IBM BladeCenter CEE Switch connecting to Cisco switch

While installing an IBM BladeCenter H that had a Brocade Converged Enhanced Ethernet Switch module (IBM part# 61Y1909, Brocade model 8470) I found pretty much zero documentation on how to connect it to an external Cisco switch.  So if you are trying to figure this out yourself, hopefully I can save you the trouble.

On the Cisco switch, I had 2 x 10Gb ports connected to the Brocade.  The config on those ports is as follows:

interface TenGigabitEthernet1/5
 description -- Connected to Brocade CEE SW01 --
 switchport trunk native vlan 111
 switchport mode trunk
 channel-protocol lacp
 channel-group 2 mode active
end
interface TenGigabitEthernet1/6
 description -- Connected to Brocade CEE SW01 --
 switchport trunk native vlan 111
 switchport mode trunk
 channel-protocol lacp
 channel-group 2 mode active
end

I wanted to use LACP to bond these two ports together, partly for throughput (which shouldn’t really be an issue 10Gb networking) and partly for redundancy – as you can see the ports are members of a channel group.  The port channel interface config is:

interface Port-channel2
 description -- Connected to Brocade CEE SW01 --
 switchport
 switchport trunk native vlan 111
 switchport mode trunk
end

Note the native vlan statement – I specifically wanted VLAN1 traffic passed to the Brocade, but the Brocade expects all VLANs to be tagged.  The work-around for this was to create a dummy VLAN (VLAN111) and make this the native vlan.  This then ensures VLAN1 will be tagged :)

Now for the Brocade side of the configuration.  First, the internal 10Gb ports will need to be configured as follows:

interface InTengigabitEthernet 0/1
 fcoeport
 switchport
 switchport mode trunk
 switchport trunk allowed vlan all
 no shutdown

The two external ports are configured as follows:

interface ExTengigabitEthernet 0/15
 channel-group 2 mode active type standard
 no shutdown
 lacp timeout long

interface ExTengigabitEthernet 0/16
 channel-group 2 mode active type standard
 no shutdown
 lacp timeout long

Note you will need to issue a “no switchport” command before you can configure the channel group.  Now for the port channel interface itself:

interface Port-channel 2
 switchport
 switchport mode trunk
 switchport trunk allowed vlan all
 no shutdown

While there may be a better way to do it, this is the configuration worked for me and with the lack of documentation on Cisco interoperability I wasn’t going to burn any more time on it.  I know you can set the Cisco switch to not have a default VLAN, like the Brocade, but this would have meant reworking a lot of the Cisco side of the network which I didn’t want to do.