Fiber status view in the web client

Now that I’m getting use to the vCenter web client, one status feature in particular caught my eye. The Fiber channel status. In the web client, you actually get the status of the link whether it is up or down. Wouldn’t it fantastic to see more about the link status like congestion or fabric speed? That info may come from 3rd party tools.

Typically you would check the path policy on a datastore to see if one side of the link is down (or both).  This is something you could create an alarm for in vCenter, vCOPS or even 3rd party monitoring tools.

When checking the C# client you can view the HBA, but it does not give a status on the device.

HBA unknown - client

If you take a look in the web client at the same level view, you get a “status” column for the HBA.

HBA unknown - webv2

In my particular case I found the fiber cards were set to the default speed of “auto”. In this fiber fabric, the blade module was 8GB, the brocade directors were 16GB and the storage controllers were 8GB. It is best to set the HBA to the lowest speed in the fabric.

For a Dell M620 blade, this is how you set the fiber card speed. These options may vary slightly based on your version of firmware.

Enter the BIOS of the server (not the “ctrl+q” during the boot process).

enter bios

Go to the device settings.

configure device settings

You will then get a list of devices. Make sure to update both of the fiber channel cards.

device list

Select the port configuration page.

configure device port settings

The last step is to set the port speed for the HBA.

configure device port speed settings

After you have saved these updates, the vCenter web client should show the status as “online”. Different conditions may exist as to why your HBA is in an unknown state. It could be a bad fiber cable, it could be unplugged or  a link configuration mismatch.

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