Big Data, Video, and the Internet of Everything (IoE) are driving high demand for data storage in today’s IT environments. Today, Cisco announced new additions to the MDS storage area networking (SAN) portfolio, broadening innovation to meet the needs of small SANs and cloud environments.

How much of a demand for storage are we talking about? A lot. According to IDC’s recently released “Digital Universe of Opportunities: Rich Data and Increasing Value of Internet of Things,” by 2020 data produced will grow by 10 times, from 4.4ZB today to 44ZB (yes, that’s Zetabytes, with a Z); 32 billion Internet of Things devices will be connected to the Internet; 40% of data will be touched by cloud; and enterprises will have liability and responsibility for 85% of all data.

In 2013, Cisco introduced next generation SAN innovations with the new MDS 9710 Multilayer Director and MDS 9250i Multiservice Switch, redefining storage networking with industry leading performance, reliability, and flexibility. Fast forward to today: Cisco broadens the MDS portfolio and extends the innovation to small SANs and private cloud by introducing

  • Two new products (MDS 9148S and MDS 9706),
  • New scalable deployment options( Dynamic FCOE)
  • New management features to automate and provide better end-to-end visibility.

      Attend the Webinar on August 12th 8:00 PST to learn more :  Register Now

Explore MDS 9148S with  Christine Rhinehart,  Sr Product Manager


So what is new with CISCO MDS 9148S? : The Cisco MDS 9148S Multilayer Fabric Switch is a new 16G  fibre channel SAN solution for small to medium businesses. It is a powerful and flexible switch that includes up to 48 auto-sensing line rate 16 gigabit fibre channel ports and comprehensive Enterprise-class features, in a compact one rack unit form factor. Priced and designed for affordability and flexibility, it comes with 12 fibre channel ports enabled and can be upgraded as needed in 12-port increments, with pay-as-you-grow licensing. With an affordable price and outstanding flexibility, the Cisco MDS 9148S brings the power of 16 gig Fibre Channel to a new level of value.

How is MDS 9148S more affordable?  If we compare 12-port configuration against competitive products, MDS 9148S is about 60% less expensive and when compared against 48 port configuration MDS 9148S is about 28% less expensive – see chart below for cost savings based on different configurations. As you can see,  MDS 9148S provides superior cost savings across all configurations,  and by the way, the cost also includes enterprise class features like (VSAN, Port Channeling etc) – with no additional cost for these capabilities. ( Note : Price is based on the list price available on the net. Prices include 16G SW optics.)


MDS 9148S

Why should you care?

  • It is easy to use with Automated Provisioning, Quick Configuration Wizard and is also powered by the same NX-OS that powers the entire Cisco DC product portfolio.
  • With a “Pay as you Grow” model from 12 to 48 ports, the MDS 9148S is the most affordable and versatile 16G fabric switch.
  • Hot swappable redundant power supplies and Hot swappable redundant integrated fans are offered for high availability.
  • Provides Enterprise-class features at compelling economic value.

We are also expanding our flagship product line CISCO MDS 9700 Series! Introducing MDS 9706 !  The new MDS 9706 Director joins the industry’s most reliable storage Director MDS 9700 family with high performance, fully redundant components and fault-tolerant architecture.  The MDS 9706 is design to seamlessly scale storage deployments for private cloud and converged infrastructures. Customers deployed MDS 9710 are already reaping the benefits of the platform; MDS 9706 is the new addition to the 9700 series enable customers to extend all the benefits, features and functions of MDS 9710 to a compact form factor and is ideal for virtual, cloud and pod architectures


Why you should consider the MDS 9706 for your next SAN? It is a compact 9 rack-unit form factor  switch, ideal to save valuable data center floor space. It has industry-leading port densities of up to 192 16-Gbps autosensing line-rate Fibre Channel or 10-Gbps FCoE ports per chassis. It provides 3 times the performance of any compact director in the industry and is also the most reliable compact director with built in fabric, power grid, and supervisor redundancy.  If you are planning to deploy pod architectures for cloud and virtual datacenters, where floor space is premium and need the high performance, scalability and flexibility of Industry leading MDS 9700 series then consider MDS 9706.

Multiprotocol Flexibility for MDS Directors: New FCoE LINE Card – Now Shipping)  Cisco MDS portfolio offers unmatched flexibility with its multi-protocol solutions for Fibre Channel (FC), FICON and FCoE, with the Cisco MDS 9700 48-Port 10-Gbps Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) Module. The Cisco MDS 9700 FCoE Module, industry’s highest-density FCoE module available in a Fibre Channel Director, enables seamless interoperability with existing FCoE Nexus infrastructure.


Through deployment of Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), enterprises can converge Ethernet LAN and Fibre Channel SAN – thereby saving money, simplifying management, reducing power and cooling requirements, and improving flexibility; while maintaining the low-latency, deterministic, and network management attributes of Fibre Channel.


Boosting Scale for SAN Infrastructures: Beyond port scale and bandwidth scale.

Ok. So, now we have enough ports and bandwidth. What about support for large number of domains, host and VM’s?  In order to support large cloud deployments, requires supporting thousands of devices in a heterogeneous  physical and virtual environments.  Today, Cisco is introducing new features to Scale-out and Scale-up your SAN – beyond the traditional scaling of ports and bandwidth. So what does Scale-out and Scale-in support really means for real deployments?

Scale-out of large FC infrastructure requires support for

  • Lots of switches – means more  domains to support
  • Lots of  hosts – means lot more  number of zones to support
  • Lots of VMs –  means large number  of  fabric logins per fabric

Scale-up: requires each FC switch to support

  • Lots of  hosts – increase number of fabric logins per switch and per module


Cisco is committed to storage networking and you can expect more innovations to support your next generation requirements.

If you like Fabric Path, how about “Dynamic FCoE” and get all the benefits of FabricPath for FCOE deployments. In simple terms, “Dynamic FCoE “ is the ability to overlay FCoE traffic across spine and Leaf architectures. It dynamically creates the important links between switches (called “Inter-Switch Links,” or “ISLs”), as well as dynamically generates the correct port types, reducing human errors and is easy to scale while even improving performance. Dynamic FCOE makes your life lot easier as far as configuration and management – you can find out more about Dynamic FCOE from these two blogs,  by J Metz  ( What is Dynamic FCOE and Load Balancing with Dynamic FCoE )

Now you may be thinking  – what does this mean for Storage traffic? What about traffic isolation and traditional fail over mechanism of SAN A/SAN B?   Fair question!  SAN A and SAN B isolation is still there – logical separation and redundancy of SAN-A/SAN-B achieved through VSANs in FabricPath. SAN-A/SAN-B not interrupted if a Spine fails – traffic is sent to other Spines. This architeture is highly avaialble, scalable and secure. Stay tuned for more info!




Another example of recent innovation is Hardware based Slow Drain Device Detection and Congestion Avoidance feature that helps detect, identify, and resolve the condition exhibited by slow devices. A Slow Drain Device (any were in the architecture) does not accept frames at the rate generated by the source. In the presence of slow devices, Fibre Channel switches don’t free up frame buffer credits as fast as the network requires, resulting in switch port credit starvation and potentially choking Inter-Switch Links (ISLs). Frames destined for slow devices need to be carefully isolated in separate queues and switched to egress ports without congesting the backplane. A decision then needs to be made about whether the frames are considered stuck and when to drop them. This feature is important especially when you are dealing with large clouds in heterogeneous environments.


For more info read this whitepaper

How about Simplifying SAN Management?

Cisco also introduced new innovative features to manage end to end datacenters. Cisco Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) raised the bar of SAN and LAN management by providing extensive visibility, monitoring and proactive trouble shooting capabilities across multiple domains and multiple protocols.  DCNM new extensive monitoring and visibility features includes End-to-end visibility, SAN Host Path Redundancy, Switch Health Score check



Bottom line

Storage networking is an integral part of over all data center architecture  and Cisco’s unified architectural approach of combining storage, network, compute and management  provide better business advantage due to cost efficiency, responsiveness and overall simplified management and operations.

Cisco is continuously innovating in the data center space and raising the bar for storage networks!  We have strong industry partnerships with EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM, NetApp etc. in order to provide an end to end solution to our customers.   Cisco + partner solutions are not just collection of products, but a well-integrated Network, Storage and Compute fabric infrastructure, that can be easily installed, managed and operated

Please join our panel of Storage experts in an online webinar event, as we discuss how the new products, deployment options and management solutions from Cisco address the dynamic requirements for designing and operating next gen datacenters.

Attend the Webinar on August 12th 8:00 PST to learn more :  Register Now

Tony Antony
Sr Marketing Manager



Tony Antony