S e n d d o c u m e n t a t i o n c o m m e n t s t o m d s f e e d b a c k - d o c @ c i s c o . c o m
VSANs enable global SAN consolidation by allowing you to convert existing SAN islands into virtual
SAN islands on a single physical network. It provides hardware-enforced security and separation
between applications or departments to allow coexistence on a single network. It also allows virtual
rewiring to consolidate your storage infrastructure. You can move assets between departments or
applications without the expense and disruption of physical relocation of equipment.
While you can configure VSANs in any Cisco MDS switch, you can enable FICON in at most eight of
these VSANs. The number of VSANs configured depends on the platform.
Mainframe users can think of VSANs as being like FICON LPARs in the MDS SAN fabric. You can
partition switch resources into FICON LPARs (VSANs) that are isolated from each other, in much the
same way that you can partition resources on a zSeries or DS8000. Each VSAN has its own set of fabric
services (such as fabric server and name server), FICON Control Unit Port, domain ID, Fabric Shortest
Path First (FSPF) routing, operating mode, IP address, and security profile.
FICON LPARs can span line cards and are dynamic in size. For example, one FICON LPAR with 10
ports can span 10 different line cards. FICON LPARs can also include ports on more than one switch in
a cascaded configuration. The consistent fairness of the Cisco MDS 9000 switching architecture means
that "all ports are created equal", simplifying provisioning by eliminating the "local switching" issues
seen on other vendors' platforms.
Addition of ports to a FICON LPAR is a non-disruptive process. The maximum number of ports for a
FICON LPAR is 255 due to FICON addressing limitations.
The multilayer architecture of the Cisco MDS 9000 Family enables a consistent feature set over a
protocol-agnostic switch fabric. Cisco MDS 9500 Series and 9200 Series switches transparently
integrate Fibre Channel, FICON, and Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP) in one system. The FICON over
FCIP feature enables cost-effective access to remotely located mainframe resources. With the Cisco
MDS 9000 Family platform, storage replication services such as IBM PPRC and XRC can be extended
over metro to global distances using ubiquitous IP infrastructure and thus simplifies business
The Cisco MDS implementation of FICON provides support for efficient utilization and increased
availability of Inter- switch Links (ISLs) necessary to build stable large-scale SAN environments.
PortChannels ensure an enhanced ISL availability and performance in Cisco MDS switches.
Cisco MDS 9000 Family CLI Configuration Guide
Chapter 40, "Configuring FCIP."
Chapter 16, "Configuring PortChannels"
for more information on PortChannels.
OL-16184-01, Cisco MDS SAN-OS Release 3.x