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Cisco Live US 2014 : Looking Forward to Great Sessions on Storage Networking (FC and FCoE)

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.

BhavinyadavI 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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Storage Distance by Protocol, Part II – Physical Layer

In the last article, we looked at the big picture of what is involved in creating a SAN distance extension. In this article, we’re going to take a slightly closer look at the physical requirements and with luck we’ll be able to clear up some general confusion and misconceptions along the way.

Puzzle Pieces 2There is a lot of information about these different elements available via a quick search on your favorite search engine. What I find, though, is that there is usually very little context that accompanies the descriptions or, at best, the authors assume that you may have more of an understanding about some of these technologies than you do. In this case, if I’m going to err it will likely be on the side of making it too accessible and in Plain English, which is something I can live with.

As usual, this is a mid-level view. There are many deep dives that will go into each subject in fine-toothed detail available on the web, but we’re going to stay focused on what you need to know for extending SANs across distances.

Again, this is a rather long post, but hopefully it will be useful as a reference point for you. Read More »

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Storage Distance by Protocol – FC, FCoE, and FCIP, Part I

A long time ago I got asked to write about how to use Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) for distance. After all, we were getting the same question over and over:

What is the distance limitation for FCoE?

Now, the short answer for this can be checking out various data sheets for the Nexus 2000, Nexus 5500, Nexus 6000, Nexus 7000, or MDS 9X00 product lines. But it didn’t answer the most obvious follow-up questions: “Why?” and “How?”

Problem is, whenever you start talking about extending your storage connectivity over distance, there are many things to consider, including some things that many storage administrators (or architects) may not always remember to think about. The more I thought about this (and the longer it took to write down the answers), the more I realized that there needed to be a good explanation for how this worked.

Red_Propeller_Cap_clothing_icon_ID_407Generally speaking, the propeller spins the ‘other way’ when it comes to storage distance.

To that end, I began writing down the things that affect the choice for selecting a distance solution, which involves more than just a storage protocol. And so the story grew. And grew. And then grew some more. And if you’ve ever read any blogs I’ve written on the Cisco site you’ll know I’m not known for my brevity to begin with! So, bookmark this article as a reference instead of general “light reading,” and with luck things will be clearer than when we started. Read More »

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The Napkin Dialogues: Lossless iSCSI

What do you get when you cross iSCSI with lossless Ethernet? A lot of confusion.

I do quite a lot of presentations regarding converged networks, including Fibre Channel, whether native or over Ethernet (i.e., FCoE), iSCSI, NAS, etc. The hardest part about these presentations are combating some of the expectations that audiences have, considering they may come from server backgrounds, network backgrounds, or storage backgrounds.

Why is this important? Quite frankly, because like fish who don’t know they live in the water, they have come to grow unaware of their own environmental backgrounds. They tend to forget the assumptions with which they make their decisions. Ethernet and Fibre Channel networking people have very different fundamental philosophies about the way their networks run.

In the world of converged networks, this can cause some, er, unintended consequences.  Read More »

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Fixing Stupid, An FCoE Response

I’ve read Henry Newman’s article on FCoE and vendor stupidity three times now, and I’m afraid it hasn’t gotten any clearer for me.

Given the nature of the title, “FCoE Gets Lost in Vendor Stupidity,” and given the fact that I work with FCoE on a daily basis for Cisco, can I help but raise an eyebrow at being called “stupid?”

Okay, okay, so he’s not calling me stupid. He’s talking about the nature of the industry as a whole (I think), and he’s talking about what could happen with FCoE adoption if it’s not handled properly (I think), and he’s comparing the lack of object storage as a metaphor for a lack of FCoE storage (again, I think).

This is not to say that Mr. Newman’s numbers aren’t interesting – they are – but I just can’t help but wonder how he comes to his conclusion about FCoE given that the entire article discusses iSCSI. Read More »

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