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Announcing True Director-Class Multihop FCoE

March 30, 2011 at 6:49 am PST

For months people have been asking me what I’m doing, and it’s been difficult to hold something like this under my hat because I’ve been really excited about this.

How the time has flown. I joined Cisco in June of last year, and on my first day my manager told me that I was going to be working on a new product -- an FCoE blade for the MDS 9500 Series Fibre Channel Directors. Read More »

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I <3 Fibre Channel

January 6, 2011 at 4:13 pm PST

I was reminded this week of how much perception is driven by perspective.  In this case, it was because of our advocacy of FCoE.  I was exchanging messages with one individual who interpreted this as an attempt to undermine Fibre Channel (FC) and send it to an early grave.  At the same time I was exchanging messages with someone else who felt we should not be wasting out time on FC and be spending more time and effort on IP-based storage.  Needless to say, I found the contradiction entertaining, but I thought it might be worthwhile exploring these sentiments a bit.

“Doesn’t Cisco want to get rid of Fibre Channel?”

This one is easy--nothing could be further from the truth.  We are committed to FC for the long haul because, simply, our customers are committed to FC. At the end of the day, in the enterprise, FC is still the standard against which other solutions will be judged for performance and availability. Even if customers make the decision to adopt IP-based storage, there is going to be a huge amount of data thats going to stay in the FC domain.  It may stay put or be migrated slowly as part of normal refresh, but the end result is that FC is not going away anytime soon. From our perspective, we will continue to invest in FC as long as our customers tell us its important.  Lest you doubt that, look at the updates to our Cisco MDS family over the last year and also remember that we still sell gear with Token Ring interfaces.

“Why spend time on Fibre Channel protocols?”

This is a fine question.  To paraphrase bank robber Willie Sutton, we’re investing the time in FCoE because that’s where the data is.  One of our primary data center design tenets is a unified fabric at the access layer for its TCO and functional benefits. We are agnostic about how you do that, whether its via IP-based storage or FCoE.  From a practical perspective, as noted above, for most enterprise customers, their data is sitting in an FC domain, so any convergence strategy needs to take that into account. And while the storage folks may not care what we are doing at the server access layer, they are certainly not looking for their lives to be made any more complicated.  Hence, we have FCoE.

At the end of the day, storage strategy shouldn’t be technology-dependent.  The next-gen data center is going to need to support the ability of apps to grab data wherever it happens to be sitting: on IP-based storage, FC-based storage, or in a cloud somewhere, which is what we are ultimately helping our customers prepare for.

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Cisco Customers Named Best Practice Finalists at Storage Networking World

Selected from hundreds of entries from around the world, Cisco customers King County and Almaviva TSF met the stringent criteria defined by Computerworld, the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), and Storage Networking World (SNW) for awards in the following categories:
 

1)  Best Practices in Energy Efficiency, Green Computing and the Data Center:

King County -- Office of Information Resource Management (OIRM) -- Seattle, Washington

2) Best Practices in Virtualization and Cloud Computing

Almaviva Tele Sistemi Ferroviari (TSF) -- Rome, Italy

 About our customers:
King County, the 14th largest county in the United States, used the Nexus platform and MDS switches to build a highly efficient data center shared by all departments. To learn more about how they achieved a green environment, read here.

 Almaviva Tele Sistemi Ferroviari (TSF) is one of the leading providers of ICT services to the transport and logistics industries in Italy.  Alberto Giaccone, head of network operations at TSF, was present for the awards ceremony.  To learn t how TSF transformed its business model deploying Cisco data center best practices, read here.                                                 

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IT as a Service: Building a Partnership Between Business and IT

Is your company’s IT budget shrinking while the IT department is expected to deliver the same level of quality and services? Are you looking for ways to allocate IT resources that are more consistent with business needs? Would you like to improve productivity and efficiency inside IT and reduce IT spending?

If the answer to any of these questions is “Yes,” you might want to consider the merits of moving your IT organization to a services-centric model such as IT as a Service (ITaaS). This is the model Cisco IT is moving toward.

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