Basic Dell Powerconnect Nseries iSCSI switch configuration

Recently, I got my hands on a couple of Dell PowerConnect 8132f switches for a client to configure for iSCSI traffic for a 3-node VMware cluster that was being implemented for server consolidation, etc.  I stepped through the basic configuration for the switches for iSCSI tweaks.  Below is a short list of the basics that you need to do to configure your switch to get up and running on the network, optimize for iSCSI and other port configuration such as spanning tree.

To get started configuring, simply connect a console cable (ethernet to serial) to the management port on the back of the switch and use the default 9600/8/none/1 settings to get connected to the console.  By default, there aren’t any passwords assigned even for the enable prompt.  Once you get connected to the management port, you will be able to assign a management address to manage the switch via TCP/IP.


Disable DCB:

no dcb enable

Configure out of band management port:

interface out-of-band
ip address X.X.X.X /24

Http and telnet authentication:

line telnet
login authentication default
ip http authentication local

SSH keygen and enable

crypto key generate rsa
crypto key generate dsa
ip ssh server

Configure login credentials:

username admin password yourpassword privilege 15
enable password yourpassword

Enable iSCSI optimization feature:

iscsi enable
Are you sure you want to continue? y

Configure flow control:

Are you sure you want to continue? y

Configure Jumbo MTU for all ports:

system jumbo mtu 9216

Configure spanning tree portfast on edge ports:

interface range tengigabitethernet all
spanning-tree portfast

Configure QSFP ports for LAG:

interface range yourports
no spanning-tree portfast
channel-group 1 mode active

Save Configuration:

copy running-config startup-config

Firmware Update

First things first, you will need to download the latest firmware .zip file from Dell and then extract on your local hard drive.  Once you have everything configured with the address and HTTP authentication, you can update the firmware via the Web console which makes it really easy.  Simply login to the web console and navigate to System >> File Management >> File Download.  Select the file type as Firmware the transfer mode as HTTP and then browse your computer and point it to the .stk file that you unzipped from the Dell firmware package.



After you select the file, you then click Apply at the bottom right to start the file upload and apply the image.  Don’t worry if this process seems to take a bit.  On my switch using Chrome to connect, it took roughly 3 minutes to upload, apply, and then give me the ok to proceed.

Final Thoughts

The Dell PowerConnect switches are feature rich and really stable switches that can be used for a wide range of roles and they definitely make great switches for isolated iSCSI traffic in a VMware cluster environment.  Hopefully the above configuration information will help most of you get up and running fairly quickly.

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Brandon Lee

Brandon Lee is the Senior Writer, Engineer and owner at and has over two decades of experience in Information Technology. Having worked for numerous Fortune 500 companies as well as in various industries, Brandon has extensive experience in various IT segments and is a strong advocate for open source technologies. Brandon holds many industry certifications, loves the outdoors and spending time with family.

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