Cisco Elevates the Speed and Intelligence of Storage Area...

Cisco Elevates the Speed and Intelligence of Storage Area Networking Family

By Enterprise Networking Mag | Friday, September 27, 2019

Cisco adds 64G, Ansible and analytics support to MDS SAN family to stay ahead of others and be compatible with the next iteration of industry’s FC standard.

Fremont, CA: To support ever-increasing workloads, Cisco has elevated the speed and intelligence of its storage area networking family. The company addresses this need for increased speed by adding support for 64Gbps ready SAN fabric across its 9700 line of MDS storage directors. The MDS family includes the 18-slot 9718, the 10-slot 9710, and the six-slot 9706. The core idea is that customers can upgrade to the new fabric module and upgrade their software to add speed and capacity for high-speed fabrics without replacing the old directors.

The added support for 64Gbps will help Cisco compete more effectively with Broadcom’s Brocade and others, and will be compatible with the next iteration of the industry’s FC standard. The 9700 family’s existing support for non-volatile memory express (NVMe) over Fibre Channel and the all-flash array is one of the key drivers supporting higher speed. NVME is the protocol that can handle the growing world of all-flash enterprise-storage workloads requiring peak performance such as online trading platforms and other latency-sensitive workloads. Unlike other legacy storage protocols, NVMe promises faster performance and higher density.

Cisco’s storage family also supports 16Gbps and 32Gbps Fibre Channel (FC), iSCSI, FICON mainframe access, and FCoE over Ethernet and FCIP (Fibre Channel over IP) protocols. With this 9700 upgrade, users can run concurrent FC-SCSI along with NVMe/FC workloads.

Cisco Supporting NVMe Over FC

Cisco’s SAN analytics program enables customers to troubleshoot storage-workload problems quicker, adding in-line support for NVMe over FC. This program offers visibility I/O traffic between computing and storage infrastructures, including visibility into individual ports, servers, switches, storage arrays, and virtual machines. The information generated by SAN Analytics can be used to maintain the performance baseline. Automated alarms can be made whenever a deviation from the historic trend occurs, resulting in proactive troubleshooting.

In the absence of analytics, customers have to use hard to deploy hardware to capture traps. SAN analytics is in the data stream and is the more powerful way to manage the SAN.

Cisco Supporting Ansible Module

Cisco adds support for an Ansible module on the MDS 9000 family to allow customers to build in automation features in their storage facilities.

As open-source configuration management and provisioning tool, Ansible allows programmers automate tasks such as VSAN configuration or setting up storage zones. It also offers a framework for IT-operation teams to use without demanding programming expertise.

Cisco also offers other open application-programming support, such as OpenStack and Python-based scripts.

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