Brocade HBA FC-AL P2P Mode Configuration

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As described in Part I of this guide, a client of ours wanted to setup an EMC VNX5100 SAN without switches. The original design specification called for Brocade switches and HBAs, but due to the 3 server count, we were able to utilize the (8) 8Gb FC ports on the VNX5100's Service Processors for direct attachment and postpone the switch purchase.


By definition, a direct connection to a SAN is done via FC-AL (Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop), an aging protocol (as opposed to P2P / Point to Point.) Brocade, being a fabric company, initially did not feel the need to include FC-AL support for their HBAs. After enough user complaints, Brocade introduced the functionality into driver version 3.1.0.


Unfortunately there is no way to switch between FC-AL and P2P modes in the Brocade BIOS. There are two ways to enable FC-AL operation on 415 / 425 / 815 / 825 HBAs.


1) Using the Brocade BCU (in VMWare, for example)

2) Using the Brocade HCM (Host Configuration Manager) in Windows.



Part I: Installing Brocade HBA / CNA Drivers on ESXi Hosts

Part II: Brocade HBA FC-AL P2P Mode Configuration



Part II: Brocade HBA FC-AL P2P Mode Configuration



Download and Copy to ESXi Host

Download the Brocade BCU (Brocade Command Line Utility) for VMWare here:


transfer it to your ESXi host via SCP (just as you did with the HBA / CNA Driver in Part I.)


Install the CLI VIB

At the console (via PuTTY or at the ESXi host), enter the following command to install the Brocade CLI:


esxcli software vib install --no-sig-check --maintenance-mode -d /
(substituting the zip file with current command line utility file.)







Use BCU to Change the Port Topology to FC-AL

Switch to the /opt/brocade/bin directory:

cd /opt/brocade/bin


Execute the following commands per HBA port:


./bcu port --topology 1/0 loop
./bcu port --disable 1/0
./bcu port --enable 1/0



More Brocade Commands can be found here:




If you have a Windows box available (or are not using VMWare at all), you can download the Brocade HCM (Host Configuration Manager) :


Changes made via the HCM are persistent, meaning that a change in topology via the Windows HCM software will be apparent under ESXi as well.


Right click your Brocade 415 / 425 / 815 / 825 HBA in HCM then chose Basic Port Configuration.

Brocade 415 / 425 / 815 / 825  HCM for Windows




On the Basic Port Configuration Menu, select "Loop" under "Port Topology." If you have a dual ported Host Bus Adapter, click "Apply to All;" otherwise just apply to the selected port.


Brocade FC HBA Port Configuration