Cisco – NPIV – Uplink from HP Chassis Cisco switches

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HP Chasssis should have 2 Cisco switches with 8 ports – one switch per fabric. It can also have up to 16 blades in it. The question is – how does each blade manage to login to fabric with its own unique WWN when none of them are connected directly to the fabric?

Theory is:
Chassis switch is connected to edge or core switch (generally using 4 ports). On the chassis switch, enable NPIV. This will virtualise the WWNs for each blade and let each blade log into fabric using that WWN over those 4 connections. The intelligence is within HP Chassis to virtualise the WWNs. No configuration is needed on edge/core switch apart from assigning the correct vsan to respective port.

Physical connectivity:

Of 8 ports, generally we connect 4 ports from each switch to 4 ports on edge switch to provide physical connectivity. Ports at both the ends are in same VSAN.


Enable NPIV on chassis switch which will require a reboot of the switch.

hpchassis# show npiv status
NPIV is disabled
hpchassis# npv enable
Verify that boot variables are set and the changes are saved. Changing to npv mode erases the current configuration and reboots the switch in npv mode. Do you want to continue? (y/n):y

After reboot, run above “flex-attach” commands and save the configuration

hpchassis# flex-attach virtual-pwwn auto interface bay 1-16
hpchassis# flex-attach commit
hpchassis# vsan database
hpchassis# vsan 111 interface bay 1-16
hpchassis# do copy run start

Check WWN for each blade

hpchassis# show flex-attach virtual-pwwn

HP Chassis in operation

Virtual PWWNs from HP chassis coming up as 10:00:xxx instead of 20:01:xxx, 20:02:xx etc


# no cfs distribute
->Select Y
# Show cfs status
# interface bay 1-16
# shutdown
# flex-attach virtual-pwwn auto interface bay 1-8
# flex-attach commit
# show flex-attach pending

CAVEAT: CFS checks that the PWWNs are unique on the fabric. In case of disabling it, that check is not performed. But usually WWNs of switch are unique, and so it shouldn’t be an issue unless we are merging with another fabric in the future.

Resetting admin password on HP Chassis Cisco MDS 9124e switch

You will need 2 simultaneous sessions to chassis management module side by side – a GUI (web browser), and a putty session. At a time you can have an active login to only one of them. As soon as you login to the other session (web or putty), it will log you off from web browser and vice versa.

1. Login to web browser of chassis management module hpchassis-m.
Click on Interconnect Bay -> 3.
Cisco MDS 9124e 24-Port blah -> Virtual Buttons tab on the right -> Reset

As soon as you click okay, rush to putty and login to hpchassis-m, run connect interconnect 3 and hit enter twice to see console and keep pressing Control C like there is no tomorrow. This will take into loader prompt.
Once at loader prompt type following commands:

2. Get the kickstart image name
loader> dir bootflash:

3. Boot the kickstart image
loader> boot m9100-s2ek9-kickstart-mz.3.1.3a.bin

4. Verify that you now see the boot prompt

5. Enter configuration mode
switch(boot)# config term

6. Enter a new admin password

switch(boot)(config)# admin-password <new password>
switch(boot)(config)# exit

7. Get the system image name
switch(boot)# dir bootflash:

8. Load the system image
switch(boot)# load bootflash:m9100-s2ek9-mz.3.1.3a.bin

9. Verify that you now see the Cisco MDS 9124e Switch login prompt,
switch login#

If the switch comes up and admin password still doesnt work, you will need to follow up to step 6 again. Reset the admin-password again but instead of exit, run “do write erase” – this will erase all the configuration. And then carry on with steps 7/8/9.

While configuring chassis switches, you get an error “Permission denied or the feature disabled”

In this case, make that change via CLI instead of GUI. It will work.

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