Cisco MDS 9000 FSPF Hyperlink Value Multiplier: Enhancing Path Choice on Excessive-Pace Storage Networks

The necessity for optimum path choice

When embarking on a journey from one location to a different one, we all the time attempt to decide the perfect path to observe. This occurs in keeping with some choice standards. Having a single route is the only scenario however that may result in lengthy delays in case of any drawback occurring alongside the best way. Availability of a number of paths to vacation spot is nice when it comes to reliability. In fact, we would want an optimum path choice device and clear road indicators, or a navigation system with GPS, to keep away from loops or getting misplaced.

In an identical means, information networks are designed with a number of paths to vacation spot for increased availability. Particular protocols allow optimum path choice and loop avoidance. Ethernet networks have used the Spanning Tree Protocol or newer requirements like TRILL. IP networks depend on routing protocols like BGP, OSPF and RIP to find out the perfect end-to-end path. Fibre Channel materials have their very own customary routing protocol, referred to as Cloth Shortest Path First (FSPF), outlined by INCITS T11 FC-SW-8.


FSPF on Cisco MDS switches

The FSPF protocol is enabled by default on all Cisco Fibre Channel switches. Usually you don’t want to configure any FSPF parameters. FSPF robotically calculates the perfect path between any two switches in a material. It could possibly additionally choose another path within the occasion of the failure of a given hyperlink. FSPF regulates site visitors routing regardless of how complicated the material may be, together with twin datacenter core-edge designs.

FSPF helps multipath routing and bases path standing on a hyperlink state protocol referred to as Shortest Path First. It runs on E ports or TE ports, offering a loop free topology. Routing occurs hop by hop, based mostly solely on the vacation spot area ID. FSPF makes use of a topology database to maintain monitor of the state of the hyperlinks on all switches within the material and associates a value with every hyperlink. It makes use of Dijkstra algorithm and ensures a quick reconvergence time in case of a topology change. Each VSAN runs its personal FSPF occasion. By combining VSAN and FSPF applied sciences, site visitors engineering could be achieved on a material. One use case could be to drive site visitors for a VSAN on a particular ISL. Additionally, using PortChannels as a substitute of particular person ISLs makes the implementation very environment friendly as fewer FSPF calculations are required.


FSPF hyperlink value calculation

FSPF protocol makes use of hyperlink prices to find out the shortest path in a material between a supply change and a vacation spot change. The protocol tracks the state of hyperlinks on all switches within the material and associates a value with every hyperlink in its database. Additionally, FSPF determines path value by including the prices of all of the ISLs in every path. Lastly, FSPF compares the price of numerous paths and chooses the trail with minimal value. If a number of paths exist with the identical minimal value, FSPF distributes the load amongst them.

You may administratively set the price related to an ISL hyperlink as an integer worth from 1 to 30000. Nonetheless, this operation shouldn’t be obligatory and usually FSPF will use its personal default mechanism for associating a value to all hyperlinks. That is specified inside INCITS T11 FC-SW-8 customary. Primarily, the hyperlink value is calculated based mostly on the pace of the hyperlink instances an administrative multiplier issue. By default, the worth of this multiplier is S=1. Virtually the hyperlink value is inversely proportional to its bandwidth. Therefore the default value for 1 Gbps hyperlinks is 1000, for two Gbps is 500, for 4 Gbps is 250, for 32 Gbps is 31 and so forth.


FSPF hyperlink value calculation challenges

It’s straightforward to understand that  high-speed hyperlinks introduce some challenges as a result of the hyperlink value computes smaller and smaller. This turns into a major situation when the whole hyperlink bandwidth is over 128 Gbps. For these high-speed hyperlinks, the default hyperlink prices develop into too much like each other and so resulting in inefficiencies.

The scenario will get even worse for logical hyperlinks. FSPF treats PortChannels as a single logical hyperlink between two switches. On Cisco MDS 9000 collection, a PortChannel can have a most of 16 member hyperlinks. With a number of bodily hyperlinks mixed right into a PortChannel, the combination bandwidth scales upward and the logical hyperlink value reduces accordingly. Consequently, totally different paths might seem to have the identical value though they’ve a special member rely and totally different bandwidths. Path inefficiencies might happen when PortChannels with as little as 9 x 16 Gbps members are current. This results in poor path choice by FSPF. For instance, think about two various paths to similar vacation spot, one traversing a 9x16G PortChannel and one traversing a 10x16G PortChannel. Regardless of the 2 PortChannels have a special combination bandwidth, their hyperlink value would compute to the identical worth.


FSPF hyperlink value multiplier function

To deal with the problem, for now and the longer term, Cisco MDS NX-OS 9.3(1) launch launched the FSPF hyperlink value multiplier function. This new function needs to be configured when parallel paths above the 128 Gbps threshold exist in a material. By doing so, FSPF can correctly distinguish increased bandwidth hyperlinks from each other and is ready to choose the perfect path.

All switches in a material should use the identical FSPF hyperlink value multiplier worth. This manner all of them use the identical foundation for path value calculations. This function robotically distributes the configured FSPF hyperlink value multiplier to all Cisco MDS switches within the material with Cisco NX-OS variations that assist the function. If any switches are current within the material that don’t assist the function, then the configuration fails and isn’t utilized to any switches. In spite of everything switches settle for the brand new FSPF hyperlink value multiplier worth, a delay of 20 seconds happens earlier than being utilized. This ensures that every one switches apply the replace concurrently.

The brand new FSPF hyperlink value multiplier worth is S=20, versus 1 within the conventional implementation. With a easy change to at least one parameter, Cisco implementation retains utilizing the identical customary based mostly formulation as earlier than. With the brand new worth for this parameter, the FSPF hyperlink value computation will keep optimum even for PortChannels with 16 members of as much as 128 Gbps pace.



Cisco is main the best way in supporting the design and implementation of high-speed Fibre Channel materials. The continuing improvement of 128 Gbps serial interfaces by customary our bodies, mixed with the Cisco-only functionality to create logical hyperlinks with as much as 16 members, demanded for a change to the normal FSPF hyperlink value calculation. That’s why the MDS NX-OS 9.3(1) launch launched assist for the brand new FSPF hyperlink value multiplier function. Due to this, your SAN constructed with MDS 9000 units can optimally function at present and tomorrow, whereas sustaining FC-SW-8 compliance.

To be taught extra, evaluation these sources:

Cisco MDS 9000 NX-OS 9.3(1) launch notes

Cisco MDS 9000 NX-OS 9.x material configuration information


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