Cisco Debuts 'Pay as You Grow' 16GB FC Switch for SMB SANs

Posted on July 31, 2014 By Pedro Hernandez

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Cisco today announced three new additions to its storage networking portfolio, including a new 16 Gb Fibre Channel (FC) switch that brings "pay as you grow" expandability to SMB storage area networks (SANs).

The new MDS 9148S switch "includes up to 48 auto-sensing line rate 16 gigabit FC ports and comprehensive enterprise-class features, in a compact one rack unit form factor," announced Tony Antony, marketing manager of Cisco Data Center Solutions. In its base configuration, it ships with 12 active FC and can be upgraded in 12-port increments, he added.

The entry-level hardware is also a good fit for tight IT budgets, asserted Antony in a company blog post. "If we compare 12-port configuration against competitive products, MDS 9148S is about 60 percent less expensive and when compared against 48 port configuration MDS 9148S is about 28 percent less expensive," he claimed.

Low prices don't mean cut-rate functionality, he added. Cisco's MDS 9148S "includes enterprise class features like (VSAN, Port Channeling etc.) – with no additional cost for these capabilities."

Moving upmarket, the computer networking giant unveiled a new addition to its flagship MDS 9700 series of director switches for private cloud and converged infrastructures, the 9706.

Connectivity options include 192 16 Gbps FC ports, 10 Gbps line-rate Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), or IBM's FICON (Fibre Connection) in the future "on the same 9RU form factor modular chassis," according to Cisco. In terms of performance, the MDS 9706 can push 1.5 Tbps per slot and up to 12-Tbps in front-panel switching. "It provides 3 times the performance of any compact director in the industry and is also the most reliable compact director with built in fabric, power grid, and supervisor redundancy," boasted Antony.

Rounding out today's SAN hardware announcements from Cisco is the MDS 9700 Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) linecard, extending multiprotocol support to the company's high-end director switches. Enabling the convergence of Ethernet LAN and Fibre Channel SAN, enterprises can enlist the linecard to simplify management, reduce power and cooling requirements, "while maintaining the low-latency, deterministic, and network management attributes of Fibre Channel" and save money, argues the company.

Cisco also enhanced its SAN management capabilities, in the form of hardware-based congestion detection and avoidance on the MDS 9700, for faster and more precise detections versus software. New automated configuration provisioning upon power-up on the Cisco MDS 9148S and 9148 speed up deployments.

Storage pooling capabilities have been expanded with the inclusion automated zoning support for UCS Cloud Director, EMC ViPR, Microsoft System Center VMM, and IBM PowerVC. Finally, the company has improved SAN monitoring in its Cisco Data Center Network Manager product with automated path redundancy analysis, end-to-end visibility into compute, network and storage domains, and a new Switch Health Score that combines all alerts into a single overall score that administrators can track over time.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.


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