The New Cisco MDS 9396S 16G Multilayer Fabric Switch

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In order to broaden its Storage Area Networks (SAN) portfolio to SMBs and Enterprise customers, Cisco released a new high-density 16Gbps Fabric switch-the Cisco MDS 9396S Multilayer Fabric Switch that focuses on helping customers design efficient IT operations and easily adapt to changing business needs.

New Cisco MDS 9396S Multilayer Fabric Switch: The new versatile and affordable 96 port 16G FC switch delivers industry leading density with enterprise class capabilities and is an extension to the already successful MDS 9148S Fabric Switch.

MDS 9396S switch-Main for...


INTRODUCING …. MDS 9396S 96-PORT 16G FABRIC SWITCH…Industry’s Most Affordable 16G Fabric Switch Family


So why Cisco MDS 9396S? MDS 9396S is being introduced as a response to the adoption of all flash storage and increase in Data Center Storage demand. Additionally, Cisco indicates that their existing MDS 9700 and 9250i platforms now offer the highest performance 16G FICON capabilities on the market and support FICON Distance Extension using 10G FCIP and specialized acceleration technologies.

SMB customers will find they have enough ports to connect all the server and storage ports to a couple of MDS 9396S switches for high availability with room for future growth. While customers with larger SAN deployments can deploy the MDS 9396S as a Middle of Row switch and grow to hundreds of ports with fewer chassis.

Use cases include: shared storage, common backup, security, compliance, consolidation, virtualized storage and business continuity.


“In the past, Cisco MDS products have helped us scale and grow our storage infrastructure with consistent performance and manageability. Going forward, we are excited to see Cisco launching its next generation 16G High-density Fiber Channel Switch MDS 9396S, as it will help us meet our growing customer demand for IT outsourcing services in the banking and financial services sector”– Alessandro Spigaroli, Head of Project Engineering and DC Architecture at Cedacri

Previously available on only Nexus 5600 and Nexus 2300 platforms, Cisco has announced 40G Converged Ethernet support across Nexus 7700 and Nexus 7000 platforms, allowing customers the flexibility to deploy 40G FCoE, NAS, iSCSI, IP-based object storage, and LAN connectivity on a single platform.

Features include:

  • Available on Cisco Nexus 7700 F3-Series 24-port 40 Gigabit Ethernet Module for Cisco Nexus 7700 18-slot, 10-slot, 6-slot, and 2-slot Series of Switches. With 960-Gbps of bandwidth, the Cisco Nexus 7700 F3-Series 24-Port 40 Gigabit Ethernet Module offers the highest Storage Networking Performance for Fibre Channel traffic in the industry.
  • Available on Cisco Nexus 7000 F3-Series 12-port 40 Gigabit Ethernet Module for Cisco Nexus 7000 18-slot, 10-slot, 6-slot, and 2-slot Series of Switches. The large already installed base of Cisco Nexus 7000 switches can now be used to deploy 40 Gigabit Converged Ethernet.
  • Enables convergence of 10/40 Gigabit line-rate storage traffic in a multipathing spine-leaf architecture

Because 10G/40G Converged Ethernet is deployed at the access, 16G line-rate FC deployed on Cisco MDS at the storage core, and 40GE spine-leaf architecture for IP storage traffic, Cisco indicates that their customers can now mix-and-match the various Cisco MDS, Cisco Nexus, and Cisco UCS products. As a result, this allows them to design a highly-efficient unified fabric architecture, which has the ability to adapt to a customer’s future needs.


Cisco also announced new enhancements to simplify SAN management and reduce operational cost. These updates include: End-to-end visibility into virtual servers, compute, network, SAN, and storage environments, which informs IT administrators of the differences in configuration between the Storage Array’s LUN masking database and the Storage Area Network’s zone database. The Automated Path Redundancy feature automatically analyzes, both every 24 hours and on demand, to proactively flag any issues.

Custom Application Port Groups functionality allows SAN Administrators to independently monitor and generate performance reports and threshold-based alerts for user-definable groups of ports located anywhere on the storage network. Additionally, the dedicated hardware-based Fibre Channel congestion detection and recovery logic, which is available across all MDS 16G products, provides precise, fast detection and user-configurable automatic, real-time recovery from potential slow drain conditions in the SAN while the enhancement to the Data Center Network Manager tool allows for monitoring and reporting of slow-drain conditions across the entire fabric.

The Cisco MDS 9396S Multilayer Fabric Switch, the new extended 16G FICON capabilities, and the new SAN management enhancements are slated for July 2015 release. The new 40 Gigabit Converged Ethernet for Nexus 7700 and Nexus 7000 Series switches will be available sometime in June 2015.

Licensing-The following table describes optional licenses that can be purchased to enable additional features and capabilities on the Cisco MDS 9396S.

Optional Licenses

License Description
Cisco MDS 9396S 12-port On-Demand Activation ●  Enables 12 additional Fibre Channel ports (up to 96 total ports on the switch)
Cisco MDS 9300 Family Enterprise Package ●  Includes advanced traffic-engineering and network security features such as IVR, QoS and zone-based QoS, FC-SP, port security, VSAN-based access control, and fabric binding for open systems

●  Licensed per switch for all the ports on the switch

Cisco Prime DCNM for SAN Advanced Edition for Cisco MDS 9300 Series ●  Includes advanced management capabilities such as VMware vCenter integration, performance trending, advanced provisioning, backup, and dashboards

●  Licensed per switch for all the ports on the switch. License is hosted on a server

Cisco MDS 9300 Family Enterprise and DCNM Package Bundle ●  Includes both Cisco MDS 9300 Family Enterprise Package and Cisco Prime DCNM for SAN Advanced Edition for Cisco MDS 9300 Series

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