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Cisco is updating its storage networking equipment

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October 20, 2016

Earlier today, Cisco told us it's updating its storage networking equipment to hopefully improve data protection, increase bandwidth and simplify end-to-end storage management. The news had been expected for some time.

Away from the storage industry hype around hyper-converged infrastructure, NVMe over fabrics and persistent memory, the legacy SAN area still has room for a few improvements, nevertheless.

Cisco's news comprises:

  • MDS Directors with integrated FCIP (Fiber Channel over Internet Protocol) for better disaster recovery and business continuance.
  • Nexus 9000-series storage networking switches with 100/50/25GbitE connectivity.
  • A Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) upgrade with end-to-end storage provisioning.
  • MDS and FCIP
  • Overall, FCIP is used to link Fiber Channel SANs across long distances. That way a remote SAN can back up a local one for disaster recovery/business continuance (DR/BC) needs, for example.

    Cisco has a new SAN Extension Module with 24 x 16 Gbit/s Fiber Channel ports, 8 x 1/10 GbitE ports and 2 x 40 GbitE ports.

    This system is backwards-compatible with the previous fifth generation Cisco FCIP equipment, we are told. High-end MDS 9700 directors can use the module to link with another MDS 9700 across metropolitan and wide-area distances for DR/BC, with Fiber Channel and FCoE protocols being used.

    Previously, FCIP services were only offered on the Cisco MDS 9250i. Cisco says it's protocol-agnostic, offering a selection of FC, FCoE, FICON, FCIP and IP-based storage connectivity options, so that customers can select the optimal choice for their environment.

    Against that background, the Nexus 9300 and 9500 switches support Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE). This is being extended to the 9200 and 9300-EX products.

    The 9200 gets 10/25/40/100GbitE support, while the 9300-EX gets 1/10/25GbitE. Cisco says this raises the bar on LAN/SAN convergence, enabling the consolidation of LAN and SAN into a single high-performance network over lossless Ethernet, and it also reduces costs for server network adapters.

    We can't see this significantly enhancing FCoE adoption, however. The Nexus 9000 series products can operate in Cisco NX-OS or Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) mode.

    Source: Cisco.


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