Mileage (miles per gallon) is one of the important criteria while buying any automobile and once bought, it is highly desirable to hit the maximum advertised mileage withoutsignificantly changing the driving habits or the routes (highway vs city mpg). Well, I have not been able to achieve that yet, so being a geek, I focused my attention on a different form of mileage (throughput per switch-port) that interests me at work. So in this blog, I would explore a way to get more SAN mileage from the Cisco UCSFI (Fabric Interconnect)without significantly affecting the SAN admin’s day-to-day operations.
Just a bit of background before we delve into the details -- The I/O fabric between the UCS FI and the UCS Blade Server Chassis is a converged fabric, running FCoE. The usage of FCoE within the UCS fabric is completely transparent to the host operating system, and any Fibre Channel block storage traffic traverses this fabric as the FCoE traffic. So, a large number of over 20,000+ UCS customers, using Block Storage, are already using FCoE at the access layer of the network.
Now, the key question is what technology, FC or FCoE, to use northbound on the FI uplink ports to connect to an upstream Core switch for the SAN connectivity. So, what are the uplink options? Well, the FI has Unified ports and the choice is using the same uplink port as either 8G FC -or- 10G FCoE. [Note that when using the FCoE uplink, it is not a requirement to use a converged link and one can still use a dedicated FCoE link for carrying pure SAN traffic].
1) Bandwidth for Core Links: This is a very important aspect for the core part of the network. It is interesting to note that 10G FCoE provides almost50% more throughput than the 8G FC. This is because FC has a different bit encoding and clock-rate than Ethernet, and so 8G FC yields 6.8G throughput while 10G FCoE yields close to 10G throughput (post 1-2% Ethernet frame overhead)
2) Consistent Management Model: FCoE is FC technology with same management and security model, so it will be a seamless transition for a SAN admin to move from FC to FCoE with very minimal change in the day-to-day operations. Moreover, if the UCS FI is running in the NPV mode, then technically the FCoE link between the UCS FI and the upstream SAN switch does not constitute a Multi-Hop FCoE design, as the UCS FI is not consuming a Domain-ID, and the bulk of SAN configurations like zoning etc. need to happen on only the Core SAN switch, thus maintaining the same consistent SAN operational model as with just the FC.
3) Investment Protection with Multi-protocol flexibility: By choosing FCoE uplink from the converged access layer, one can still continue to use the upstream core SAN Director switch as-is, providing the connectivity to existing FC Storage arrays. Note that Cisco MDS 9000 SAN Director offers Multi-protocol flexibility so that one can Interconnect FCoE SANs on the Server-side with the FC SANs on the Storage-side.
On September 30th at Interop New York we announced the Cisco Nexus 3100 top-of-rack flexible switches. The show floor was buzzing with the news and the Techwise TV video below with Senior Product Manager, Jag Tamvada and self proclaimed Chief Networking Geek Jimmy Ray Purser discuss details of the switches.
With enough hype to rival even the most popular of Superbowl’s, Big Data experts will converge on New York City in just a couple weeks! But big data has good reason for all the hype as businesses continue to find new ways to leverage the insights derived from vast data pools that are continuing to grow at an exponential rate. A big reason for this is the ability to leverage Hadoop with the Hadoop Distributed File System and MapReduce functionality to analyze the data very quickly and provide incredibly fast queries that, although not even possible previously, can now be accomplished in minutes or less. We’ve only just begun to scratch the surface in terms of the financial returns made around Hadoop and the infrastructure to support Hadoop deployments but one thing we do know, it’s going to be big and it will continue to get bigger!
So how does Cisco fit into this picture?
Cisco is partnering with leading software providers to offer a comprehensive infrastructure and management solution to support customer big data initiatives including Hadoop, NoSQL and Massive Parallel Processing (MPP) analytics. Leveraging the advantages of fabric computing, the Cisco UCS Common Platform Architecture (CPA) delivers exceptional performance, capacity, management simplicity, and scale to help customers derive value more quickly and with less management overhead for the most challenging big data deployments.
Cisco UCS Common Platform Architecture for big data enables rapid deployment, predictable performance, and massive scale without the need for complex layers of switching infrastructure. In addition, the architecture offers unique data and management integration with enterprise applications hosted on Cisco UCS. This allows big data and enterprise applications to co-exist within a single management domain that simplifies data movement between applications and eliminates the need for unique technology silos in the data center. You can also check out my previous blog, Top Three Reasons Why Cisco UCS is a Better Platform for Big Data, to get an idea of what we’ll be sharing at the show.
Have you considered Cisco UCS for your Big Data projects? I’d like to invite you to come and hear more in a couple weeks at Strata Hadoop World in New York City. We’ll have a number of demos and experts on hand to answer all of your questions.
Companies today are facing an increasingly competitive environment and continue to look for points of differentiation in their markets. The SAN/Storage continues to play a vital role in enabling businesses to adopt new technologies and applications to help them grow. Software Defined Storage (SDS) / Software Defined Network (SDN) is positioned as one of the approach to gain efficiency and increase service velocity in the data center. SDS/SDN helps customers to keep up with the pace of change made possible by the virtualization of other data center resources and is a perfect complement to SDN.
EMC introduced their Software-defined storage, EMC ViPR — that offers a revolutionary approach to storage automation and management to transform existing heterogeneous storage into a simple, extensible, and open virtual storage platform.
Cisco is working closely with EMC to integrate Cisco MDS 9000 platform with EMC ViPR Software Defined Storage platforms. Cisco MDS 9000 provides industry leading performance, reliability, multiprotocol storage and supports extensive set of open API – those set of open API’s enable tight integration with EMC ViPR, as a result provide operational flexibility and agility by pooling storage assets, centralizing storage management, automating provisioning and delivering open API’s for our common customers.
To learn more, please view this video – where Rajeev Bhardwaj, Vice President of Product Management of Data Center explains the tight integration between Cisco MDS and EMC Viper and helps our common customers to simplify storage.
We have to propel new use cases for cloud because customers want more than IaaS. And they don’t want to be tied to vendors’ annual product release cycles to get it. But, as they extend cloud-based service delivery beyond IaaS and aim higher in the sky, their heads smack into the ceiling of cloud management. Naturally, they want to prevent the ensuing organizational concussion—the confusion, the fuzziness, the regrouping. So they are turning to Cisco for more flexible and extensible cloud management capabilities. Ask and you shall receive.
In a previous blog I explained how Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) can scale from single to multi-cloud deployments in addition to expanding into the richer application sets. Our support for the why wait if you don’t have to philosophy has created the cloud accelerator program for Cisco IAC. Cloud accelerators prevent those concussions. They are content modules, or cartridges, that insert into the IAC framework. Developers use them to test new application capabilities and deploy them into production, all without costly architectural revisions.
Cisco now gives you two new cloud accelerators: Application Stack Accelerator and Cisco UCS Director Accelerator.
Application Stack Accelerator
This module provides a blueprint designer onto which stack designers create whole application stacks or platforms to their precise specification, allowing consumption through Cisco IAC. This accelerator mirrors the software development process, allowing:
o Blueprint creation
o Blueprint testing
o Blueprint revision based on test results
o Review and approval
o Publication for consumption
An edit-and-copy function is available when hypervisor-specific blueprints are required or new blueprints need to be created with servers in the same network zone.
Cisco UCS Director Accelerator
Managing infrastructure within the whole cloud context is a success factor for cloud. Therefore, this accelerator lets Cisco IAC discover Cisco UCS Director as a node in the cloud and then provision physical NAS storage into an existing virtual data center—specifically NetApp storage. When applications need additional capacity, cloud administrators can add it using the IAC management portal. You will hear about the integration between Cisco IAC and UCS Director and our unified management approach over the next 60 days.
Cisco has transformed cloud management and the new-release waiting game for the better.
Cisco IAC is proving that organizations no longer need to hit their head on the cloud management ceiling and risk concussion.
To learn about Cisco IAC, go here
Click here to learn more about cloud accelerators. First time visitors will need to register.