Key requirements shaping Storage Networks

With Big Data, trends like Internet of Everything hitting the data center and cloud, it is an exciting time for storage networking. These trends serve as market drivers with requirements for higher bandwidth, zero downtime coupled with some top careabouts like multi-protocol storage connectivity, ease of management, fast disaster recovery, low latency at scale etc.






New Cisco Innovations

Cisco has been a strong innovator and leader in this market, and it is time to raise the bar yet again.

Today, we introduce two new storage area networking (SAN) switches to the MDS storage networking family – the Cisco MDS 9710 Multi-layer Director and the Cisco MDS 9250i Multi-Service switch. 



The MDS 9710 provides 3X the performance of any storage director in the market today and is designed with room for growth.

  • Performance with Investment protection: 3 fabric cards are required to support the 384 line rate 16G FC or 10G FCoE ports the platform supports today. As there are slots for 6 fabric cards, the platform can ultimately support 1.536 Tbps per slot, for 24 Tbps of total switching capacity, which will enable it to adapt to support future bandwidth requirements, such as 32G Fibre Channel or 40G FCoE, should the market require it. Importantly, because all Cisco platforms for the datacenter run on Cisco NX-OS software and are managed by Cisco Prime Data Center Network Manager, customers who choose to migrate to the MDS 9710 will be able to use similar processes and procedures, without re-training staff.
  • Resiliency: N+1 fabric redundancy design eliminates loss of bandwidth even if a fabric card should fail; competitive switches lose 50% of bandwidth if a fabric card fails. Also enables N:N grid redundancy… connect to 2 separate power grids to keep operating even if a power grid should fail. MDS supports hitless/non-disruptive in-service software upgrades (ISSU) to keep the platform fully operational, even while performing updates to the operating system (Cisco NX-OS).
  • Multi-protocol flexibility: Cisco MDS 9710 is currently the only available SAN Director capable of supporting both FC and FCoE – simultaneously – in the same chassis. This allows customers flexibility to mix and match,  as their requirements change. For example, the 48-port 16G line card supports 2, 4, 8, 10, and 16G optics.  A customer could choose to deploy a 9710 with 8G optics to support their requirements today, then swap for 16G optics to support higher speeds when their requirements change.

The MDS 9250i is a next-generation storage services switch and is an optimized platform for high‑performance SAN extension solutions, distributed intelligent fabric services, and cost-effective multiprotocol connectivity for both open systems and mainframe environments.

It offers up to 40 Ports 16G FC, 8 Ports 10GE FCoE and 2 Ports 10GE FCIP/iSCSI, all at line rate, a rich set of Storage Services via licensing, including IO Accelerator (IOA), and Data Mobility Migration (DMM).

The MDS 9250i provides unmatched flexibility for Cisco’s Unified fabric as the single platform for consolidating storage services across Cisco’s MDS and Nexus product families. With its multi protocol capabilities,  the 9250i provides the services infrastructure for both FC and FCoE SANs , thereby eliminating service device sprawl in converged architectures.

Addtional Perspectives

Recently I spoke to Rajeev Bhardwaj, VP, MDS and Nexus 7000 product management to get his perspectives around these areas. Rajeev provides his thoughts on a decade of MDS and these new innovations. I will follow-up with a seperate post on this later. Meanwhile, you can watch the video here:

For more information please visit www.cisco.com/go/mds.

Be sure to tune in to an upcoming webcast on this topic, scheduled to be broadcast on May 16.



Shashi Kiran

Senior Director, Market Management

Data Center, Cloud and Open Networking