Cisco lowers entry point for 8Gbps FC MDS switches

By Kevin Komiega

-- Cisco today rolled out the MDS 9148 Multilayer Fabric Switch, a 48-port, 8Gbps Fibre Channel switch aimed at providing cost-effective SAN connectivity for small and medium enterprises.

The MDS 9148 offers line-rate 8Gbps Fibre Channel connectivity in a 1-rack unit form factor and is available in three base configurations – 16, 32, 48 ports. Customers can scale port count through a pay-as-you-grow 8-port upgrade license.

The switch runs the same NX-OS operating system that is common across Cisco's other MDS and Nexus switches and is equipped with a range of features for virtual machine (VM) environments, including the ability to map VM clusters to Virtual SANs (VSANs) while providing services like Quality of Service (QOS), security and performance monitoring to each VM even as the VMs move between physical servers. It also supports SAN features such as NPIV/NPV, FlexAttach, and VSANs to enable VM security and QoS.

Bob Nusbaum, product line manager for Cisco's SAN switches, says the MDS 9148 includes the enterprise class capabilities of Cisco's high-end MDS switches.

"We have taken the enterprise features found in our director-class switches and brought them down into a 1 rack unit form factor. It offers most 8Gbps Fibre Channel ports you can get in 1 rack unit and the same support for VM-aware SANs that we have throughout the MDS product line," says Nusbaum.

Nusbaum says the MDS 9148 can be deployed as an edge switch in large data centers or as a primary, core switch in smaller fabrics.

He also claims it consumes less power than any other switch in its class, making it easier for "the little guys to go green."

Cisco has not released pricing information for the MDS 9148. The switch is expected to be available through Cisco's partners in the second quarter of this year. Final pricing will be determined by Cisco's partners.

Cisco rolled out the MDS 9148 Multilayer Fabric Switch as part of the launch of the second-generation Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), the company's flagship system for uniting compute, network, storage access, and virtualization resources.

The new two-socket and four-socket server additions to the Unified Computing System portfolio offer up to 50% more processor cores, 300% greater application performance, and four times the standard memory footprint, according to Cisco.

The company also expanded the Cisco Nexus switch family with the debut of the Nexus 2248 and Nexus 2232 fabric extenders 10-Gigabit Ethernet support.

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This article was originally published on April 06, 2010