For a complex project with many moving pieces, finding the right place to start can be difficult. We want to make sure we have a good foundation so that there will be less stress as we continue to add components. In order to accomplish this, I chose to start with the configuration of the Top-of-Rack HP 5900AF switches.

The 5900AF switches will be connecting to our Virtual Connect shared uplink sets to our provisioning servers and the external servers that run the vSphere and management applications. By setting up an IRF domain, we can insure active/active links from both Virtual Connect modules without looping conflicts.

Using the supplied Serial console cable that came with the HP 5900, connect the RJ45 end to the console port on the back of the primary Switch and the serial connector to a serial to usb adapter(e.g Keyspan USA-19HS). Open a terminal emulator or PuTTY for the correct COM port. After the switch is powered up, press <ENTER> to continue.


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Before configuring IRF, we’ll start by adding a system name, user account, SSH and SNMP setup for HP iMC integration. After using iMC, I like having the ability to quickly visualize all the interfaces, VLANs and link-aggregation groups for the entire network. You will note that a few of the commands I use in the command line are shortened versions of the full commands. Both will work, but it’s much faster to type ‘sys’ instead of ‘system-view’.

After starting up the console will display the current system name, the default being <HP>. To assign a new name we must enter system-view and assign the new name. In this example we’ll assign the name ‘Master01’.

[HP]sysname Master01


Next we configure VLAN interface 1 for management access and configure SSH. This must also be completed in ‘system-view’ as with most configuration changes.

[Master01] interface vlan-interface 1
[Master01-Vlan-interface1] ip address
[Master01-Vlan-interface1] quit
[Master01] ssh server enable
[Master01] public-key local create rsa  (After issuing this command you may enter modulus value or leave the default)
[Master01] user-interface vty 0 15
[Master01-ui-vty0-15] authentication-mode scheme
[Master01-ui-vty0-15] protocol inbound ssh
[Master01-ui-vty0-15] quit
[Master01] local-user administrator   (create user account ‘administrator’)
[Master01-luser-administrator] password simple admin   (assign password ‘admin’)
[Master01-luser-administrator] service-type ssh
[Master01-luser-administrator] authorization-attribute user-role network-admin  (assign Network Admin privileges)
[Master01-luser-administrator] quit
[Master01] snmp comm read public
[Master01] snmp comm write private
[Master01] snmp sys-info version all
[Master01] ip route  (default gateway)
[Master01] quit
<Master01> save


Now that the basic switch configuration is complete we can start on setting up IRF for the two switches. I chose to use Ten-gigabit ports 41-44 on both switches for the IRF group.


[Master01] irf member 1 priority 10
[Master01] int ten1/0/41
[Master01-Ten-GigabitEthernet1/0/41] shut
[Master01-Ten-GigabitEthernet1/0/41] int ten1/0/42
[Master01-Ten-GigabitEthernet1/0/42] shut
[Master01-Ten-GigabitEthernet1/0/42] int ten1/0/43
[Master01-Ten-GigabitEthernet1/0/43] shut
[Master01-Ten-GigabitEthernet1/0/43] int ten1/0/44
[Master01-Ten-GigabitEthernet1/0/44] shut
[Master01-Ten-GigabitEthernet1/0/44] quit
[Master01] irf-port 1/2
[Master01-irf-port1/2] port group interface ten1/0/41
[Master01-irf-port1/2] port group interface ten1/0/42
[Master01-irf-port1/2] port group interface ten1/0/43
[Master01-irf-port1/2] port group interface ten1/0/44

After adding the interfaces to the IRF port group, we must do the same on the second switch along with changing the member number.

[HP] irf member 1 renumber 2
[HP] quit
<HP> save
<HP> reboot

after rebooting…

[HP] int ten2/0/42
[HP-Ten-GigabitEthernet2/0/41] shut
[HP-Ten-GigabitEthernet2/0/41] int ten2/0/42
[HP-Ten-GigabitEthernet2/0/42] shut
[HP-Ten-GigabitEthernet2/0/42] int ten2/0/43
[HP-Ten-GigabitEthernet2/0/43] shut
[HP-Ten-GigabitEthernet2/0/43] int ten2/0/44
[HP-Ten-GigabitEthernet2/0/44] shut
[HP-Ten-GigabitEthernet2/0/44] quit
[HP] irf-port 2/1
[HP-irf-port2/1] port group interface ten2/0/41
[HP-irf-port2/1] port group interface ten2/0/42
[HP-irf-port2/1] port group interface ten2/0/43
[HP-irf-port2/1] port group interface ten2/0/44

now bring the interfaces back up and activate IRF…

[HP-irf-port2/1] quit
[HP] int ten2/0/41
[HP-Ten-GigabitEthernet2/0/41] undo shut
[HP-Ten-GigabitEthernet2/0/41] int ten2/0/42
[HP-Ten-GigabitEthernet2/0/42] undo shut
[HP-Ten-GigabitEthernet2/0/42] int ten2/0/43
[HP-Ten-GigabitEthernet2/0/43] undo shut
[HP-Ten-GigabitEthernet2/0/43] int ten2/0/44
[HP-Ten-GigabitEthernet2/0/44] undo shut
[HP-Ten-GigabitEthernet2/0/44] quit
[HP] irf-port-configuration active

Now we return to the primary switch and complete setup…

[Master01] int ten1/0/41
[Master01-Ten-GigabitEthernet1/0/41] undo shut
[Master01-Ten-GigabitEthernet1/0/41] int ten1/0/42
[Master01-Ten-GigabitEthernet1/0/42] undo shut
[Master01-Ten-GigabitEthernet1/0/42] int ten1/0/43
[Master01-Ten-GigabitEthernet1/0/43] undo shut
[Master01-Ten-GigabitEthernet1/0/43] int ten1/0/44
[Master01-Ten-GigabitEthernet1/0/44] undo shut
[Master01-Ten-GigabitEthernet1/0/44] quit
[Master01] irf-port-configuration active


Following this, the secondary switch will reboot and activate the IRF configuration. The configuration should be saved ([Master01] save) as long as there are no issues. We can now check the status of both IRF member switches.


irf console


In the next section of this project we will be configuring the Virtual Connect Shared Uplink Sets with the 5900 switches and vSphere.


Bare-Metal Project

Project Synopsis

Part 2: Virtual Connect SUS and vSphere 5.5

Part 3: HP StoreVirtual VSA 2014 and HP D2200sb