Comprehensive Guide: Connecting and Setting Up Fibre Channel Storage in VMware

Step 1: Verify Hardware Compatibility and Requirements

Ensure that your hardware supports Fibre Channel connectivity. Check the compatibility of your Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapters (HBAs) and Brocade Fibre Channel switches with the VMware Hardware Compatibility Guide. Also, verify that your storage array is Fibre Channel capable and compatible with VMware.

Step 2: Configure Brocade Fibre Channel Switch

Before connecting the ESXi hosts to the Fibre Channel Storage, set up the Brocade Fibre Channel Switch:

  1. Connect to the Brocade switch using a terminal emulator (e.g., PuTTY) via SSH or console cable.
  2. Log in with the default or configured administrative credentials.
  3. Assign a unique Domain ID to the Brocade switch to avoid conflicts within the fabric.
  4. Create and configure zones to control access between ESXi hosts and storage targets. Use zones to group HBAs and storage ports that should communicate with each other.
  5. Configure zone aliases to simplify the zone management process.
  6. Ensure the zoning configuration is saved to the switch’s NVRAM.

Step 3: Physically Connect Fibre Channel HBA and Storage

Physically connect the Fibre Channel HBAs on your ESXi hosts to the Brocade Fibre Channel Switch and the storage array:

  1. Insert the Fibre Channel HBA into the appropriate PCI slot on the ESXi host.
  2. Connect the Fibre Channel cables from the HBA ports to the corresponding ports on the Brocade switch.
  3. Connect the other end of the Fibre Channel cables from the storage array to the respective ports on the Brocade switch.

Step 4: Install and Configure Brocade HBA Drivers (Optional)

For optimal performance and stability, consider installing the Brocade HBA drivers on your ESXi hosts. The drivers are usually provided by the HBA manufacturer and can be installed as VIBs (vSphere Installation Bundles).

Step 5: Scan for Fibre Channel Storage in ESXi

After connecting the Fibre Channel HBAs, scan for Fibre Channel storage devices in VMware ESXi:

  1. Log in to the vSphere Client or vCenter Server.
  2. Navigate to “Hosts and Clusters” and select the ESXi host you want to configure.
  3. Click on the “Configure” tab and select “Storage Adapters.”
  4. Right-click on the Fibre Channel HBA and choose “Rescan Storage Adapters.”
  5. The rescan process will discover the connected Fibre Channel storage devices.

Step 6: Present Fibre Channel LUNs to ESXi Hosts

Once the Fibre Channel storage devices are discovered, present the LUNs (Logical Unit Numbers) to the ESXi hosts:

  1. Navigate to “Hosts and Clusters” in vSphere Client or vCenter Server.
  2. Select the ESXi host and go to the “Configure” tab.
  3. Click on “Storage” and then “Add Storage.”
  4. Select “Disk/LUN” as the storage type and choose the appropriate Fibre Channel LUN from the list.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the LUN presentation process.

Step 7: Create and Manage Datastores

After presenting the LUNs, create datastores on the Fibre Channel storage to store virtual machine files:

  1. In vSphere Client or vCenter Server, go to the “Configure” tab of the ESXi host.
  2. Click on “Storage” and then “Add Storage.”
  3. Select “New Datastore” and choose the appropriate LUN.
  4. Follow the prompts to complete the datastore creation.

Step 8: Configure Zoning on ESXi Hosts

To control access to the Fibre Channel storage, configure zoning on the ESXi hosts:

  1. Go to the “Configure” tab of the ESXi host in vSphere Client or vCenter Server.
  2. Click on “Storage Adapters” and select the Fibre Channel HBA.
  3. Under “Properties,” click on “Manage Paths.”
  4. Set the appropriate path selection policy and preferred path if necessary.

Step 9: Monitor and Manage Fibre Channel Storage

Regularly monitor the performance and health of your Fibre Channel storage within vCenter Server or vSphere Client. Use the built-in tools and features to troubleshoot any potential issues and ensure optimal storage performance.


Setting up Fibre Channel Storage within VMware ESXi and vCenter using Brocade Fibre Channel Switching enables you to leverage high-speed and reliable storage connectivity for your virtual infrastructure. By following this comprehensive and search engine optimized guide, you can seamlessly configure Fibre Channel storage, optimize data access, and ensure a robust and efficient virtual environment powered by VMware and Brocade technology.

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