The evolution of Ethernet Local Area Networks (LAN) and Fibre Channel (FC) Storage Area Networks (SAN) convergence continues with the release of NX-OS 9.3.5 just this week. The release introduces Fibre Channel (FC) and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) N-Port Virtualization (NPV) capability on the Nexus 93360YC-FX2, the latest 2RU member of the Nexus 9300 Fixed Switch portfolio. The Nexus 93180YC-FX, the 1RU companion, already has support for FC and FCoE NPV, as well as FC and FCoE Fibre Channel Forwarding (FCF) capability.
The Evolution of Unified Data Center Network Architectures
In enterprise data centers, compute nodes are typically interconnected with Ethernet LAN while storage nodes or arrays are traditionally connected to compute with Fibre Channel SAN. Over the years, technologies like FCoE and iSCSI have provided options to do away with the need to invest in two separate networks. However, there are still a substantial number of enterprise applications that depend on FC access to storage arrays for performance needs. The Nexus 9300 Series’ ability to support both Ethernet and FC either natively or through FCoE drives significant cost benefits to enterprise data center customer, while streamlining networking infrastructure purchase decisions.
Ethernet LAN in the data center has evolved greatly over the last decade. This is driven by the introduction of data center fabrics running VXLAN and new hardware and software telemetry, revolutionizing network management and monitoring and making them more automated functions. Customers want to leverage these capabilities in modern networks, while making sure that their Ethernet LAN can evolve from 1G/10G, to 10G/25G, with 40G/100G in the future. And at the same time, prepare for FC SAN connections to storage arrays evolving with faster industry standards of 32G FC and future evolutions in 64G FC and 128G FC in the pipeline.
Setting the Stage for Migration
With this new introduction and the subsequent support of FC and FCoE Fibre Channel Forwarding (FCF) on Nexus 93360YC-FX2 in an upcoming release, the stage is set for migration. Converged network customers running earlier generation Nexus 5548 and 5596 switches, as well as Nexus 5672 and 56128 switches running FC or FCoE in NPV or FCF mode, can now migrate to the latest and greatest Nexus 9300 Cloud Scale switches.
The Cisco Nexus 9300 Series includes Nexus 93180YC-FX in 1RU form factor and the Nexus 93360YC-FX2 in 2RU form factor, both will support FC and FCoE protocols in NPV and FCF modes. In addition, there are also Nexus 9500 Series line cards which support FCoE NPV. The upstream SAN core switch will typically be Cisco MDS in most deployments.
Is It Time to Migrate?
Calling all Nexus 5500 and Nexus 5600 customers: the time is right to start a successful migration of your installed base to the Nexus 9300 Series. Unified data center LAN/SAN management is one of many important factors to consider when making a network infrastructure investment. Cisco innovations are ready to help you grow, consolidate, scale and adapt.
Looking for innovative SAN management? There are 3 reasons why Cisco MDS is the best choice.