by Adam Armstrong

Cisco Launches Several Next-Gen Storage Networking Innovations

Today Cisco announced the launch of several next-generation storage networking innovations. This announcement includes offering 32Gb Fibre Channel performance across Cisco MDS Storage Networking Director as well as across Unified Computing System (UCS) fabric, storage networking analytics, and non-volatile memory express (NVMe) over FC support for flash memory appliances.

According to the recent Cisco Global Cloud Index, the data that is stored in data centers global will increase five-fold by 2020 hitting an estimated 915 Exabytes. That is a ton a data that needs to be accesses, managed, analyzed, and automated in order for businesses to take full advantage of it. The products that Cisco is announces today sets out to do all of the above and more.

The products announced today include the MDS 9700 48-Port 32-Gbps Fibre Channel Switching Module. Cisco states that this new switching module will enable users to seamlessly scale as demand grows. Benefits include:

  • Investment Protection: With Cisco’s easily upgradeable chassis architecture, the
  • Cisco MDS 9700, first introduced in 2013, can now be upgraded to support 32G Fibre Channel.
  • Highest Density Directory: 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 NVMe arrays.

Cisco announced that it now has 32Gb support on both Broadcom/Emulex and Cavium/Qlogic fibre channel host bus adaptors (HBAs). The collaboration between the companies will be able to meet SAN scalability requirements while providing high bandwidth for customers with their storage connectivity. The new HBAs will have seamless connectivity with Cisco’s UCS C-series and will be able to address modern systems using high performance and low latency SSDs.

On the analytics side of the announcement, the Cisco MDS 32G modules will have built-in, high performing, hardware-based analytics engine that, according to Cisco, will give companies real-time visibility across their SANs. Cisco goes on to state that users 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.

Finally, the Cisco MDS will provide support for NVMe over Fibre Channel. This will enable users to scale with flash appliances that could lead to potential performance improvements. Benefits include:

  • 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 generation of MDS switches including MDS 9700, 9396S, 9250i and 9148S.


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

Cisco Systems

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