Tag Archives: Brocade Certified Fabric Professional

BCFP 16G Beta – I passed!

In a moment of frustration/impatience I posted on ‘Brocade Certified’ that it was still 3 weeks until the results are posted. Good boss of training Joe Cannata replied that I could e-mail him and get the results before. I did, and I passed! Most excellent and kind of them to do that! So nice to not have to wait the extra three weeks until it’s entered/updated in the Pearson Vue system. What kind of name is that anyway? Pearson Vue? Latin? Turns out no.

VUE stands for: Virtual University Enterprises
Pearson is just from somebody’s name.

Maybe there’s another meaning behind the name Pearson (besides son of pear).

Back to the subject, how nice was it to find out that I passed? The first few days / week after the exam I was really aching to find out. Then I pretty quickly forgot about it. It wasn’t until maybe a month and a half later that I thought, cmooon why is this so slow! All in all it feels pretty awesome to have the certificate! It took a pretty heavy amount of studying. I think maybe now I got the courage to go for the designer one as well!

BCFP 16G : Post-Exam

OK, did the exam. Took 2.5 hours.

It felt like I was plowing through them pretty fast but after some 80-questions the speed dropped significantly and I started to have trouble focusing. Short unfocus/try to think about something else , stand up a bit helped. This test wasn’t as nerve-wrecking for me as the BCFA – maybe it had something to do with that I didn’t pay for this one.. (smålänningen i mig).

I realized last night that I hadn’t listened to the BCFP nutshell guide (the one with audio) so I quickly went through that and I believe it helped a bit, even though it’s for FOS 6.3 and 8G FC stuff. If you do this exam when it goes live, definitely do listen to the nutshell, maybe several times and don’t forget to click the ‘notes’ button on the slides, there’s more info there. It’s kind of a very sped up/condensed version of the whole material, but there’s some things that aren’t even mentioned that you’ll only find in the material. But it is free. It’s nice to have somebody read it out loud, maybe they phrase it a little different than you do (in the head) that is just what’s needed for you to understand it.

Also there are the simulations/labs in the material when you buy that’s really valuable.
For the BCFA they had virtual class rooms for this nutshell – looks like they might have changed this now and recorded it. One avenue less to ask questions.

Now the waiting begins. Two months until I get to know the results. Yikes!

Gotta find something else to occupy myself with now.. hmm..

Archiving? Buddhism? Apparently BCFD (fabric designer) is beta-tested in Dec/Jan. This would be the next logical step for me. Why not huh? =) Anybody has any ideas? Right now I just feel like getting myself into the next Malaz book by Ian C. Esslemont – Stormwielder, supposedly about Greymane!

BCFP – How to prepare for the exam

Until now I’ve been just reading the material, when there’s something unclear in the material I’ve looked it up in command reference guides, release notes, user guides or otherwise on the Intertubes.

This doesn’t really prepare you for the format the exam is in. I mean the exam is in questions and the answers are multiple-choice one. Unless you actively do it while reading this doesn’t put your brain in – answer-questions-mode(tm).

What I’ve done is make flash cards with the question on one side and the answer on the other side. You can put whatever you want of course, but for example ‘ what is the command to enable fcr ‘ or if you want something more theoretical how about ‘ what are the advantages with fcip compared to dark fibre extension’ ? Or the negatives? I have no idea what the questions were when I did the BCFA (I was just so happy I passed) but I hope this will prepare me somewhat for what might come.

BCFP – good threads in the brocade forum

How to set up two FCIP tunnels between two B7500: http://community.brocade.com/message/15261

Connecting two sites via FCR: http://community.brocade.com/message/16828#16828

Set up FCIP between two B7800: http://community.brocade.com/message/14216#14216

Why is there an IP in ipaddrshow on FC interfaces: http://community.brocade.com/message/3978#3978





BCFP – more studying

OK, so now you’ve been studying for a while? Read the material once or twice, made notes. Have you read more details about a command in the command reference guide, or more details about a technique in the FCIP Admin Guide or the FOS guide? Or how do you do your studying?

Now would be a good time to head over to the page where you see the requirements/objectives of the exam.

Write them down and think about each. Could you for example ‘Demonstrate knowledge of how to manage FCIP/FC distributed external solutions’ ? No? Why not? What parts about it do you not understand, are there any foggy parts, etc. If you can explain this to somebody, that’s a great achievement (now you just have to find somebody who doesn’t get glazed eyes but listening to you talk about fibre channel).
Maybe if you imagine a presentation (like in school) and you have to tell somebody about this specific feature. What would you go over?

Two weeks left for me now. Just hit me today that it’s 4 hours long and 180+ questions (so about 1min 20seconds per question). My brain is not going to function very well after the test. Gotta stock up on carbs, don’t drink before.

BCFP – 16G Studying

Another studying tip!

Head over to the forum/community at Brocade. Do it. After you read this post :p

For example in the BCFP there will be questions about NPIV, so it makes sense to read the forum for threads regarding NPIV. Right? I mean there’s bound to be troubleshooting, and getting some ‘real’ experience troubleshooting SAN is quite hard to get, especially with stuff like FCIP/FCR.

Example link: http://community.brocade.com/message/18897#18897

You don’t need an account. If you register you don’t get access to much anyway.

Here is one as an example. But there are lots of posts there and there’s a ton to learn. I usually just troll/help out on HP’s Enterprise Server/Storage forum but I think I’ll start reading on this as well.

BCFP Studying on

A bit quiet here.
I’m quite busy at work and also studying for the BCFP.
Currently wrapping up the end of ‘going through the material and putting what I find interesting in a document so that I can print it and re-read it and make notes etc’.

One thing I found was a Top Talker feature called ‘EE Monitors’.
As far as I could tell this was the same as Top Talker in ‘port mode’ in opposed to ‘Top Talkers’ which was ‘Top Talker’ in fabric mode.

Brocade Embedded SAN switches are called B54xx like 5424 etc.

Some terminology:

Ingress Port – Traffic Entering a switch port (rx)
Egress Port – Traffic Exiting a switch port (tx)

BCFP – VF – Virtual Fabrics

The free material does not go through the virtual fabrics and the exam objectives does not mention them specifically. Even so – it’s probably a good idea to get some grip about it anyway as it is mentioned in the BCFP 8G material and there are questions concerning it in the Nutshell Guide and the BCFP 8 knowledge assessment. Also it is mentioned in the pre-requisites for the BCFP (the AFS 141).

Brocade’s overview page of Virtual Fabrics.

 FAQ on Virtual Fabrics


There is also quite a lot of information about VF in the FOS Administration Guide. You can find this guide in lots of places but it is in the exam objectives in the link above.

The theory

It is what it says it is – a way to create independent and logical fabrics and switches that you can use to segment your SAN.
It does not require a license.

There’s logical fabrics and logical switches.

From the FAQ:
A Logical Fabric is an implementation of a Fibre Channel fabric with one or more Logical
Switches participating in the fabric. A Logical Fabric has its own independent instance of
fabric services, name server, zoning database, and so on.

A logical switch needs a fabric id. Default is 128 but can be changed. Same FID cannot be used for same logical switch in the same chassi. You move ports from the default to the new switches. VE_ and EX_ ports needs to be configured after the move. LD, QoS, F_port buffers/trunking may not be enabled on the port.

Max 8 VFs in the DCX, enabling it is disruptive (requires a reboot).

DCX uses 10-bit addressing. Uses part of the last part of the ALPA part of the PID.
Means that that part of the PID does not always indicate a port area.
Increases limit of NPIV, support loop devices.


For 8G products it’s available on the DCX, B5100 and the B5300.
For 16G it’s available on 6510, VA-40FC
FC10-6, FS8-18, FCOE10-24 ports can only be part of the default switch.


(X)ISL — interconnecting switches

The default switch – is the first logical switch you create.

To connect a logical switch (henceforth known as LS) to another one you can just have one of the ports in the LS as an E_port, or you can use XISL – extended ISL.

To use XISL you designate one LS as a base switch. This is used for interconnects and you can have ISLs for several fabrics on this one port/cable. It can have E, VE and EX, VEX ports. *x_ports can only be in the base switch. One base switch per chassi, on DCX platforms the default cannot be the base switch. You connect the base switch to other base switches and then the other logical switches with the same FID merge. By default the logical switches are enabled to use XISL. You can combine normal ISL and XISL. Normal ISL have a lower cost.

ISL (between physical switches)
DISL (between Logical Switches)
IFL (routing, not merging)
XISL (several LISLs inside)
LISL (part of an XISL)

With XISL a logical port is created, their WWN start with 5x.


fosconfig –enable vf
lscfg –create FID [-base] [-force]; setcontext FID; swichdisable (set Domain ID etc); configure; switchenable
lscfg –config 128 -slot <slot> -port <port>
lscfg –delete non-default-logical-switches
lscfg –show
lscfg –change 5 –newfid 7 (disables switch and sets it); fosexec –fid FID -cmd “switchenable”

fosexec –fid FID  -cmd “cmd” (how to run a command on another LS)
fosexec –fid all -cmd “cmd” (on all logical switches)
ipaddrset -ls 123 –add (set an IP for a logical switch, to segment management)


BCFP – Fibre Channel Routing – FCR – FC-FC Routing

FCR; Fibre Channel Routing; FC-FC Routing; etc; etc.

This has many names. FC-FC Routing service provides FCR (fibre channel routing).
Basically what it does is that it lets you zone devices in two separate fabrics without merging them.
These two separate fabrics are called ‘edge fabrics’ in Brocade lingo, they are otherwise known as SAN islands.
The edge fabric is connected to a backbone fabric (an FC router or at least an EX_Port).

Integrated Routing – is a licensed feature that lets you run FCR on a port that is in a normal port in a normal switch or port blade (so not in a dedicated router switch or router blade).

There’s a few things required to set up FCR:

  1. Verify that you have the proper setup (required licenses/hardware)
  2. Assign backbone FIDs (switchdisable; fosConfig –disable fcr; fcrconfigure; fosconfig –enable; switchenable)
  3. Configure FCIP tunnel (not required but: portcfg fciptunnel 8/ge0 create 2 0 -v 100 -p 3 -P 7 . Remote IP first, tunnel ID, vlan, Classes for layer2 control and data traffic)
  4. Configure IFLs – inter fabric links – links between edge and backbone fabrics (portcfgvexport, portcfgexport 7 -a 1 -f 30 . port 7, enable, fabric id 30)
  5. Modify cost on the EX_ports (not required; portdisable; portcfgexport 7 -a 1; fcrrouterportcost 7 10000; for default, set it to 0; fcrRouteShow also shows cost)
  6. Connect cables (if you do it before and they are configured as E_port you may get segmentation).
  7. Configure trunking on EX_ports (not required but if you have more than one link, please do, same commands as for E_port trunking)
  8. Configure LSAN zones (same as normal zoning; zonecreate “lsan_zone_fabric”, “wwn; wwn2; wwn3”; cfgadd “zone_cfg”, “lsan_zone_fabric”; cfgenable “zone_cfg”). Use lsanzoneshow -s. Shows imported/exist/configured/initializing.
    fcrphydevshow, fcrproxydevshow are also useful.
  9. Confirm that it’s working (fcrfabricshow, switchshow, portcfgshow, portexport 7, portshow 7)
So what you have to do is: assign FIDs, configure IFLs and LSAN zones. 

A little theory

Phantom domains.

Front domains -> always there

Translate domains (also xlate domains…).  -> only there when devices are online and zoned

The FC router has a pool of wwns and proxy ids that it assigns to devices.
Basically a host that wants to communicate with a target in another fabric communicates with a proxy WWN in its own fabric (so the FC router is like a middle man that passes frames back n forth).

A little more information

When a PLOGI, PDISC, ADISC frame arrives at the FC router, SID and DID are checked. If they are zoned in both SID and DID edge fabrics (islands), the frame is forwarded to DID. If not, only PLOGI is dropped; edge fabrics’ zoning enforcement takes care of the rest.
I found this document on EMC’s webpage (it’s from 2007 so a bit outdated and it has EMC’s names of the Brocade products) but it explains the concept pretty nicely.
Also, this post is for me to study for the BCFP, I find that I learn better when I write things down with a keyboard ;)
There may be mistakes in here but that’s just how it is, I tried to keep it as factual as possible and used several sources.
There will most likely be more of these posts coming up.

BCFP – Brocade Certified Fabric Professional 16G Beta Exam

More studying. Only a month and a half to go.

Currently repeating/re-reading BCFA stuff and mostly focusing on the new stuff. Expect to do this this whole week but gradually weave in more BCFP stuff.

An idea – I don’t think I need to re-hearse the BCFA that much. The objectives between the two exams are very different and there’s no overlap as far as I can tell. Focusing more on the BCFP now but it was nice anyway to do a short repeat of the BCFA stuff, get back in the game.

The Material

I’ve been going through what’s recommended (the material) and these are the useful pages:
Please note that the second item in each list is the actual page number in the document.
I also took the liberty of adding pages before/after in case they were adding context to the page. It’s not like I’m going to try to remember the pages by heart. And quite often the pages referenced by Brocade were just one page in the middle of a chapter.

For example page 63 in FOS Admin Guide 7 is either about setting ipaddr or routing/FC NAT. I think it’s the FC NAT. Page 77 is either for adressing/WWN based PID assignment or lossless DLS. Page 80 is port numbering schemes for various blades or Forward Error Correction. 99 is verifying syslog/audit log or introduction to RADIUS/LDAP. 117-118 is lossless DLS or overview of IP protocols.
Page 3 in the troubleshooting guide is to the document history or one of the pages with list of common symptoms. Also Page 1 in FCIP Admin Guide is probably not the one they meant :)

There’s some really weird ones in the admin guide. For example page 582 does not exist in FOS admin or 132 is empty in FCIP Admin guide , in both real page counters and the numbers on the pages in the book.

Also some starting/ending points/pages are a little strange, why cut it off there and not the whole chapter/section?

From the Brocade Certified group on facebook I saw that these pages numbers were used to writing a/questions on the exam. Guess this explains why some of the pages are odd, maybe they were written down at a previous version of the document or they just don’t want to document everything :) In the same group they claim that the page they used is the one on the actual page, not the one in for example adobe reader. This means the numbers under Real are the ones pointing to the right pages.

Anyway, with the details from http://community.brocade.com/docs/DOC-2041 here we go:

Updated the numbers on FOS Admin guide (2011-08-18)

  • Fabric OS Administrators Guide v7.0 (53-1002148-02)
    • Pages 63,77,80,99,100,117,118,128,133,137,200,272-281,287-302,372,382,395,404-412,413,418,422-433,435-438,447-481,582
    • Real Pages: 102-103, 120, 139, 168, 173-174, 177, 240, (271-303), 311-343, 410, 412, 422, 435, 444-453, 458-478, 487-521,
  • Fabric OS Command Reference Guide v7.0 (53-1002147-01)
    • Pages 239,244-246,283-290,380-383,609,610,637,653,661-663,701-710,714-717,824,885,930,953-956,1028,1029,1083
    • Real Pages: 273, 278-280, 316-324, 643, 644, 671, 687, 695-697, 735-744, 748-751, 857-858, 918-920, 964, 987-990, 1061-1063
  • Fabric OS Troubleshooting Guide v7.0 (51-1002150-02)
    • Pages 3,22,31,38,92,
    • Real Pages: 23, 43-44, 51-52, 112
  • Brocade 1860 Datasheet (GA-DS-1566-00)
  • Brocade SAN Health Family Data Sheet (GA-DS-870-03)
  • Fabric OS v7.0 Release Notes
    • Pages 11,12
    • Real Pages: 11, 12
  • Brocade Network Advisor SAN User Manual 11.1.x (53-1002167-01)
    • Pages xxxviii,xxxix,47-52,148,202,230-233,647,648,782,911
    • Real Pages: 38-39, 91-96, 192, 246, 274-277, 691-692, 826, 955
  • Brocade Network Advisor Installation Guide 11.1.x (53-1002320-01)
    • Page 9
    • Real Page: 9
  • Fabric OS FCIP Administrator’s Guide (53-1002155-01)
    • Pages 1,6,29-37,54,111-113,132
    • Real Pages: 15, 20-21, 43-52, 68, 125-127
  • Access Gateway Administrator’s Guide (53-1002156-01)
    • Pages 11,22,52,53,67-69,
    • Real Pages: 31, 42, 72-73, 87-89
  • Brocade Adapters Administrator’s Guide (53-1001923-01)
    • Page 35
    • Real Page: 57
  • Pre-release CFP 300 Course (unedited material)
    • Modules 2-8

BCFA – Brocade Certified Fabric Administrator 16G Beta

I am currently going for the BCFP – fabric professional – exam, but I did the BCFA 6 months ago so I’ll re-read the material and of course there’s the new stuff with FOS 7, new hardware, 16g, new ASIC that I should probably learn as well.

Some new stuff

‘fabric name’ is a new feature. But this is also more usable in VF – which is not part of BCFA. Firmware upgrades are the same (phew).
DCFM is now called Network Advisor and it also has IP/routing and MPLS functionality now.
Of course the 16G blades (with the first 8 ports capable of handling 10GB FC) and the FC10-6 blades.
D_port diagnostics (set a port to this before joining it to a trunk, or use it to measure distance on a long distance link, is accurate up to 5m).
IDLE/ARB fill words are no longer necessary to configure (except on 8G platforms and not on Condor3).
Condor3 is the new ASIC for the 16G blades.
New/larger/longer/better ICL between the new directors that use QSFP instead of the crap max 2m copper cable.


One thing that’s great about the kindle is that you can put the Brocade material on it (even in PDF) – just change viewing mode to landscape/horizontal and it will look great. Two pages per slide. I still have material from my old so that one works. But the material that is given for free now has 0 access rights so it does not work on the Kindle.

The way I write my personal notes is: write them off from the brocade material in my own words.

  1. I do this on google docs.
  2. I then download it into .doc and then
  3. e-mail it as an attachment to youraccount@free.kindle.com.
  4. Then next time you hook up your kindle to wifi it will download the documents, converted to .azw.

What’s important here is to not use lists, as the conversion from a google doc saved as word and then e-mailed to youraccount@free.kindle.com does not like lists, it only takes the first level in the list.

I instead used headers, lost of them.

This is also nice because you can put a TOC which is clickable on the kindle.

Also pictures work in this conversation.