by Mark Kidd

Cisco Announces Three Additions to MDS 16Gbps Fibre Channel Storage Networking Portfolio

Cisco today announced three new products that will to join its 16G Fibre Channel SAN lineup: the MDS 9148S Multilayer Fabric Switch, MDS 9706 Director, and a new MDS 9700 multi-protocol FCoE module. These solutions can each be managed via Cisco’s NX-OS operating system which is used for the company’s Nexus Ethernet data center networking lineup, MDS storage networking solutions, and UCS compute servers.

The MDS 9148 Multilayer Fabric Switch is designed around Cisco’s switch-on-a-chip Storage Networking ASIC and is intended for entry-level and departmental SAN deployments. The MDS 9148 features 16Gbps of dedicated Fibre Channel bandwidth per port and is offered with a base configuration of 12 ports and a “pay as you grow” licensing scheme for up to 48 ports. It utilizes hot-swappable redundant power supplies and fans and offers Virtual SAN functionality along with Inter-VSAN Routing, QOS, Port Channels, and N-Port ID Virtualization (NPIV). The MDS 9148 also supports automated zoning integration with Cisco UCS Cloud Director, EMC ViPR, Microsoft System Center VMM, and IBM PowerVC to pool heterogeneous storage resources.

The new Cisco MDS 9706 Director makes use of the underlying technology of the MDS 9710 in a 9U rack form factor for space-constrained deployments. The MDS 9706 supports up to 192 16Gbps Fibre Channel ports or 10Gbps Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) ports and will support FICON in the future. The MDS 9706 Director provides 1.5Tbps per slot of switching performance and up to 12Tbps front-panel switching capacity. The MDS 9706 incorporates N+1 fabric redundancy along with hot-swappable redundant supervisors, power supplies, and fans and a front-to-back air flow form factor for hot-cold aisle deployments.

The MDS 9700 Series Multilayer Director is now available with a 48-Port 10-Gbps Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) module to support converged Ethernet and Fibre Channel over Ethernet deployments. The MDS 9700 FCoE Module can be used to provide interoperability between the MDS9700 and Cisco Nexus or UCS Fabric Interconnect Switches. The MDS 9700 enables converged solutions with LAN and SAN traffic via Cisco's massively scalable and highly available FabricPath Spine-Leaf Ethernet fabric.

Cisco is also introducing three new features to enhance SAN monitoring for the MDS family. The new Switch Health Score consolidates all alerts on a switch to produce an overall health score which can be used to restore a switch in the event of a performance problem. Improved end-to-end visibility into compute, network and storage domains is intended to improve planning and problem analysis. Finally, new automated path redundancy functions analyze and help to optimize redundant paths across SAN fabrics.


Cisco's MDS product line is priced and distributed through Cisco’s network of storage manufacturers.

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