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SmartFabric PowerStore

Dell EMC SmartFabric Services with Dell EMC PowerStore

Jordan Wilson

Fri, 17 Jul 2020 18:41:12 -0000


Read Time: 0 minutes

Why SmartFabric Services with PowerStore?

With Dell Technologies’ integrated PowerSwitch portfolio and SmartFabric Services (SFS), we offer a holistic Dell on Dell solution, that is easier than ever to automate networking as an extension of the modern infrastructure solutions offered by Dell Technologies, making difficult networking a thing of the past.

Dell EMC SmartFabric Services enables an end to end automated fabric with up to 98% of the tasks automated offering simplicity and agility towards day 2 network operations for cluster and network expansion. The single pane of management with VMware vCenter allows users to operate and perform life cycle management of one or more fabrics from within VMware vCenter.

In this example, I will demonstrate how to enable SFS and use the Open Manage Network Integration (OMNI) ova tool to onboard a PowerStore X appliance onto the SmartFabric.

The first step in the process is to make the necessary connections. In the following example, a single PowerStore X appliance connected to a pair of Dell EMC PowerSwitch S5248F-ON switches. There is a connection from each PowerStore node in the appliance to the OOB Management network which allows us to manage the Fabric and use the PowerStore Remote Discovery Tool for initial deployment.



Once everything is connected appropriately, configure the SmartFabric. You can configure the SmartFabric with a single command at the CLI of the S5248F-ON switch. It is considered a best practice to also configure the OOB Mgmt interface on the switch. This allows the OMNI tool to manage the Fabric after the initial configuration.

Use the following sequence to configure the management interface and enable SmartFabric mode.

S5248F-Leaf1A# configure terminal
S5248F-Leaf1A(config)# interface mgmt 1/1/1
S5248F-Leaf1A(conf-if-ma-1/1/1)# no ip address dhcp
S5248F-Leaf1A(conf-if-ma-1/1/1)# ip address
S5248F-Leaf1A(conf-if-ma-1/1/1)# no shutdown
S5248F-Leaf1A(conf-if-ma-1/1/1)# exit
S5248F-Leaf1A(config)# smartfabric l3fabric enable role LEAF vlti ethernet 1/1/49-1/1/52
Reboot to change the personality? [yes/no]:yes

Once SFS is enabled, the switch will reboot and come back up in SmartFabric mode. Next, the OMNI ova is installed onto an existing vCenter. This allows us to create the necessary uplink, networks, and onboard the PowerStore X onto our SmartFabric.

SmartFabric services has several configuration options including L2 or L3 uplinks. The various configuration options for SFS can be found in the Dell EMC SmartFabric Services for PowerEdge ESXi Servers and Isilon Storage Deployment Guide.

Also, OMNI provides us with an additional benefit in that it will orchestrate day 2 automation. OMNI will be registered with both the SmartFabric and the vCenter. When a change is made to the VDS, such as a port group creation or modification, the corresponding network is created/modified on the Fabric and the associated interfaces configured for those networks. OMNI orchestrates this by monitoring vCenter tasks and then uses REST API calls to make the associated changes on the SmartFabric.

The next step is to go to OMNI and select the Server Interface tab.

SFS automatically discovers the PowerStore interfaces, which allows for a bulk configuration of all the PowerStore interfaces. This process applies to both the PowerStore X and the PowerStore T models.

Once the +Import From Fabric option is chosen the PowerStore interfaces are dynamically discovered and presented to the user.

Select the specific PowerStore interfaces and first add a server profile with the +Add to Server Profile option. Once this is complete, choose the +Add Networks option to apply the required networks (Mgmt, vMotion, Storage, and if necessary Remote-Discovery).

The final step is to select all interfaces and click the Create button. Now the Fabric is configured for a successful PowerStore deployment. The final step is to discover the PowerStore appliance and complete the Initial Configuration Wizard. Reference the Dell EMC PowerStore Network Planning Guide and other PowerStore documentation on the Dell Support site for more details on the procedure for deploying a PowerStore Appliance.

More information about SFS and PowerStore, see the Dell EMC SmartFabric Services with Dell EMC PowerStore Reference Architecture Guide.

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