EMC World was wonderful. It was gratifying to meet industry professionals, listen in on great presentations and watch the demos for key business enabling technologies that Cisco, EMC and others have brought to fruition. Its fascinating to see the transition of DC from cost center to a strategic business driver . The same repeated all over again at Cisco Live. More than 25000 attendees, hundreds of demos and sessions. Lot of interesting customer meetings and MDS continues to resonate. We are excited about the MDS hardware that was on the display on show floor and interesting Multiprotocol demo and a lot of interesting SAN sessions.
Outside these we recently did a webinar on how Cisco MDS 9710 is enabling High Performance DC design with customer case studies. You can listen to that here.
So let’s continue our discussion. There is no doubt when it comes to High Performance SAN switches there is no comparable to Cisco MDS 9710. Another component that is paramount to a good data center design is high availability. Massive virtualization, DC consolidation and ability to deploy more and more applications on powerful multi core CPUs has increased the risk profile within DC. These DC trends requires renewed focus on availability. MDS 9710 is leading the innovation there again. Hardware design and architecture has to guarantee high availability. At the same time, it’s not just about hardware but it’s a holistic approach with hardware, software, management and right architecture. Let me give you some just few examples of the first three pillars for high reliability and availability.
MDS 9710 is the only director in the industry that provides Hardware Redundancy on all critical components of the switch, including fabric cards. Cisco Director Switches provide not only CRC checks but ability to drop corrupted frames. Without that ability network infrastructure exposes the end devices to the corrupted frames. Having ability to drop the CRC frames and quickly isolate the failing links outside as well as inside of the director provides Data Integrity and fault resiliency. VSAN allows fault isolation, Port Channel provides smaller failure domains, DCNM provides rich feature set for higher availability and redundancy. All of these are but a subset of examples which provides high resiliency and reliability.
We are proud of the 9500 family and strong foundation for reliability and availability that we stand on. We have taken that to a completely new level with 9710. For any design within Data center high availability has to go hand in hand with consistent performance. One without the other doesn’t make sense. Right design and architecture with DC as is important as components that power the connectivity. As an example Cisco recommend customers to distribute the ISL ports of an Port Channel across multiple line cards and multiple ASICs. This spreads the failure domain such that any ASIC or even line card failures will not impact the port channel connectivity between switches and no need to reinitiate all the hosts logins. You can see white paper on Next generation Cisco MDS here. At part of writing this white paper ESG tested the Fabric Card redundancy (Page 9) in addition to other features of the platform. Remember that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
The most important aspect for all of this is for customer is to be educated.
Ask the right questions. Have in depth discussions to achieve higher availability and consistent performance. Most importantly selecting the right equipment, right architecture and best practices means no surprises.
We will continue our discussion for the Flexibility aspect of MDS 9710.
-We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit (Aristotle)
Data centers are undergoing a major transition to meet higher performance, scalability, and resiliency requirements with fewer resources, smaller footprint, and simplified designs. These rigorous requirements coupled with major data center trends, such as virtualization, data center consolidation and data growth, are putting a tremendous amount of strain on the existing infrastructure and adding complexity. MDS 9710 is designed to surpass these requirements without a forklift upgrade for the decade ahead.
MDS 9700 provides unprecedented
Performance - 24 Tbps Switching capacity
Reliability -- Redundancy for every critical component in the chassis including Fabric Card
Flexibility -- Speed, Protocol, DC Architecture
In addition to these unique capabilities MDS 9710 provides the rich feature set and investment protection to customers.
In this series of blogs I plan to focus on design requirements of the next generation DC with MDS 9710. We will review one aspect of the DC design requirements in each. Let us look at performance today. A lot of customers how MDS 9710 delivers highest performance today. The performance that application delivers depend
The data center landscape has changed dramatically in several dimensions. Server virtualization is almost a defacto standard with a big increase in VM density. And there is a move towards world of many clouds. Then there is the massive data growth. Some studies show that data is doubling in every 2 years while there is an increased adoption of solid-state drives (SSD). All of these megatrends demand new solutions in the SAN market. To meet these needs, Cisco’s introducing the next generation Storage Network innovations with the new MDS 9710 Multilayer Director and new MDS 9250i Multiservice Switch. These new multi-protocol, services-rich MDS innovations redefine storage networking with superior performance, reliability and flexibility!
We are, once again, demonstrating Cisco’s extraordinary capability to bring to market innovations that meet our customer needs today and tomorrow.
For example, with the new MDS solutions, we are announcing 16 Gigabit Fibre Channel (FC) and 10 Gigabit Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) support. But guess what? This is just couple of the many innovations we are introducing. In other words, we bring 16 Gigabit FC and beyond to our customers:
A NEW BENCHMARK FOR PERFORMANCE
We design our solutions with future requirements in mind. We want to create long term value for our customers and investment protection moving forward.
The switching fabric in the MDS 9710 is one example of this design philosophy. The MDS 9710 chassis can accommodate up to six fabric cards delivering:
1.536 Tbps per slot for Fibre Channel – 24 Tbps per chassis capacity
Only 3 fabric cards are required to support full 16G line rate capacity
Supports up to 384 Line Rate 16G FC or 10G FCoE ports
So there is room for growth for higher throughput in the future …without forklift upgrades
This is more thanthree times the bandwidth of any Director in the market today – providing our customers with a superior investment protection for any future needs!
When The Register published a conversation with Brocade on December 8 about the success of their 16Gb Fibre Channel vs. Cisco’s FCoE solutions, you just know that there were going to be several elements that were going to raise an eyebrow or two. Maybe three.
Personally, I found the comparison between Brocade’s 16G solutions and Cisco’s FCoE solutions as something of a red herring. That is, there are different reasons why a customer would want to use one tool in the toolbox versus another, but they were saying “our new jackhammer is better than their entire toolbox.”
Nevertheless, some people felt that the article was an unbalanced promotion of Brocade’s new toys. I was invited by The Register author Chris Mellor to write a response article, which I did, and then waited for it to be printed. Read More »