Topics: AIX, Networking, System Admin

As an AIX admin, you may not always know what switches a certain server is connected to. If you have Cisco switches, here's an interesting method to identify the switch your server is connected to.

First, run ifconfig to look up the interfaces that are in use:

# ifconfig -a | grep en | grep UP | cut -f1 -d:
en0
en4
en8

Okay, so on this system, you have interfaces en0, en4 and en8 active. So, if you want to determine the switch en4 is connected to, run this command:

# tcpdump -nn -v -i en4 -s 1500 -c 1 'ether[20:2] == 0x2000'
tcpdump: listening on en4, link-type 1, capture size 1500 bytes

After a while, it will display the following information:

11:40:14.176810 CDP v2, ttl: 180s, checksum: 692 (unverified)
   Device-ID (0x01), length: 22 bytes: 'switch1.host.com'
   Version String (0x05), length: 263 bytes:
   Cisco IOS Software, Catalyst 4500 L3 Switch Software 
      (cat4500e-IPBASEK9-M), Version 12.2(52)XO, RELEASE SOFTWARE
   Technical Support: http://www.cisco.com/techsupport
   Copyright (c) 1986-2009 by Cisco Systems, Inc.
   Compiled Sun 17-May-09 18:51 by prod_rel_team
   Platform (0x06), length: 16 bytes: 'cisco WS-C4506-E'
   Address (0x02), length: 13 bytes: IPv4 (1) 111.22.33.44
   Port-ID (0x03), length: 18 bytes: 'GigabitEthernet2/7'
   Capability (0x04), length: 4 bytes: (0x00000029): 
      Router, L2 Switch, IGMP snooping
   VTP Management Domain (0x09), length: 2 bytes: ''''
   Native VLAN ID (0x0a), length: 2 bytes: 970
   Duplex (0x0b), length: 1 byte: full
   Management Addresses (0x16), length: 13 bytes: IPv4 (1) 
      111.22.33.44
   unknown field type (0x1a), length: 12 bytes:
      0x0000:  0000 0001 0000 0000 ffff ffff
47 packets received by filter
0 packets dropped by kernel

Note here that this will only work on Cisco switches, as it uses the Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP).

The output above will help you determine, that en4 is connected to a network switch called 'switch1.host.com', with IP address '111.22.33.44', and that it is connected to port 'GigabitEthernet2/7' (most likely port 7 on blade 2 of this switch).

If you're running the same command on an Etherchannelled interface, keep in mind that it will only display the information of the active interface in the Etherchannel configuration. You may have to fail over the Etherchannel to a backup adapter, to determine the switch information for the backup adapter in the Etherchannel configuration.

If your LPAR has virtual Ethernet adapters, this will not work (the command will just hang). Instead, run the command on the VIOS instead.

Also note that you may need to run the command a couple of times, for tcpdump to discover the necessary information.

Another interesting way to use tcpdump is to discover what VLAN an network interface is connected to. For example, if you have 2 interfaces on an AIX system, and you would want to configure them in an Etherchannel, or you would want to use one of them as a production interface, and another as a standby interface. In that case, it is important to know that both interfaces are within the same VLAN. Obviously, you can ask your network team to validate, but it is also good to be able to validate on the host side. Also, you can just configure an IP address on it, and see if it will work. But for production systems, that may not always be possible.

The trick basically is, to run tcpdump on an interface, and check what network traffic can be discovered. For example, if you have 2 network interfaces, like these:

# netstat -ni | grep en[0,1]
en0 1500 link#2    0.21.5e.c0.d0.12 1426632806  0 86513680  0  0
en0 1500 10.27.18  10.27.18.64      1426632806  0 86513680  0  0
en1 1500 link#3    0.21.5e.c0.d0.13   20198022  0  7426576  0  0
en1 1500 10.27.130 10.27.130.10       20198022  0  7426576  0  0

In this case, interface en0 uses IP address 10.27.18.64, and is within the 10.27.18.x subnet. Interface en1 uses IP address 10.27.130.10, and is within the 10.27.130.x subnet (assuming both interfaces use a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0).

Now, if en0 is a production interface, and you would like to confirm that en1, the standby interface, can be used to fail over the production interface to, then you need to know that both of the interfaces are within the same VLAN. To determine that, for en1, run tcpdump, and check if any network traffic in the 10.27.18 subnet (used by en0) can be seen (press CTRL-C after seeing any such network traffic, to cancel the tcpdump command):

# tcpdump -i en1 -qn net 10.27.18
tcpdump: verbose output suppressed, 
use -v or -vv for full protocol decode
listening on en1, link-type 1, capture size 96 bytes
07:27:25.842887 ARP, Request who-has 10.27.18.136
   (ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff) tell 10.27.18.2, length 46
07:27:25.846134 ARP, Request who-has 10.27.18.135 
   (ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff) tell 10.27.18.2, length 46
07:27:25.917068 IP 10.27.18.2.1985 > 224.0.0.2.1985: UDP, length 20
07:27:25.931376 IP 10.27.18.3.1985 > 224.0.0.2.1985: UDP, length 20
^C
24 packets received by filter
0 packets dropped by kernel

After seeing this, you know for sure that on interface en1, even though it has an IP address in subnet 10.27.130.x, network traffic for 10.27.18.x subnet can be seen, and thus that failing over the production interface IP address from en0 to en1 should work just fine.

0 (0)
Article Rating (No Votes)
Rate this article
Attachments
There are no attachments for this article.
Comments
There are no comments for this article. Be the first to post a comment.
Full Name
Email Address
Security Code Security Code
Related Articles RSS Feed
AIX Encrypted File System
Viewed 5596 times since Tue, Jul 17, 2018
AIX Net How to check VLAN ID number on AIX?
Viewed 14865 times since Thu, Nov 29, 2018
AIX: How to manage network tuning parameters
Viewed 3476 times since Mon, Jun 11, 2018
AIX: Remove existing disk
Viewed 2424 times since Sun, Jun 3, 2018
How To Mirror VG and Root VG
Viewed 2858 times since Mon, May 21, 2018
My LPAR always boots into SMS. Why?
Viewed 3387 times since Tue, Apr 16, 2019
Customizing a NIM Client Restore With a Post-Install Script
Viewed 10739 times since Wed, May 30, 2018
Calculate hdisk READ / WRITE throughput (sequential IO) from AIX systems
Viewed 2470 times since Thu, Feb 21, 2019
Working with Virtual media library on VIO servers
Viewed 14027 times since Thu, Feb 21, 2019
Authenticate AIX using MS DC’s kerberos servers (Active Directory)
Viewed 2016 times since Thu, Feb 21, 2019