by Adam Armstrong

Cisco Expands MDS Storage Networking Portfolio

Today Cisco announced that it was expanding its MDS Storage Networking Portfolio with the introduction of two new 32G MDS FC-NVMe switches, updates to the MDS Diagnostics Suite, and simplified SAN management through new DCNM 11.0 features. These new solutions are aimed at increasing storage network performance, visibility, and reducing costs. 

Storage needs and media are growing increasingly complex and powerful. This takes the old performance bottleneck of storage an shifts it over to the network. Having all the NVMe in a superfast system doesn’t give the benefits it should if the storage networking isn’t up to the task. This is where Cisco’s new offerings aim to make a difference. 

For the physical switches, the company is releasing two new 32G Fibre Channel fixed-configuration switches, the 48-Port MDS 9148T and 96-Port MDS 9396T. Both new switches come with FC-NVMe support and auto-zoning capabilities for rapid self-service provisioning. Both are designed to give users better performance and agility. Other features include:

  • Auto-Zoning: Facilitates the detection of new host and storage devices that log into a SAN and automatically zones them without having to do manual zone configuration.
  • Integrated Telemetry: Allows SAN admins to stay on top of all-flash array performance objectives by proactively monitoring workloads to identify issues that could affect I/O performance. Software support will follow in the near future.
  • Enterprise-Class in Fixed Form Factor: Delivers all the functionalities typically only found in high-end MDS modular directors in 1 and 2RU form factors.

For better visibility, Cisco updated its MDS Diagnostic Suite. The recent updates are said to give “fabric-wide” visibility or edge to core of users’ SAN fabric. This is achieved through the new features of Multipath Trace, Link Cable Beacon, and Read Diagnostic Parameter. These features help troubleshoot at the fabric edge to guarantee continuous fabric availability.

Cisco is also reducing cost and complexity through simplified SAN management in the latest version of its Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) version 11.0. Enhancements include:

  • License Management: Provides a new, easy-to-use interface for switch-based license installation, reducing the time to install/ upgrade MDS switches.
  • Device Management: Complete redesign of the VSAN management feature, new Port Channel management and Device Manager Integration within the web user interface, as well as continued enhancements to Fibre Channel zoning management to improve alignment with typical customer workflows.
  • Topology Management: Simplifies end-to-end topology management by including virtual machine manager visualization on the topology within context.

Cisco Network Architecture

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