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Cisco Broadens the Portfolio to Meet Customer Needs – From Low to High

Posted July 31st, 2014 by Mike Jochimsen

Today, Cisco announced that they are broadening their MDS portfolio.  The importance of this announcement is really in the breadth of the offering.  With this new suite of offerings, Cisco has addressed the entry level all the way to the scale-out cloud environment.  This was driven by the explosive growth of storage, led by video applications, the Internet of Everything (IoE), big data and private clouds.

  • The Cisco MDS 9148S Multilayer Fabric Switch starts with a default of 12 16Gb Fibre Channel (16GFC) ports and, utilizing a “pay as you grow” model, scales to 48 ports.  With hot swappable redundant power supplies and integrated fans, this offering brings an affordable, entry level option to smaller SAN deployments.
  • In addition, Cisco announced the new MDS 9706 Director with high performance, high available fully redundant components and a fault-tolerant architecture.  The MDS 9706 is design to seamlessly scale storage deployments for private cloud and converged infrastructures.
  • Finally, Cisco added a Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) module to its MDS 9700 Director class, for the first time bringing multi-protocol support to the MDS 9700 line.  This provides Cisco Director customers with a direct bridge to their FCoE environments.

We have seen similar trends with customers extending the use of their installed Fibre Channel SANs for these new storage needs.  At the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in April, I visited with a number of our FC storage partners who are building Gen 5 (16GFC) flash-based storage appliances to media companies for the creation and storage of 4K and 8K video.  The 4K video format, which offers 4000 pixel-wide output, quadruples the resolution of high-definition video and consumes a LOT more storage.  One can only imagine what the emerging 8K video standard will require. Big data and IoE continue to be hallway and tradeshow conversations, but more importantly customers are actually feeling the impact in their storage environments. These buzzwords simply describe the type and sources of this new data.  Companies are beginning to exploit the value of this data through analytical applications which can combine intelligence with traditional sources of enterprise data.  This drives the big data repository from science experiment to production capability pretty quickly. The need to combine analysis of this new data with traditional data drives these customers to look for way to combine these repositories on their existing SAN. Finally, as customers exploit the promise of virtualization to become internal service organizations private clouds are becoming more prevalent.  Once again, these customers are finding ways to leverage current FC SAN infrastructures as the back-end data stores for their private cloud offerings to their internal customers.  Even OpenStack, which is emerging as a private cloud infrastructure option, provides support for FC-attached storage from Nova compute is available now and the community is discussing support for FC within Cinder. We applaud Cisco for recognizing these needs and extending the MDS product line to address them.  Customers are clearly valuing their FC SANs as they enter the new world of big data and private clouds.  We expect this trend to continue and we will work with the industry to enable it.

Learn more in Cisco’s blog here.

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