When setting up your network environment to work with ESXi software FCoE, follow the guidelines and best practices that VMware offers.

Network Switch Guidelines

Follow these guidelines when you configure a network switch for software FCoE environment:
  • On the ports that communicate with your ESXi host, disable the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP). Having the STP enabled might delay the FCoE Initialization Protocol (FIP) response at the switch and cause an all paths down (APD) condition.

    The FIP is a protocol that FCoE uses to discover and initialize FCoE entities on the Ethernet.

  • Turn on Priority-based Flow Control (PFC) and set it to AUTO.
VMware recommends that you use the following firmware on the FCoE switch:
  • Cisco Nexus 5000: version 4.1(3)N2 or higher.
  • Brocade FCoE switch: version 6.3.1 or higher.

Network Adapter Best Practices

If you plan to enable software FCoE adapters to work with network adapters, specific considerations apply.

  • Make sure that the latest microcode is installed on the FCoE network adapter.
  • If the network adapter has multiple ports, when configuring networking, add each port to a separate vSwitch. This practice helps you to avoid an APD condition when a disruptive event, such as an MTU change, occurs.
  • Do not move a network adapter port from one vSwitch to another when FCoE traffic is active. If you need to make this change, reboot your host afterwards.
  • If you changed the vSwitch for a network adapter port and caused a failure, moving the port back to the original vSwitch resolves the problem.