One of the main themes I’ve been running into a lot lately is the sense of scale. For a while the term actually lost much of its meaning because it has been used to describe any number of systems that happen to be large.
See what I mean? The term is predominantly used as a synonym for growth, and while that has merit it does tend to gloss over some of the nuances of what happens when systems “get big.”
I’ve talked about this before, both in terms of different storage architectures (such as Spine/Leaf with Dynamic FCoE as well as SDN and Programmability, but that doesn’t mean that native Fibre Channel systems are being left out.
In fact, there have been some major improvements in the way that the MDS 9700 series of switches have been able to accommodate bigger scale. And by bigger, I mean by the thousands. This is, of course, just one of the major announcements that the MDS group has made, and I encourage you to read the blogs by Tony Antony and Prashant Jain about their new developments as well. Read More »
Tags: FCoE, Fibre Channel, MDS, scale, zoning
It may sound strange to hear me say it, but when I wrote the previous blog post about Dynamic FCoE I thought that it may get a little blip of attention and then filed away as a “oh, that is cool” little factoid about Cisco’s storage portfolio. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so nonchalant, but I confess I was not expecting the number of questions that I (and other speakers at CiscoLive back in May) have been getting about the technology.
Many questions – including some in the comments of the previous blog – have indicated a strong desire to know more, and they have been excellent and well-thought out. I’m going to try to address some of them in a deeper dive blog whenever I can, in the hopes of being able to address some of the concerns and clarify some points.
We’ll start with one of the biggest concerns – sharing the spine layer for logical separation of SAN A/B, and what happens if one of the spine switches (nodes) go offline. Read More »
Tags: Clos architectures, Converged I/O, Dynamic FCoE, FabricPath, FCoE, Fibre Channel, Load Balancing, Nexus 5500, Nexus 5600, Nexus 6000, Storage, Storage Networking
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)
Tags: 16 Gigabit, 16Gb, 16Gb Fibre Channel, 9710, architecture, availability, best practices, Cisco, cloud, Cloud Computing, Consolidation, convergence, data center, Data Mobility Manager, DCNM, design, Director, dmm, FCIP, FCoE, Fibre Channel, Fibre Channel over Ethernet, IO accelerator, it-as-a-service, MDS, MDS design, nexus, NX-OS, reliability, SAN, Storage, storage area networks, switch, switching, Unified Data Center, Unified Fabric, virtualization
What a difference a networking cable can make in a data center’s infrastructure requirements and costs…especially when that cable uses Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) technology. An industry-standard, FCoE carries Fibre Channel over Ethernet links, which reduces the number of I/O adapters, cables, and switches in the data center.
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Tags: blog, cabling, Cisco IT, cisco on cisco, cloud, coc-data-center, data center, FCoE, infrastructure, IT, it content, virtualization
Cisco Live 2014 is fast approaching in few weeks from now.
This is an important year for Cisco Live as well as Fibre Channel (FC) along with Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) family of products. For Cisco Live : it is celebrating 25th anniversary on its home ground – Bay area, San Francisco. For Storage Market, Next Generation MDS product family lineup with 16G linerate FC and 10G FCoE support has renewed the energy in SAN industry with large customers building Green field Datacenters using new 16G FC and 10G multihop FCoE. This year has seen lot more traction on multihop FCoE; new set of customers now include Aerospace, Financial and Technology solution companies.
More details can be found here under Case studies.
I asked Bhavin Yadav, from the engineering team, to bring his technical expertise and knowledge of the customer’s needs to help us create a catalog of the sessions you don’t want to miss at Cisco Live San Francisco .
“This year at Cisco Live, we have lot more focus and sessions on both SAN technologies -- Fibre Channel (FC) and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE). Once the registration is finished, you can subscribe to the sessions and put it on your calendar as well. The Cisco Live Smart Mobile apps launching on April 28th will also help us drive to the right session using our smart phones.
In April 2013, a little while before last year’s Cisco Live 2013 in Orlando, Storage business unit of Cisco released its next Generation Fibre Channel Director class switch MDS 9710 and Multiservice Fabric Switch platform MDS 9250i. By now, most of us know that MDS 9710 is designed to support 16G linerate FC and 10G FCoE using its FC and FCoE Linecard modules. MDS 9250i is a 2 RU switch that gives us all the flexibility we need in terms of multi-protocol support, whether it is FC / FCoE / FCIP or ISCSI. MDS 9250i has 16G FC Line rate ports with 10G FCoE, 2 x 10G FCIP ports along with iSCSI support as well. This is like a Swiss army knife – you can use it anywhere (backups, storage migration, etc.) for any of the mostly used protocols (FC, FCoE, FCIP, ISCSI) in Fibre channel industry.
This year, we are bringing in more than 20 sessions to the storage track in various flavors, ranging from Learning Storage Fundamentals, Design, Deployment, Operation, Troubleshooting, Best Practice, Migration, etc. Let me highlight some of the important sessions for Storage experts. This will help you quickly identify, reserve your spot and get most out of the Cisco Live 2014 for storage focused technology experts.
Storage specific sessions:
BRKARC-1222 - Cisco MDS9000: expanding the family:
This session presents detailed analyses of the new members of the market leading MDS 9000 family, demonstrating their performance, reliability and flexibility. Topics include architectural design and enhanced capabilities of Cisco MDS 9710 and MDS 9250i, their typical use cases and interoperability with the other MDS 9000 family members as well as Nexus switches. This session is designed for storage engineers involved in FC and FCoE network design and Data Centre storage architecture. An understanding of FC switching technologies and FCoE benefits is assumed.
2 hours Technical Breakout – Presented by Adarsh Viswanathan
BRKSAN-2282 - Operational Models for FCoE Deployments -- Best Practices and Examples:
Converging SAN and LAN traffic onto common infrastructure enables customers to realize significant cost efficiencies through reducing power consumption, cooling costs, adapters, cables, and switches. FCoE/Unified I/O also provides additional flexibility through a wire-once model that allows ubiquitous access to block storage from all servers.. This session will help customers determine the FCoE operational model for their organization to successfully share a Converged Network between LAN and SAN teams. Best practices, case studies, and configuration examples will be provided, based on experiences with Cisco customers who have successfully implemented FCoE. The session covers operational management for FCoE deployments on Nexus 5000, Nexus 6000, Nexus 7000, Nexus 7700 and MDS.
90 min Technical Breakout -- Presented by Jason Walker and Santiago Freitas
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Tags: Cisco, FabricPath, FC, FCIP, FCoE, iSCSI, LISP, MDS, mpls, Multihop, nexus, NFS, Storage Networking