Continuing the blog series (Part-I) on the production deployment designs and the real-world benefits of Multi-Hop FCoE infrastructure, this blog features University of Siegen, based in Germany.

siegenBefore delving into the details, a bit of background – The University of Siegen is a modern educational institution with a strong international profile. Its 17,500 students and 1700 staff are based in eight locations around the town of Siegen in Germany, although more than 11 percent of students come from other countries. The BYOD, e-learning initiatives and other research applications were putting the university’s IT environment under pressure. So, the University was looking to optimize IT services for educational and operational efficiency and as well to introduce the latest technology for future-proofing their Data Center. 

Using the Cisco “wire-once, enable anywhere” design philosophy, the University connected the old storage environment, which is based on Fibre Channel, with the new FCoE domain. Cisco UCS server is connected to the Director-Class Cisco Nexus 7000 platform, which in turn is connected via Multi-hop FCoE to Cisco MDS 9000 SAN Director. The newer FCoE Storage array is connected directly to Nexus 7000 for the End-to-End FCoE connectivity.


The benefits to using Cisco Unified Fabric infrastructure were quite significant as it enabled the University to virtualize its real server estate while improving the speed of provisioning and scalability. Individual university departments now have the power to provision and configure their own virtual machines within hours rather than weeks. The ability, to allow virtualized servers to be linked to both FCoE storage as well as the old FC world, provided a smooth migration path for the university.  The power usage reduced by about 30%. The Virtual Device Context (VDC) technology enabled one Nexus 7000 physical switch to work as four virtualized switches, maintaining separate logical entities while delivering a 4:1 space-saving ratio in the racks.

“This is a very good example for how old and new things can be brought together successfully. This consolidation has not only saved data center space, but has also brought corresponding reductions in power and cooling costs. We have increased the reliability and the redundancy of our infrastructure and decreased power usage by about 30 percent”

Cisco MDS, with Multi-Hop FCoE functionality, is an advanced platform that has been working securely for a long time and really does the job.”

“It’s quite impressive if you look at the server cabinets. You don’t see that many cables because of FCoE and virtualization. Management has been simplified, and data center vendors have been reduced from ten to two”

– Networking, Server Team 

AwardThis Data Center design also received an award from Future Thinking.  Moreover, this design will also set the stage for private cloud computing, which is planned for in the coming 12 months, and thus enabled the customer to future-proof their Data Center!

More details can be found in the externally published case study. Stay tuned for the information on the other customers in the subsequent blogs…