Network OS Administration Guide

Supporting Network OS 6.0.1a

Part Number: 53-1003768-04

Access Gateway basic concepts

Access Gateway (AG) simplifies server and storage connectivity by enabling direct connection of servers to any SAN fabric—enhancing scalability by eliminating the switch domain identity and simplifying local switch device management.

On supported switches, the Access Gateway (AG) feature enables you to configure FC ports as N_Ports and to map specific VF ports to these N_Ports. This allows direct connection of hosts attached to the VF_Ports on the AG-supported switch with F_Ports on a Fibre Channel fabric edge switch instead of through ISL connections to a Fibre Channel Router (FCR). These connections can be regular or long distance.

Through the use of N_Ports for direct connection to FC switches and VF_Port to N_Port mapping, Access Gateway provides the following benefits:
  • As ISLs between switches and FCRs utilize possibly limited domain IDs to identify switches, direct connection from AG-switch N_Ports to Fibre Channel switch F_Ports can resolve scalability issues, as the number of Fibre Channel and VCS fabrics grow.
  • Direct connection from AG-switch N_Ports to F_Ports allows greater interoperability with multivendor Fibre Channel fabrics, as connection to these fabrics through an FCR is limited.
  • The use of N_Ports instead of ISL connections to FCRs increases the number of device ports available for FCoE hosts and devices behind LAG-supported FSBs connected to the AG-switch VF_Ports. In addition, through use of N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV), multiple FCoE initiators can access the SAN through the same physical port.

After you configure a switch in AG mode, all FC Ports are enabled as N_Ports. These ports connect to F_Ports on the FC fabric. If the AG switch is connected to a FC switch, the connected N_Ports should come up automatically. Devices attached to VF_Ports come up when FCoE is enabled on Ethernet ports.