Cisco’s Next Generation Storage Networking Innovations

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Cisco announced technology innovations for next-generation storage networking in the early of April. The new storage networking innovations will help customers access, manage and automate this stored data to better enable digital business goals.

With this announcement, Cisco offers storage networking customers 32Gb fibre channel performance across an integrated MDS storage director and Unified Computing System (UCS) fabric, storage networking analytics, and non-volatile memory express (NVMe) over FC support for flash memory appliances. 

“Cisco continues to be strongly committed to the storage networking market, and we are pleased to deliver leading-edge capabilities for the digital economy while also preserving customer investments,” said Thomas Scheibe, senior director of product management, Cisco Data Center Solutions. “With the simple installation of a cost-effective module, customers can upgrade to next-generation storage networks that offer 32Gb fabrics with SAN analytics and flash memory support.”

The announcements include:
  • High Bandwidth SAN for Flash Storage: The New MDS 9700 48-Port 32-Gbps Fibre Channel Switching Module enables customers to seamlessly scale as demand grows.
    • Investment Protection: The Cisco MDS 9700, first introduced in 2013, can now be upgraded to support 32G Fibre Channel with Cisco’s easily upgradable chassis architecture.
    • Highest Density Director: Industry-leading 768 line-rate 32-Gbps Fibre Channel ports per director for scale.
    • Leading Performance: Full-duplex aggregate performance of 1536 Gbps, for high-speed 32-Gbps storage connectivity for high-performance virtualized servers, all flash arrays and non-volatile memory express (NVMe) arrays.
  • Enhanced Server to Storage Connectivity:  32Gb Broadcom/Emulex and Cavium/Qlogic fibre channel host bus adapter (HBA) support on Cisco UCS®.

To meet SAN scalability requirements, Cisco is collaborating with Broadcom/Emulex and Cavium/Qlogic to provide customers with high bandwidth storage connectivity, and is providing 32Gb Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapter with seamless support on the Cisco UCS C-Series.

The 32Gb HBA’s are designed to address requirements  of modern networked storage systems that utilize high performance and low latency solid state storage drives for caching and persistent storage, as well as hard disk drive arrays.

Deep Visibility with Integrated Analytics Engine.

  • With a built-in, high performing, hardware-based analytics engine on Cisco MDS 32G Modules, organizations gain complete visibility across SAN in real time – every exchange, every sequence, every packet at line rate. Customers will be able to analyze in real time FC exchanges and report on various metrics, providing comprehensive and timely monitoring of any potential performance issues in the network to make informed operational decisions.

Increase Efficiency and Simplify Operations

Cisco MDS storage directors and Cisco UCS C-Series servers now offer support for (NVMe) over Fibre Channel, enabling end-users to scale flash storage appliances to achieve faster application response times and better scalability.

  • Multi-protocol flexibility: MDS switches support NVMe and SCSI simultaneously over FC and FCoE.
  • Seamless insertion: NVMe support can be enabled on MDS switches by non-disruptive upgrade to NX-OS version 8.x. No hardware changes are required.
  • Investment protection: NVMe over fabrics is supported on all current and future generations of MDS switches, including MDS 9700, 9396S, 9250i and 9148S.

“As a leading nationwide retailer, JC Penney has significant storage requirements with storage demand growing daily,” said Pavan Kasumurthi, solution architect, JC Penney. “We rely on the scalability and reliability of Cisco MDS storage directors to manage our storage networks, and we are pleased to see high performance 32Gb fibre channel capability on the Cisco MDS 9700 series that can be upgraded with the simple addition of a module, preserving our initial investment.”

The Cisco products announced are scheduled to be available in May 2017.  

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