A couple of months ago, we introduced the new Cisco MDS 9700 Series Multilayer Directors. The new Cisco MDS 9710 Director establishes a new benchmark for performance – delivering more than three times the bandwidth of any Director in the industry.  Since the launch, several of our customers deployed MDS 9710 successfully and reaped the benefit from it.

In this blog, let me share with you on how LinkedIn used Cisco MDS to solve their storage growth needs. Since the company was founded, it has enjoyed steady growth in members and revenues. In fact, based on LinkedIn’s calculations, LinkedIn adds more than two new members per second. This means that the company’s storage needs and storage area network (SAN) are growing fast, and its SAN switches need to keep pace. With more than 259 million registered members, LinkedIn is connecting the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.

 LinkedIn deploys MDS 9710

Business Challenges
With rapid growth, SAN cabling in the data center had become complex because servers and storage had proliferated.  When LinkedIn decided to build a new data center, the company knew that it had to expand its SAN switching capacity in port count and distances by three to four times. At the same time, the new data center was implemented as a wholesale hosting arrangement, which means that LinkedIn pays for space, power, and cooling as they are used. LinkedIn’s goal was to increase its storage switching capacity and deployment flexibility while minimizing cabling, space, power, and cooling requirements.

Network Solution
The team evaluated several possible solutions but decided to stay with Cisco and chose Cisco MDS 9710 Multilayer Directors for several reasons. The Cisco MDS 9710 Director layers a comprehensive set of intelligent features onto a high-performance, protocol-independent switch foundation. Because it shares the same operating system and management interface with other Cisco data center switches, the Cisco MDS 9710 enables LinkedIn to create an easy-to-manage network with high-performance Fibre Channel connectivity. LinkedIn also deployed Cisco MDS 9148 Fabric Switches at the SAN edge. These switches, as well as LinkedIn’s Cisco Unified Computing System™ (UCS®), are used in N-Port virtualization (NPV) mode. The NPV mode greatly simplifies LinkedIn’s management footprint while providing the needed scalability.

“We wanted to move to a core-edge architecture to reduce cabling cost and complexity,” says Christopher King, manager of storage operations for LinkedIn. “We also wanted to deploy smaller, more capable solutions with 16-Gbps capability to prepare for the growth that’s coming.”

Business Results
This is what LinkedIn has to say about business results they achieved:-

“A solution that gives us 16-Gbps non-blocking line-rate performance eliminates any possibility of performance issues and link oversubscription for the foreseeable future,” says King. “We now have a clear path to 32 Gbps and beyond, with high reliability and availability, without having to replace chassis.”

“We are already seeing significant cost savings because of the smaller power supplies in the Cisco MDS 9710 systems,” says King. “Therefore, we don’t need as many power distribution units (PDUs). We can use the PDUs that are already in the rack instead of dropping additional cables.”

Highlights of Business Result

  • Gained 16-Gbps line-rate, nonblocking, predictable performance and high capacity
  • Simplified cabling structure and management to gain flexibility
  • Reduced power costs

Next Steps
LinkedIn expects to scale services over the next few years by deploying more systems to share loads and connections. In the face of a rapidly growing number of servers, the SAN infrastructure is ready.

“We believe without a doubt that the Cisco MDS 9710 is the platform to go forward with,” says King. “We expect it to last at least three years, like our previous Cisco SAN switches.”

Read full casestudy here.

Why you should choose Cisco MDS ?

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 MDS 9710 chassis can accommodate up to six fabric cards delivering:   1.536 Tbps per slot for Fibre Channel   – 24 Tbps per chassis capacity and supports up to 384 Line Rate 16G FC or 10G FCoE ports.  That means you have room  for growth for higher throughput in the future …without forklift upgrades

  • Performance: 3x the Performance with Consistent Operations!
  • Reliability: Industry’s Most Reliable Storage Director ( Supervisors (1+1), Grid Redundancy N+1 Fabrics redundancy )
  • Unmatched Flexibility– Multi-Protocol Innovations   

For More Information

To find out more about Cisco Multilayer Director Switches,  visit www.cisco.com/go/mds

To learn more about LinkedIn, visit www.linkedin.com/company/linkedin.

To read full case study : http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns340/ns517/ns224/mds-linkedin-cs-11_08_13.pdf

Tony Antony
Sr Marketing Manager
Datacenter and Cloud Products and Solutions Marketing




Tony Antony