Fabric Vision was introduced with IBM Network Advisor 12.1.x and FOS V 7.2.x. The Fabric Vision license includes support for Flow Vision, Monitoring Alerting Policy Suite (MAPS), Clear Link Diagnostic Port, Fabric Watch, and Advanced Performance Monitoring. Switches with Fabric Watch (FW) and Advanced Performance Monitoring (APM) licenses automatically get FOS V 7.2.x Fabric Vision license features simply by upgrading to FOS 7.2.x. Switches with only FW or APM can upgrade to Fabric Vision by purchasing other licenses.
IT organizations with large, complex, or highly virtualized data center environments often require advanced tools to help them more effectively monitor and manage their storage infrastructure. Developed specifically with these IT organizations in mind, Fabric Vision technology also includes several breakthrough diagnostic, monitoring, and management capabilities that dramatically simplify day-to-day SAN administration and provide unprecedented visibility across the storage network.
Fabric Vision is an extension of b-type Gen 5 Fibre Channel and introduces a breakthrough hardware and software solution that maximizes uptime, simplifies SAN management, and provides unprecedented visibility and insight across the storage network. Offering innovative diagnostic, monitoring, and management capabilities, Fabric Vision technology helps administrators avoid problems, maximize application performance, and reduce operational costs.
The following advanced technologies and capabilities are available with the optional Fabric Vision technology license:
ClearLink Diagnostics, a patent-pending technology, leverages the unique Brocade Diagnostic Port (D_Port) mode to ensure optical and signal integrity for Gen 5 Fibre Channel optics and cables, simplifying deployment and support of high performance fabrics. By pro-actively verifying the integrity of critical transceivers, organizations can quickly address any physical layer issues without the need for special optical testers.
ClearLink Diagnostics allows users to automate a battery of tests to measure and validate latency and distance across the switch links, as well as verify the integrity of the fiber and 16 Gbps transceivers in the fabric¡ either prior to deployment or when there are suspected physical layer issues. With ClearLink Diagnostics, only the ports attached to the link being tested need to go offline, leaving the rest of the ports to operate online.
Bottleneck Detection identifies and alerts administrators to device or ISL congestion as well as abnormal levels of latency in the fabric. When applied to F_Ports, Bottleneck Detection can continuously monitor for medium or high levels of latency on a device port and provide notification on the nature and duration of the latency. Bottleneck Detection can also serve as a confirmation to host information when storage latencies are suspected as the cause of poor host performance. The reverse (eliminating the storage as the source of poor performance) is also true. When applied to E_Ports, Bottleneck Detection can alert administrators when it detects high levels of latency on an ISL, often the result of congestion or latency from elsewhere in the fabric, but also a condition that can occur as a result of device latencies from multiple flows.
Network Advisor works in conjunction with Bottleneck Detection to automatically monitor and detect network congestion and latency in the fabric, providing visualization of bottlenecks in a connectivity map and product tree. Network Advisor also can show exactly which devices and hosts are impacted by a bottlenecked port.
Flow Vision enables administrators to identify, monitor, and analyze specific application and data flows in order to maximize performance, avoid congestion, and optimize resources.
Flow Vision includes:
Flow Monitor: Provides comprehensive visibility into flows in the fabric, including the ability to automatically learn (discover) flows and non-disruptively monitor flow performance. Users can monitor all flows from a specific host to multiple targets/LUNs or from multiple hosts to a specific target/LUN; monitor all flows across a specific ISL; or perform LUN-level monitoring of specific frame types to identify resource contention or congestion that is impacting application performance.
Flow Monitor provides the following capabilities:
- Comprehensive visibility into application flows in the fabric, including the ability to learn (discover) flows automatically.
- Monitoring of application flows within a fabric at a given port.
- Statistics associated with the specified flows to gain insights into application performance, such as transmit frame count, receive frame count, transmit throughput, receive throughput, SCSI Read frame count, SCSI Write frame count, number of SCSI Reads and Writes per second (IOPS), and more.
- When NPIV is used on the host, users can monitor Virtual Machine (VM)-to-LUN-level performance.
- Monitoring of various frame types at a switch port to provide deeper insights into the storage I/O access pattern at the LUN level, reservation conflicts, and I/O errors. Examples of frame types include SCSI Read, SCSI Write, SCSI Reserve, ABTS, and BA_ACC.
- Flow Monitor is integrated with Brocade Monitoring and Alerting Policy Suite (MAPS) to enable threshold-based monitoring and alerting of flows.
Flow Mirror: Provides the ability to non-disruptively create copies of specific application and data flows or frame types that can be captured for deeper analysis. Flow Mirror is used for in-depth analysis of flows of interest or specific frame types, such as analysis of SCSI Reservation frames, ABTS frames, or flows going to a bottlenecked device.
Flow Generator: Provides a built-in test traffic generator for pre-testing and validating the SAN infrastructure, including internal connections within a switch, for robustness before deploying new switches, blades, servers, storage, or applications. Flow Generator allows users to:
- Configure a Gen 5 Fibre Channel-capable port as a simulated device that can transmit frames at 16 Gbps line rate
- Emulate a Gen 5 Fibre Channel SAN without actually having any hosts or targets or SAN testers, and pre-test the entire SAN fabric
Monitoring Alerting Policy Suite
Monitoring Alerting Policy Suite (MAPS) provides a new, easy-to-use solution for policy-based threshold monitoring and alerting. MAPS proactively monitors the health and performance of the SAN infrastructure to ensure application uptime and availability. By leveraging pre-built rule-/policy-based templates, MAPS simplifies threshold configuration, monitoring, and alerting.
Organizations can configure the entire fabric (or multiple fabrics) at one time using common rules and policies, or customize policies for specific ports or switch elements—all through a single dialog. The integrated dashboard displays an overall switch health report, along with details on out-of-policy conditions, to help administrators quickly pinpoint potential issues and easily identify trends and other behaviors occurring on a switch or fabric.
MAPS offers the following:
Policy-based monitoring, including:
- Pre-defined monitoring groups and pre-validated monitoring policies that users can leverage. Pre-defined monitoring groups include switch ports attached to servers, switch ports attached to storage, E_Ports, short-wavelength SFPs, long-wavelength SFPs, and more. Pre-defined monitoring policies include aggressive, moderate, and conservative policies based on monitoring thresholds and actions.
- Flexibility to create custom monitoring groups—such as switch ports attached to high-priority applications and another group of switch ports attached to low-priority applications—and monitor each group according to its own unique rules.
- Flexible monitoring rules to monitor a given counter for different threshold values and take different actions when each threshold value is crossed. For example, users can monitor a CRC error counter at a switch port and generate a RASlog when the error rate reaches two per minute, send an e-mail notification when the error rate is at five per minute, and fence a port when the error rate exceeds ten per minute.
- Ability to monitor both sudden failures and gradually deteriorating conditions in the switch. For example, MAPS can detect and alert users if a CRC error counter suddenly increases to five per minute, or gradually increases to five per day.
- Support for multiple monitoring categories, enabling monitoring of the overall switch status, switch ports, SFPs, port blades, core blades, switch power supplies, fans, temperature sensors, security policy violations, fabric reconfigurations, CPU and memory utilization, traffic performance, FCIP circuit health, and more.
- Support for multiple alerting mechanisms (RAS logs, SNMP traps, e-mail notifications) and actions such as port fencing when errors exceed the specified threshold.
The CLI dashboard offers the following:
- Dashboard of health and error statistics to provide at-a-glance views of switch status and various conditions that are contributing to the switch status, enabling users to get instant visibility into any hot spots at a switch level and take corrective actions
- Overall status of the switch health and the status of each monitoring category, including any out-of-range conditions and the rules that were triggered
- Historical information on the switch status for up to the last seven days; automatically provides raw counter information for a variety of error counters
Bottleneck detection integration with MAPS dashboard:
- Bottleneck detection information is integrated with the MAPS dashboard, showing bottleneck events detected by the Bottleneck Monitor as well as transient bottlenecks that are not detected by the Bottleneck Monitor. This enables users to get at an instant view of the bottlenecked ports in the switch, and enables rapid problem resolution.
Proactive flow monitoring using MAPS:
- MAPS can monitor flows that are established within Flow Vision and generate alerts based on user-defined rules, enabling users to monitor and be alerted when established thresholds are exceeded.
Automated migration of Fabric Watch configurations to MAPS:
- Organizations currently using Fabric Watch can automatically import existing thresholds into a MAPS policy, enabling seamless migration from Fabric Watch to MAPS to access the new MAPS capabilities and usability enhancements.
Watch out for an upcoming IBM Redbook that will go into more depth about the Gen 5 switches. Coming very soon !