By Kevin Komiega
Cisco recently released a round of software upgrades for its MDS 9000 family of Multilayer Directors that improve data encryption and accelerate traffic over distances for IBM System z mainframe storage environments and open systems SANs.
For mainframes, Cisco and IBM jointly developed Cisco XRC Acceleration, an application that pre-fetches data to increase the performance of IBM's z/OS Global Mirror mainframe-based disk replication software.
XRC Acceleration works with z/OS Global Mirror to move data up to 20,000km—roughly halfway around the globe—while improving bandwidth utilization and decreasing replication windows.
For backups and disaster recovery in the open systems world, Cisco launched the Input/Output (I/O) Accelerator, a SAN-based fabric application that accelerates SCSI I/O and can be extended to either disk or tape, over any transport protocol regardless of the device location.
Cisco also increased the number of devices that can be managed by its SAN Fabric Manager switch discovery and monitoring tool. Each Fabric Manager node now has a capacity of 15,000 devices, and up to 10 nodes can be federated together for reporting purposes. The previous version of the software was limited to 10,000 devices per node.
In addition, Cisco added support for 8Gbps FICON channels on IBM's mainframe systems.
Mainframe and open systems customers using Cisco's 8Gbps line cards can also now secure data through Cisco TrustSec Fibre Channel Link Encryption.
TrustSec FC Link Encryption can encrypt data on a per-port basis to protect information as it travels between data centers. Customers can also choose to deploy TrustSec FC Link Encryption within the data center so that all traffic between switches is encrypted.
All of the upgrades are software-based and part of the Cisco NX-OS operating system. The bulk of Cisco's MDS product line is sold through storage manufacturers. The upgrades are in the OEM qualification cycle, and end users can expect access to the software by year's end.
In related news, Cisco and IBM expanded their OEM relationship to include Cisco's Nexus 5000 Series Ethernet switches. IBM announced that its Systems & Technology Group partners are now selling the Nexus 5000 family. The Nexus Series is comprised of high-performance, low-latency switches that support lossless 10GbE, Fibre Channel and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE).