

Is it really hard requirement? Is it specified anywhere else? Ot is it just my English (I interpret "must" as hard requirement; while slide itself is titled "Best practices", so IMHO "should" would be more appropriate).



I believe that is correct.  We have seen in some cases where twinax cables appear to run some microcode or something similar on them that check the vendor of the switch and will fail if it is not as expected.  This is not to say that someone out there doesn't make a cable that plays well with others, but we have not seen them.  The key here though is to remember that NetApp Global Support may require certain cables and switch combinations depending on the devices and configurations using them, else you risk being unsupported.  Be sure to check the compatibility guide and follow the current requirements for all of your configurations and designs.


I became curious and tried to check some well known vendors. I failed to find any Twinax interoperability statement on Brocade site. As for Cisco, it explicitly supports Twinax cables from multiple vendors (see as example http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/switches/ps9441/ps10110/data_sheet_c78-568589.html) as well as offering reasonable support for non-certified cables.

Be sure to check the compatibility guide

Would you please provide a link to NetApp compatibility guide for Twinax cables?


Here is some experience I have recently had

We ordered two  Brocade  TX24  10GbE  switches along with  plenty of Brocade  cables. (We distribute Brocade)

Installed with NetApp FAS3140A  with 10GbE  adapters, and HP  Servers with HP 10GbE  cards -  HP Servers refused  to bring up connection,  ended up having to order HP  Twinax  cables to get the solution working.

Brocade switch does not seem  to be affected.  FAS to Brocade switch with Brocade cable is OK.

A reseller of ours  was trying to connect   an IBM  Blade Center  to a 10GbE  CISCO environment  with the IBM CNA (believe its a re-badged Brocade)  with CISCO cables -  would not work -  sent them a couple of Brocade cables   and they worked.

Have not been able to find any definitive  document  that explains what goes with what yet

If you add a 10GbE Adapter in Partner Edge, it now asks you to specify if you want CISCO or Brocade cables.

I did post a comment on Mike McNamara's  Blog  but have not yet seen any  more comments on this area. Here is the link to the blog http://blogs.netapp.com/sanbytes/2010/11/rockin-in-nawlins-10-gigabit-40-gigabit-and-100-gigabit-ethernet-at-sc10.html


Hi All,

Got an update from Mike McNamara, he has forwarded a white paper,

SFP+ Direct Attach Copper Interoperability Demonstration White

In summary

The 10GSFP+Cu interoperability demonstration and this white paper are the result of collaboration

between a broad set of semiconductor, system, and cable vendors. Full matrix interoperability to the

limits of the specification impressively demonstrated that the specification was adequately developed.

The favorable results also give IT managers a high degree of confidence that an interoperable and

highly-available 10 Gigabit Ethernet network can be achieved when using equipment from multiple

vendors with SFP+ host ports and SFP+ cable assemblies that are compliant to SFF-8431.

Full White Paper is attached.