Understanding the VMAX FA/RDF port numbering

The logical numbering of the VMAX ports (FE, RF etc.. ports on the VMAX-3 and VMAX AFA’s) are quite confusing. It is important as we do the zoning and the host integration for these arrays. And yes it really is confusing, for any storage administrator who is not very familiar with.

This post is an attempt to explain the mapping of physical to logical numbering of the FA/RDF ports on a VMAX system.

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The physical numbering of the SLICs (IO Modules) are as in the above snip and is quite straightforward. The modules are starting from the Slot 0 to Slot 10 with the Management modules (MMCS on the first engine/ MM on the remaining engines) on the left most. Few slots will be used for Vault to Flash modules which will have no ports on them. The slot# and the type of module in it may vary slightly with the addition of compression modules in AFA arrays. The SLICs 2,3,8 and 9 are important from an admin point of view as these will have either FA/RDF modules in. Even though the Back-end modules will have physical ports and will have connectivity, it is not of much concern for an admin as it will be configured during the array initialization.

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Here comes the logical numbering. For numbering a port, we should be aware of the director we are referring to and the slot number for the specific module. Considering the above snip as a single engine scenario, the odd director will be director 1 and even director will be director 2. This will be similar for the remaining engines (e.g., For engine-4, the odd director will be director 7 and even will be director 8 ).

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Now, let us assume the SLIC 2 is configured with FA emulation. The ports on director 1 SLIC will be numbered starting with 1d (d for FA emulation). The port numbers will be 1d4,1d5,1d6 and 1d7. You will have to keep this image in mind or will have to make a note of it to have the logical numbering for each SLIC. For RDF emulation, the numbering will have an e in it (e for RDF). Let us assume, the SLIC 8 is of RDF emulation. The 3rd port (the last port with numbering starting from 0 as in first pic) on SLIC 8 on even director will be 2e27. 2 for 2nd director, e for RDF emulation and 27 is the logical number.

Hopefully that was not that tough and it helped you. You may try various combinations for your practice. To start with, what will be the logical number for an FA port odd director SLIC 8 and port 2 ?

You may find more EMC VMAX posts here. Please use the comments section for any queries/suggestions.


EMC introduced VMAX3 series in the mid of 2014, which is an Enterprise Data Service Platform rather than a storage system. My eyes got stuck on a YouTube video from EMC which shows the 3D view of the components and features.

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I wanted to share it with you, which resulted in this post. Here is it for you…



VMAX3 introduced 3 new models of VMAX – VMAX 100K, 200K and 400K – with the new HYPERMAX Operating System and Dynamic Virtual Matrix architecture. You may read more from the below links, from experts and EMC Elects..


New EMC VMAX³ – Industry’s First Enterprise Data Service Platform – Official Press Release

The VMAX3: Why Enterprise Class is Still Very Relevant – By Jason Nash

EMC Announces Next-Generation VMAX Storage Array – By Dave Henry

Symmetrix offers a new kind of MAXimum Virtualisation (VMAX) -By Rob Koper

VMAX 3 – The all-new Enterprise Data Service Platform..! Part-I – By Vipin V.K


EMC announces its next Generation VMAX Array – By Mark May

EMC Announces VMAX Family Re-architected for Enterprise Data Services and Hybrid Clouds -By StorageReview.com

Just a few posts which I found interesting. You may suggest the links to more value added posts on VMAX3 in the comments section. We will try to add the link here for other’s reference.

You may find more EMC VMAX posts here. Thank You.


Simple VMAX device allocation steps

Here we will discuss the basics of VMAX, a new device allocation to a new host. For a new host, we will have to create a Masking View (we will use MV or View later in this post), which will be containing Storage Group ( SG – Containing all the devices to be presented to the host ), Port Group ( PG -Containing the VMAX director ports through which the host will access the devices ) and Initiator Group ( IG – containing the host HBA WWNs ). Lets look more in to the configuration via symcli.

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Let’s assume we are using Thin Devices with a pool named T_Pool_1 already present in our VMAX.We will create 2 TDEVs devices first. The command will be,

symconfigure -sid 1234 -cmd ” create dev count=2, size=54614, emulation=FBA, config=TDEV;” commit -v

The new devices AAAA and AAAB  of 50GB are now created. Now we will bind these to the pool T_Pool_1. The commad we will use,

symconfigure -sid 1234 -cmd “bind tdev AAAA:AAAB to pool T_Pool_1;” commit -nop -v



Now we are all set to allocate these devices to the server. But it requires the View created. We are assuming the zoning is done and the HBAs are having good connectivity with the VMAX. We can verify this by running the command,

symaccess -sid 1234 list logins -wwn 1xxxxxxxxxxx  # where 1xxxxxxxxxxx is the HBA WWN

If the HBA is logged in, we are good.Now we will create the IG first.

symaccess -sid 1234 -type init create -name BForum_IG -f WWN_file

Where the WWN_file should have the WWNs mentioned in the form,



If we need to a WWN later we can do it by running,

symaccess -sid 1234 -name BForum_IG -type init -wwn 3xxxxxxxxxxx add

Now we have the IG created. The initiators in IG will be listed with their WWN only. If we need to rename to make it human-readable, we can use the command –

symaccess -sid 1234 -wwn 1xxxxxxxxxxx  rename -alias BForum_HBA1/1xxxxxxxxxxx 

The next step, we will create the PG.

symaccess -sid 1234 create -name BForum_PG -type port -dirport 7f:0,9f:0



Now we have the PG created with the FA port 7F:0 and 9F:0 added to it. Now we are left with the SG. We will create it with the devices AAAA and AAAB added to it,.

symaccess -sid 1234 create -name BForum_SG -type storage -devs AAAA:AAAB 

Yes, we have all the groups created. Now we will create the View,

symaccess -sid 1234 create view -name BForum_MV -ig BForum_IG -pg BForum_PG -sg BForum_SG

That’s it..! The view is set with the host and devices added to it.Now the server will be able to discover the devices.

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That was easy, right ? Hope you enjoyed it.You may find more EMC VMAX posts here.