Homelab: Graceful Shutdown of Brocade VDX 6730

tl;dr: SSH to the switch. Enter unhide foscmd. If prompted for a password, the default is fibranne. Enter foscmd poweroff and the switch will begin the shutdown sequence. After a few minutes, power must be manually removed from the switch.

My homelab has started growing at a pretty ridiculous pace as of late. I’ve recently changed my physical address with the express purpose of finding a new location with power that is better suited to running my lab environment. Post-move, I’m finding that I still need to be selective about what is and what is not powered on in the lab in order to avoid tripping breakers. I’m learning that it’s difficult to run your own data center when power is not built to accommodate data center equipment.

I recently added a Brocade VDX 6730 to the lab to act as a dedicated iSCSI switch for storage fabric. After some troubleshooting and learning how to configure a Brocade switch, I successfully mounted datastores from my array! This marks the beginning of a new era for the lab!

At some point shortly after bringing the lab live again for the first time in some time, I lost power which took all of the lab equipment offline immediately. Compute and storage came back online without issue, but the new-to-me VDX switch did not survive the ordeal. I found that the switch would boot, but seemed to have lost its’ configuration. I eventually found that the Compact Flash card was in a bad state preventing the switch from booting rendering the new switch useless to me. Thankfully, I was able to replace it with ease.

That said – I discovered a new paranoia. I’ve seen data center equipment survive power failures on many different occasions, but research leads me to believe that this is a fairly common occurrence with VDX switches. I’ve decided to allow the lab to be dormant until I’m able to adequately provide at least some sort of UPS for the lab.

When powering the lab down, I discovered that I did not know how to properly shut down the fabric switch. Documentation wasn’t extremely straightforward about how to perform the operation, either. I suppose this is a switch that goes into production, has redundant power supplies, has a battery backup, and then has redundant power sources. For all intents and purposes, the switch likely is powered on until it reaches end of life.

To power off a VDX 6730:

SSH to the IP of the system and log in with admin username and password. Enter the two commands shown below:

SwitchVDX6730:> unhide foscmd
SwitchVDX6730:> foscmd poweroff

After the first command, you will be prompted for a password. The default password is fibranne. Shortly after entering the second command, the switch will enter a state where power can be removed safely. The switch does not automatically power off and power must be manually removed from the switch.

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