Let me start by saying that we haven’t abandoned Nortel/Avaya as a viable network electronics vendor. When we first started this effort back in January 2009 we initially looked at Brocade, Cisco, HP, Juniper and Nortel. After the initial cut we were left with Brocade, Cisco and Nortel/Avaya. When the final decision was made, back in November 2009, there was still a lot of concern about Avaya’s purchase of Nortel’s Enterprise Division so the decision really came down to Brocade or Cisco. Ultimately the decision was made to go with Cisco. As I commented in the previous post we still have well over 33,000 ports on Nortel/Avaya switches and less than 1,000 ports on Cisco switches. We are still purchasing and installing/deploying Nortel/Avaya switches in our hospitals and business offices .
Nexus 5010 Virtual PortChannel bug?
I’ve been known to tell people that we’re a partner with Nortel/Avaya because of the number of bugs that we identify and help to resolve. Well if I thought it was going to be any different with Cisco I can throw that idea right out the window as we have identified a bug in the vPC code for the Nexus 5000 switch. We discovered the issue with a pair of Nexus 5010 switches when one of the switches up and died (hardware failure). While trying to troubleshoot the problem we restarted the remaining Nexus 5010 switch only to find that the remaining Nexus 5010 would no longer adopt the Nexus 2148 switches/FEXes after it was rebooted if the peer Nexus 5010 wasn’t online. If we removed the vpc configuration from the portchannel then the FEX would come online. After speaking with Cisco they have created bug CSCth01969 which is supposedly going to be addressed in the next software release.
HP Virtual Connect Flex-10/NIC issues/ESX 4.0 Update 1 Drivers
We also ran into a number of issues with the HP BL490c blades and HP Virtual Connect Flex-10 Interconnect. On a number of blades we had an issue where the ESX installer was unable to locate any network interfaces. The installer would error with something like “The script 32.networking-drivers failed to execute and the installation can not continue.” The solution was to re-apply the NIC firmware after the Virtual Connect profile had been applied to the server. You can find additional detail over at Brian’s blog if interested.
We also ran into another issue when performing our redundancy and high-availability testing. We configured Virtual Connect to use SmartLink, however, when we unplugged the uplinks from the B side interconnect the Virtual Connect Flex-10 interconnect didn’t disable the server side NICs. The solution to this problem was to update the NIC driver that shipped with ESX 4.0 Update 1. You can find the driver here.
Lots of additional stories to come including a comparison of vPC and SMLT.