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Managing Virtual Fibre Channel in VMM

Updated: November 1, 2013

Applies To: System Center 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager

Virtual Fibre Channel enables Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs) on host computers to have direct access to Fibre Channel storage area network (SAN) array resources. In this way, applications and workloads that require direct access to SAN logical unit numbers (LUNs) can be virtualized. Using Virtual Fibre Channel, VM failover clusters can also access Fibre Channel SAN arrays.

Glossary of terms

The following terms represent the most important elements of a Virtual Fibre Channel environment:

Fabric. A fabric is one or more Fibre Channel switches that are connected together using Fibre Channel cables. Fabrics are used to access Fibre Channel storage devices. Although the term fabric is generally used to indicate multiple switches, a fabric can be comprised of a single switch.

Switch. A Fibre Channel switch is a network switch comprised of multiple ports and that supports the Fibre Channel (FC) transport protocol.

Classification. A friendly name used to designate a fabric for use in templates. Fabrics can be classified according to availability or service level, for example.

HBA. Host Bus Adapters (HBAs) are network cards installed in host computers and are used to provide connectivity to Fibre Channel devices. Every HBA card is assigned a World Wide Node Name (WWNN), which is shared among each port on the HBA. In turn, each HBA port is assigned a World Wide Port Name (WWPN). HBA ports are referred to as initiator ports.

NPIV. N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV) is a standard used to create and map multiple virtual Fibre Channel (vHBA) ports to a single physical Fibre Channel N_port.

vHBA. The virtualized HBA. Multiple vHBAs can be mapped to a single HBA. The vHBA uses NPIV to address a VM’s WWN within a host HBA.

Virtual SAN. In the context of VMM, a virtual SAN (vSAN) defines a group of physical Fibre Channel ports that are connected to a physical SAN array. Not to be confused with the vSAN product by VMware.

WWNN. World Wide Node Name (WWNN) is a globally unique number assigned to a Fibre Channel switch, HBA card, storage drive or other endpoint device.

WWPN. World Wide Port Number (WWPN) is a globally unique number assigned to a Fibre Channel port, similar to that of an Ethernet MAC address. The WWPN allows the storage fabric to recognize a particular HBA port.

Zone. A collection of Fibre Channel ports that are permitted to communicate with each other on a storage fabric

Zoning. A method of subdividing a storage area network into separate zones, or subsets of nodes on the network.

Zone alias. Several zone members that are grouped together and designated with a friendly name.

Zone members. Any device with a WWNN that is attached to a storage fabric and belongs to a zone.

Zone set. A database of zone definitions that fabrics use to determine traffic routes. All Fibre Channel switches keep a copy of the zone set. An active zone set refers to all the zones that are available to the fabric. An inactive zone set refers to those zones whose information has not yet been propagated to the fabric and hence are not available to the fabric. Zone information is always changed or updated in an inactive zone set first; such information cannot be changed in an active zone set.

Supported Configurations

The following configurations are supported for Virtual Fibre Channel:

  • Single storage array connected a single fabric (comprised of single or multiple switches) connected to a single vSAN.

  • Single storage array connected to multiple fabrics (comprised of single or multiple switches per fabric) connected to a single vSAN.

  • Multiple storage arrays connected to a single fabric (comprised of single or multiple switches) connected to a single vSAN.

  • Multiple storage arrays connected to multiple fabrics (comprised of single or multiple switches per fabric) connected to multiple vSANs. This configuration provides dual-redundant paths to storage arrays.

noteNote
A vSAN can only include HBAs from a single fabric

Prerequisites

In order to successfully deploy Virtual Fibre Channel in your network environment, the following prerequisites must be met:

  • Ensure that the latest firmware and drivers are installed for storage arrays, switches and HBAs.

  • Ensure that storage arrays can present logical units (LUs).

  • Enable NPIV on Fibre Channel switches and HBAs.

  • Host computers must be running Windows Server 2012 or newer release.

  • Ensure that an SMI-S provider is installed. VMM manages Fibre Channel fabrics and SAN devices using the SMI-S provider.

Steps to Deploy Virtual Fibre Channel

Complete the following tasks to deploy Virtual Fibre Channel in your environment:

  • Discover Fibre Channel fabrics and assign classifications to each fabric. For step-by-step instructions, see Adding and Classifying Virtual Fibre Channel Fabrics.

  • For each host computer that is managed, create vSANs by grouping host HBA ports. For step-by-step instructions, see Managing Virtual SANs.

  • Create zones and activate any inactive zone sets. Zones connect each host or VM vHBA to a storage array. For step-by-step instructions, see Managing Virtual Fibre Channel Zones.

  • Create storage array LUNs and register (unmask) them for a host, VM, or service tier as needed. For step-by-step instructions, see Managing Storage LUNs for Virtual Fibre Channel.

  • Create a VM template, and for each virtual Fibre Channel adapter (vHBA) that is created, specify dynamic or static WWN assignments and select the fabric classification. The fabric classification is used to connect a vHBA to a storage fabric. For more information, see Creating a VM for Virtual Fibre Channel,

  • Create a VM, select the destination host to deploy the VM to, zone a Fibre Channel array to the VM, add a disk to the VM, create a LUN, and then register (unmask) the LUN to theVM. For more information, see Creating a VM for Virtual Fibre Channel,

  • Create a service template, add VM templates to it, and for each virtual Fibre Channel adapter (vHBA) that is created, specify dynamic or static WWN assignments and select the fabric classification. For more information, see Creating a Service Tier for Virtual Fibre Channel,

  • Create and deploy the service tier, zone a Fibre Channel array to the service tier, add a disk to the service tier, create a LUN, and register (unmask) the LUN to the service tier. For more information, see Creating a Service Tier for Virtual Fibre Channel,

See Also

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For additional resources, see Information and Support for System Center 2012.

Tip: Use this query to find online documentation in the TechNet Library for System Center 2012. For instructions and examples, see Search the System Center 2012 Documentation Library.
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