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Are You Getting the Whole Picture as you Optimize Application Performance?

As you deploy optimization to improve application performance over the WAN you need to know what kind of results you are getting. To help understand the benefits of deploying these systems you might be looking at reports from the WAAS central manager or to get end-to-end results you might have deployed probes from an NMS vendor. These reports can provide useful insight into the benefits of optimization; however there is more to the picture that you might want to look at. What if you need detailed data for planning, performance analysis and troubleshooting across network elements and you need to save on the costs of deploying these systems?

Nam Report

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Yet Another Industry First Tomorrow?

So Cisco has been on the forefront in leading Fibre Channel Over Ethernet (FCoE) in ANSI standard bodies along with Data Center Bridging (DCB) standards for lossless Ethernet in IEEE. We were the also the first company to productize a FCoE Network Switch for data center by introducing Nexus 5000 in March 2008.

We didn’t stop there, we were also the first company to introduce Unified Network Fabric and FCoE architecture integrated with compute and virtualization with our Unified Computing System earlier this year.

Nexus 5000 has been shipped to more than one thousand customers so far with more than 35% systems shipped with FCoE licenses. Several of these customers have deployed FCoE in production.

While some are trying to come up visions & announcing their future dreams to unify LAN & Storage and others are questioning FCoE technology readiness,  Cisco is busy helping customers make tagible benefits of a Unified Data Center and FCoE a reality working with our eco-system of industry partners.

Continuing on this industry lead responsibly , tomorrow we are featuring one of our valued customer Derek Masseth, Sr Director of IT at University of Arizona to share his FCoE production deployment experience, lessons learned and the benefits he realized.

We will also be discussing our storage strategy, FCoE deployment best practices & roadmap to a truly Unified Data Center to address the current and future business challenges.

Pls join us live for a live Internet TV broadcast

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New Happenings with FCoE

Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) seems to be a popular topic for the last couple of weeks.  There have been a number of useful posts that I have ran across recently that I thought I would share:


  • Nigel Poulton (@nigelpoulton) has a couple of great posts on some of the fundamentals of FCoE technology

  • Mark Twomey (@storagezilla) followed up on Nigel’s efforts with a post on the EMC FCoE Techbook which goes into bleeding-eyeballs detail on how to set up environment.


For our part, we have just posted a new white paper on FCoE Initialization Protocol, which was defined as part of FC-BB-5.  FCoE Initialization Protocol supports many of the same functions as FIP in the Fibre Channel world (Fabric LOGIn, Fabric DISCovery, Exchange Link Parameters) in order to establish and maintain the virtual link between an FCoE End Node and an FCoE Forwarder (FCF) such as the Cisco Nexus 5000 that defines the edge of the fibre channel fabric.  Amongst other things, that lets us build more sophisticated network topologies as we deploy an FCoE based unified fabric.  Up to this point, End Nodes have had to be directly attached to the FCF; however, with FIP, you can have intermediate “passthrough” switches between the End Node and the FCF (as long as they meet certain criteria, laid out in the white paper).  A quick example of where this might be helpful is a blade server chassis, where you might not want the cost and/or complexity of a full FCF in the chassis, but do want a switch that can serve as an FCoE passthrough to properly forward the FCoE traffic to an FCF.




Finally, its nice to hear from customers on the topic. To that end, Derek Masseth, Senior Director for Infrastructure Services at the University of Arizona, will be joining us on a webcast tomorrow to discuss his experiences with deploying unified fabric in his environment.  The balance of the webcast will give you an update on some other goings on with storage as well as some new products on the horizon. 


The Webcast is tomorrow, Tuesday, September 29, 2009, 10:00-11:00 a.m. PDT. It can be accessed at (no registration required, just go to the URL at 10:00 a.m. PDT and select “Play” to launch the live presentation).

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Something big is happening: Calling all fans & skeptics of FCoE

Join us for a live Internet TV broadcast featuring our special guest Derek Masseth, Senior Director for Infrastructure Services at the University of Arizona, who will share his experience how the university united its data center using Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) to create a Unified Fabric.

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Cisco and EMC Raise the Bar for Data Protection

With some recent upgrades to our Cisco MDS family of storage networking switches, I think its a good time to revisit strategies for protection against data loss, since it’s always a top of mind in any data center. While there are certainly a number of ways of preventing data loss, I think one of the coolest is EMC’s RecoverPoint solution.  Moving beyond traditional approaches such as backups, snapshots or mirroring, RecoverPoint uses continuous data protection technology (CDP) to let you roll-back to any point in time.


One of the features I really like is the ability to create application-aware “bookmarks” for applications that are constantly generating I/O, so you can roll back to a point where the application is in a consistent state.

RecoverPoint takes advantage of a Cisco MDS feature called SANTap.  Essentially, SANTap takes each write I/O and mirrors it to the connected RecoverPoint Appliance (RPA).  Because this is done at the fabric level, is completely transparent to the host and because the splitting is done out-of-band, it does not impact availability and integrity of the host I/O or application performance.

In support of this solution, Cisco is introducing the MDS 18/4 Multiservice Module (18 x 4GB FC, 4 x GbE, next-gen service engine) and the MDS 9222i Multiservice Modular Switch (18 x 4GB FC, 4 x GbE, next-gen service engine, 1 expansion slot).  Both platforms are fabric speed agnostic, so it does not matter if the host initiating I/O is 4GB attached, 8GB attached or FCoE attached.

For a good summary of the solution, check out this video featuring Paolo Pio from Cisco and Rick Walsworth from EMC:



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