Image Credit: Wikispeed.org
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 without significantly 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 UCS FI (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 almost 50% 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, this FCoE link is carrying dedicated SAN traffic without requiring any convergence of LAN traffic. To add to that, 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.
And, we have a winner… Read More »
Tags: convergence, Fabric Interconnect, FCoE, SAN, Storage, UCS, Unified Data Center
Continuing the blog series (Part-I) on the production deployment designs and the real-world benefits of Multi-Hop FCoE infrastructure, this blog features University of Siegen, based in Germany.
Before delving into the details, a bit of background – The University of Siegen is a modern educational institution with a strong international profile. Its 17,500 students and 1700 staff are based in eight locations around the town of Siegen in Germany, although more than 11 percent of students come from other countries. The BYOD, e-learning initiatives and other research applications were putting the university’s IT environment under pressure. So, the University was looking to optimize IT services for educational and operational efficiency and as well to introduce the latest technology for future-proofing their Data Center.
Using the Cisco “wire-once, enable anywhere” design philosophy, the University connected the old storage environment, which is based on Fibre Channel, with the new FCoE domain. Cisco UCS server is connected to the Director-Class Cisco Nexus 7000 platform, which in turn is connected via Multi-hop FCoE to Cisco MDS 9000 SAN Director. The newer FCoE Storage array is connected directly to Nexus 7000 for the End-to-End FCoE connectivity.
The benefits to using Cisco Unified Fabric infrastructure were quite significant Read More »
Tags: Cisco Unified Fabric, convergence, FCoE, Multihop, Storage
While FCoE technology has been standardized for quite some time now, most FCoE deployments have been upto the access layer of the network. Multi-hop FCoE deployments are gaining traction increasingly. Many a times, I get asked to share the production deployment designs and the real-world benefits of Multi-Hop FCoE infrastructure. So, in this series of blogs, I plan to share the same. In this blog, the spotlight is on a division of the world’s largest aerospace company, Boeing Defense, Space, and Security (BDS).
BDS provides end-to-end services for large-scale systems and supports a diverse range of customers, including the U.S. Army, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). When the global recession hit the aerospace industry in 2010, BDS came under extreme pressure to cut costs. Dual network topologies, both FC and IP, were adding complexity to the network. BDS needed to reduce the TCO and at the same time increase the network agility, improve scalability and maintain highest availability possible.
As a result, the company decided to adopt FCoE to consolidate its IP and SAN data traffic on a single network. Since 2010, BDS has extended its use of FCoE and is now 100 percent Multi-hop FCoE. BDS deployed End-to-End FCoE architecture with Nexus 5000 at the access layer, the Director-class Nexus 7000 at the Core, connected to the FCoE Storage Arrays.
For BDS, the shift to the new Cisco Unified Fabric infrastructure and leveraging FCoE has delivered unparalleled value to the organization. Read More »
Tags: Cisco Unified Fabric, convergence, data center, FCoE, Multihop, Storage
Get ready for one of the best Cisco Lives yet! A good number of attendees hail from industrial sectors such as heavy industrial/equipment, automotive, materials and mining, and consumer packaged goods (CPG), and they can look forward to some engaging activities not to be missed!
These industrial companies are wrestling with business challenges such as reducing costs, speeding time to market and improving production up-time. How does Cisco play in the industrial space you ask? What solutions do we provide for positively transforming operational plant networking environments? How does Cisco address real manufacturing Industry Care-abouts? Come to Cisco Live to find out. Hear John Chambers tell you more about this year’s event in the video below, then read on!
John T. Chambers, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Cisco Systems Inc., welcomes you to Cisco Live in Orlando
Whether you’re in IT or production and controls, Cisco Live will give you a unique opportunity to gain hands-on insights to how Cisco can help you with these challenges and help positively transform operations for your plant networking environment for the better.
Chet Namboodri – Cisco Managing Director, Manufacturing Industry
Here’s just a snapshot of what you can see for your industry:
Chet will be talking about industrial solutions for manufacturers and their suppliers and partners all who want transparent integration and secure real-time visibility between business networks (information technology) and control and automation systems (operational technology). Amongst them are “Smart Solutions” which provide open-standard, IP-based communication and control to reduce costs, improve up-time, increase asset utilization, and lock-down on end-to-end security.
Read More »
Tags: #cl13, #CLUS, Automotive, BRKIND-1229, chet, Chet Namboodri, cisco live, cisco live #CL13, convergence, cpg, heavy equipment, heavy industrial, industrial, Industrial Solutions, john chambers, M2M, materials, mining, namboodri, Smart Solution, TT-1001
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 than three times the bandwidth of any Director in the market today – providing our customers with a superior investment protection for any future needs!
Read More »
Tags: 16 Gigabit, 16Gb, 16Gb Fibre Channel, Cisco, cloud, Cloud Computing, Consolidation, convergence, data center, Data Mobility Manager, DCNM, Director, dmm, FCIP, FCoE, Fibre Channel, Fibre Channel over Ethernet, IO accelerator, it-as-a-service, MDS, nexus, NX-OS, SAN, Storage, storage area networks, switch, Unified Data Center, Unified Fabric, virtualization