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Brocade HBA FC-AL P2P Mode Configuration

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.



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.)

CLI Install

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 Q-Logic HCM
Brocade P2P Mode
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