July 27, 2010

1 articles on July 27, 2010
We’ve been using our MD3000i SAN Array by directly plugging an ethernet cord from our server to the array. Not the best SAN implementation in the world, but I tend to work with what I have not, what I wish to have.

Recently though we bought a couple of DELL PowerConnect 5424 to complement our MD3000i. I scour the web trying to find some helpful info to start configuring these two. The best I could find is on this Dell Tech Center site. For basic configuration it works just fine. However, this is not the best practice suggested by DELL. After hours of reading the switch’s manual, best practice manual, MD3000i manual, and trying some stuff my own, I finally managed to figure out how to configure them successfully.
Below I’ll describe how to fully configure step by step. Hopefully this will help someone. This configuration should also work in the 5448 model of PowerConnect. This switch configuration will be used for iSCSI and failover clustering traffic only.
We’ll start with configuring 1 switch first. Once you get this up and running, the other one should be really simple.
Hardware & software needed(other than the switch of course):
  • Serial cable
  • A computer capable of running Terminal software. It can be any OS. A laptop is preferred (I’ll call this the configurator)
  • A network cable cat5e or better preferably
  • Terminal software. I use TeraTerm. You can use any terminal software that supports VT100 serial connection like Hyper Terminal.

I. CABLING

With your switch powered off make the following connection:

  • Connect your computer(configurator) to your switch using the serial cable
  • Connect your configurator to your switch using an ethernet cable. Plug the ethernet cable to the last port of your switch. This is to help you configure the switch with the GUI, without having to know all the command line. I chose to use the last port of the switch because this is the port I won’t configure.

Your configuration should look like this.

II. CONNECTING WITH SERIAL CABLE

Run your terminal software in VT100 mode, and configure it with the following setting so that you can connect to your switch:

  • Port: Whatever your COM port is for your serial connection
  • Baud Rate: 9600
  • Data: 8Bit
  • Parity: None
  • Stop: 1 bit
  • Flow Control None

III. INITIAL SETUP

After the above is done, turn on your switch, and establish the serial connection with the above setting. Hit enter one or more times. You should see the POST message from the switch on your terminal screen. If this is not the case, check your connection and settings above. You cannot go any further without having this step completed.

After it’s done booting, it will prompt you for a easy setup. it will timeout after 60 seconds(if I’m not mistaken). If it does time out and you miss it, turn off the switch and turn it back on again(you can also type reload to reboot the switch). Follow the instruction of the easy setup. Keep the following in mind:

  • If you are not configuring SNMP, type “no” when prompted
  • It will ask you for IP address and subnet. For simplicity sake, I’m using class C IP address: 197.167.1.1 and subnet 255.255.255.0
  • Don’t worry about the default gateway. You can type in 0.0.0.0 as the IP for the default gateway.
  • at the end of the easy setup it will prompt you whether you want to copy the running configuration to startup configuration. Type Yes only if you have entered everything correctly. If you need to make correction, type no, and the easy setup will re-run. If you get the IP address and the subnet right, don’t worry about others. You can make changes from the web interface later. After you make configuration changes, if you want it to stay after the switch reboot, you need to copy your running configuration to your startup configuration(shown later).

IV. GETTING READY TO UPDATE FIRMWARE

After the quick setup is finished, you need to upgrade the firmware of your switch. Make sure you download the latest firmware required from DELL’s website and save the file on the configurator before you proceed any further. As of this writing, the latest firmware version is: 2.0.0.41, A06. If you have a laptop with both ethernet and wireless card as your configurator, life will be easier because you can use the ethernet connection to talk with the switch, and the wireless to connect to the internet to download the firmware.

The easiest way for me was to upgrade the firmware using the GUI provided by the embedded web server of the switch. To accomplish this, you need to connect to the switch using ethernet connection. Make sure your ethernet cable is plugged in to both the configurator and the switch. Change the IP settings of the configurator(the ethernet connection that plugs into the switch) to the following:

  • IP address: 197.167.1.100 (this can be any IP from 197.167.1.2 to 197.167.1.254)
  • subnet: 255.255.255.0
  • Default gateway: this has to be the IP address you provided during the easy setup. In this case, it is 197.167.1.1
V. UPDATE THE FIRMWARE

Fire up your browser, and type in the switch’s IP, http://197.167.1.1. You should be prompted to login. If the browser is not displaying anything, double check the configuration above, and do not proceed any further(oh well, you can’ t anyway. Unless you know all the command line). Login using the credential you provided

After you login, do the following:

  1. using the navigational tree on the left, click through the following: File Management > File Download > Firmware Download > Download via HTTP.
  2. Click Browse, and select a file with ROS extension from extracted firmware you just downloaded from DELL.
  3. Select “software image” as the “server type”, select “image 2″ for “Active Image After Reset” field
  4. Click on apply changes
  5. After the download is done(this is actually the transfer of the firmware from the configurator to the switch. The term is confusing), reboot the browser by clicking through the following: System > General > Reset >Reset. Click okay twice. The word “Reset” is somewhat misleading. It should be renamed to reboot, or reload. This reset will not wipe out the changes you made. It will simply reload the browser.
  6. To reboot your switch from the terminal console, make sure the command prompt ends with # instead of >. if it ends with >(i.e console>), type “enable” followed by enter, and then “reload”.
  7. hit Y when prompted. this will reset the switch

Now you need to check whether the firmware is loaded up fine. Bring up your terminal window, and wait until the switch is done rebooting. Hit enter key. If it’s done booting, the console will display “your_switch_name>” prompt. Type “enable” and enter. The switch console should turns to # after you enable it. Type in “show bootvar “. This should show the latest firmware version(should be the same version as the one on Dell’s website). As of today, the latest firmware is 2.0.0.41.

VI. UPDATE THE BOOT CODE
Repeat steps V. described above with the following changes:
  • For action item #2, select a file with RFB extension from the extracted firmware you downloaded from DELL’s website.
  • Change the “server type” in action item #3 above to “boot code”.

VII. CONFIGURING THE SWITCH

Now, the most important part, configuring for iSCSI. Before I go any further, this is how I plan to configure my switch. Picture tells a thousand words. Again, I’ll focus on 1 switch only for now, for simplicity sake.


Let’s also review some terms:
HOST: Physical server that will be accessing the iSCSI(SAN) storage.
TARGET: A SAN Storage.(i.e MD3000i)

Let’s configure it.

Bring up your terminal consoler, and make sure it is in “#” prompt, instead of “>”. Type “enable” to go to the “#” prompt. Type in “config” to enter the configuration mode. Below is the command line to configure the switch. Lines that starts with # are meant for comment so that you’d understand what the command is for. Do not type lines that starts with # into the console.
#start configuration
## the following is recommended by DELL for iSCSI environment
spanning-tree mode rstp
interface range ethernet all
spanning-tree portfast
exit
interface range ethernet all
flowcontrol on
exit
port jumbo-frame
interface range ethernet g(1-20)
switchport mode general
exit
##create 2 new vlans 2 and 3
vlan database
vlan 2-3
exit
##name the two vlans created above
interface vlan 2
name iSCSI
exit
interface vlan 3
name “Live Migration(Failover)”
exit
interface range ethernet g(1-10)
##specify that this port is a general port
switchport mode general
##port 1-10 has has vlan id 2
switchport general pvid 2
##allowed only tagged vlan
switchport general allowed vlan add 2 tagged
switchport general acceptable-frame-type tagged-only
exit
## configure the faiolver vlan.
interface range ethernet g(11-16)
switchport mode general
switchport general pvid 3
switchport general allowed vlan add 3 tagged
switchport general acceptable-frame-type tagged-only
exit
## not really required. this is the default
voice vlan oui-table add 0001e3 Siemens_AG_phone________
voice vlan oui-table add 00036b Cisco_phone_____________
voice vlan oui-table add 00096e Avaya___________________
voice vlan oui-table add 000fe2 H3C_Aolynk______________
voice vlan oui-table add 0060b9 Philips_and_NEC_AG_phone
voice vlan oui-table add 00d01e Pingtel_phone___________
voice vlan oui-table add 00e075 Polycom/Veritel_phone___
voice vlan oui-table add 00e0bb 3Com_phone______________
iscsi target port 860 address 0.0.0.0
iscsi target port 3260 address 0.0.0.0
##4 assign ip addresses to VLANS
##use the vlan 1 IP to connect to its web interface
interface vlan 1
ip address 197.167.1.1 255.255.255.0
exit
interface vlan 2
ip address 197.167.2.1 255.255.255.0
exit
interface vlan 3
ip address 197.167.3.1 255.255.255.0
exit
## switch setting(labelling)
## don’t need default gateway. unless it’s plugged in to your corporate network
ip default-gateway 0.0.0.0
hostname SWITCH1
#to have the password encrypted, change the password from the web UI, download running config to your desktop, and copy paste the encrypted value here
username localadmin password your_password_here level 15
snmp-server location “wherever”
snmp-server contact “whoever”
snmp-server community Dell_Network_Manager rw view DefaultSuper
# you can change time zone from the web interface. just make sure to copy it to your startup config.
clock timezone -5
clock summer-time recurring usa zone utc
exit
copy running-config startup-config
Reload

#end configuration

After the switch reboot itself, your configuration should stay intact.

If you’d like to see the command line when you do the following:
  • Change something from the web interface, like time zone
  • You’d like to see what the value of your encrypted password is(so you don’t have to enter your password in clear text in configuration file, which I’m sure you’d like to store somewhere)

Then do this:

  • From your web interface click through the following: System > File Management > File Upload.
  • Click on “Upload via HTTP” option
  • Change the “transfer File Name” option accordingly. Running configuration is your current configuration after whatever changes you did. Startup configuration is what the switch will use the next time the switch is rebooted. Every changes you made on the web interface or terminal console will be saved to Running Configuration. You will need to manually copy to startup configuration. Otherwise, the changes won’t apply when the switch is rebooted.
  • Click apply changes. This will download either the Running/Startup configuration from the switch to the configurator.
  • You can open the text file with notepad, and see how it’s done.
The following is a diagram for 2 switches implementation. You can follow the step above, to configure the second switch. Just make sure that you enter the correct IP and VLAN in your configuration script.

That’s pretty much it. Next time I have a chance, I’ll write about how to configure your MD3000i and your host in windows 2008 and 2008 r2.If you see I’m missing anything, please post a comment.