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#CiscoChampion Radio S1|Ep 26 MDS for Small to Cloud-Scale Data Centers

cisco_champions BADGE_200x200#CiscoChampion Radio is a podcast series by Cisco Champions as technologists. Today we’re talking with Cisco Product Marketing Manager Prashant Jain, about MDS for Small to Cloud-Scale Data Centers. Amy Lewis (@CommsNinja) moderates and Patrick Swackhammer is this week’s Cisco Champion guest host.

Listen to the Podcast.

Learn about the Cisco Champions Program HERE.
See a list of all #CiscoChampion Radio podcasts HERE.

Cisco SME
Prashant Jain, Cisco Product Marketing Manager

Cisco Champion
Patrick Swackhammer, @swackhap, Lead Systems Engineer

New MDS products and solutions
How MDS family of switches can be integrated in an automated orchestrated way
Use cases for MDS
What is smartzoning
IO Accelerator

gmitch64 Are there any other differences, or is the 9148S just a 9148 that does 16G and drops 1G?
gmitch64 2G sorry
bwhaynes Just an FYI…see the SAN Innovation Announcement webcast for August 12th
gmitch64 Will the new management features of the 9148S appear on the older 9148 switches? Is it just software, or is it ASIC specific?
CommsNinja Good questions here--who else?
Guest 15 When will Smart Zoning be on the Nexus 5ks? Have a lot of customers using N5ks for FC/FCoE but also some some 9500s/9700s as core but can’t use it
LaurenFriedman I had to step away a bit…. but have we discussed use cases?
CommsNinja Good question Lauren
gmitch64 Didn’t NX-OS come as a code branch from SAN-OS?
Guest 15 Tech Note on smartzoning
bwhaynes A funky little question…Q: Do you have a favourite storage protocol(ie. FCoE, FCIP..)
Swack_ @bwhaynes
gmitch64 FC rules…
Guest 15 some more good info on it -- MDS 9100 Series PDF
gmitch64 poific
Guest 15 What kind of adoption rate is Cisco seeing with FCoE? We try to push this a lot but run into political issues between LAN/SAN teams
chris_nickl i’ve done a few FCoE installs, and so have my other PS colleagues
Guest 15 we have done a fair amount as well but could be doing a lot more if SAN/LAN teams played nice
WackoRobie I missed the answer on the SmartZoning in mixed MDS/Nexus realm.
chris_nickl although these are typically either greenfield, or new solutions being added in and using that as the catalyst for FCoE
prashantjain Catalyst 6500 Series
bwhaynes are terabytes now old school and petabytes are now the unit d’jour? How big are data centres getting these days?
gmitch64 Out here in the Midwest, I’ve still not seen any FCoE deployments -- on a small smaple I admit
chris_nickl TB is still pretty standard, but i am seeing more PB showing in the larger environments.
gmitch64 I think TBs are still the norm… we went from 20TB to 50TB a couple of years ago… we’re upgrading to allow expansion to 400TB
Swack_ wow
gmitch64 of course, I have 80TB in my basement at home
chris_nickl now i will say for anybody in the US, you’d be amazed at the number of Petabytes the DoD branches are using… in fact there are exabytes in some case
Swack_ serious gmitch?
WackoRobie We are FCOE and we pushing a PB.
CommsNinja You can buy that at the grocery store these days. Insane!
gmitch64 @chris and how much does the NSA have in Utah?
bwhaynes I cant wait until we get to yottabytes (did Jim Henson create that?)
gmitch64 @swack Oh, I am serious
gmitch64 quicky puts phone on mute…
prashantjain HCSC
prashantjain Molina
gmitch64 Good call today… learned about smart zoning.. never heard of it before.
ciscokima Nicely done, all.

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Next Generation Data Center Design With MDS 9710 – Part II

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.

Three Pillars of ReliabilitySo 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.


Reliability examples in MDS



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.


Weakest link


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.


Geschäftsmann hat Wut, Frust und Ärger im Büro


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)


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Next Generation Data Center Design With MDS 9710 – Part I


High Speed (16Gbps) and High Capacity (384 Line Rate ports per Chassis)

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

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Introducing MDS 9710 Multilayer Director and MDS 9250i Multiservice Switch – Raising the Bar for Storage Networks

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:


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!

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