In order to be more responsive in a highly competitive marketplace, organizations are transforming to support the 21st century needs by being more agile and efficient in delivering centralized applications and services to a geographically distributed customer base. To accomplish these goals, organizations are consolidating data centers, adding virtualization technologies, and leveraging cloud architectures. These initiatives however, along with others, are imposing significant strain on storage networks. The following discusses how Krones uses Cisco technologies to improve storage infrastructure uptime, performance, and scalability.
KRONES AG, headquartered in Neutraubling, Germany, plans, develops, and builds manufacturing plants and machinery for companies that require advanced process, bottling, and packaging technology. The company produces the machines that make millions of bottles, cans, and specialty containers daily for producers of beer, soft drinks, wine, sparkling wine, spirits, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics while accelerating mass production. It also provides logistics and IT solutions for its customers.
Krones’ manufacturing and services rely on three data centers to support business-critical production systems including SAP, databases, Microsoft Exchange, EMC storage, and VMware virtualization. Two data centers are deployed in an active-active configuration, and the third is used for control, backup, and recovery.
All three data centers connect over a Fibre Channel fabric. Krones has 1200 virtual machines and 200 physical servers, including Cisco UCS® servers in conjunction with EMC VPLEX virtualized, EMC VMAX, and EMC VNX hybrid flash storage.
During a typical day, the three facilities handle 3.5 petabytes of data and serve up to 13,000 users.
- Improve virtual machine load balancing and performance
- Reduce downtime due to high error rates and broken links
- Gain SAN management self-sufficiency
After comparing SAN switching solutions from two vendors, Krones chose
- Cisco MDS 9706 Multilayer Directors
- Cisco MDS 9148S Multilayer Fabric Switch
- Cisco Prime Data Center Network Manager
The Cisco MDS 9706 Multilayer Director addresses the stringent requirements of large virtualized data center storage environments. They chose the Cisco MDS 9148s Multilayer Fabric Switches at the SAN edge as a high-performance, flexible Fibre Channel switch platform. It offers high density with up to 48 line-rate 16-Gbps ports in just one rack unit (1RU) and the industry’s lowest power consumption. With Cisco Prime Data Center Network Manager, Krones gained enhanced visibility into the SAN to identify and remedy bottlenecks, enhance link utilization, and analyze events to optimize performance.
“We no longer experience errors or unbalanced links. Every link to the SAN fabric carries the same bandwidth, and all deliver outstanding performance.”
Michael Wein, System Administrator, KRONES AG
- Gained significantly improved performance and uptime with 16-Gbps capacity across all nonblocking ports
- Eliminated downtime due to broken cables or links through stateful failover
- Gained visibility into the SAN environment and simplified management with a common operating system and Cisco Prime Data Center Network Manager
Krones dramatically improved failure handling with the new solutions. In the rare event that a supervisor module is reset, the active and standby Cisco MDS 9700 Series Supervisor Modules are synchronized, helping ensure stateful failover with no traffic disruption. The Supervisor Modules also automatically restart failed processes.
Nonblocking 16-Gbps ports are fully utilized for high scalability, and Krones looks forward to upgrading to 32-Gbps line cards for all ports in the future. In addition, one of the most significant benefits of the MDS 9706 and MDS 9148 is the ability to aggregate links and optimize bandwidth utilization.
Krones was able to optimize Virtual Machine Load Balancing and dramatically increase SAN Performance by implementing Cisco solutions. As Krones moves forward with its new SAN switches, it is ready to handle the most demanding virtual environments and production-critical applications.
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