The Future of SAN with Cisco MDS 9710

Jason Gates, Data Center Team Lead, Presidio South
05/13/13 at 07:47 am

We are all anticipating the impact of big data on the datacenter of the future. Recently at EMC world 2013, I had an opportunity to take a peek at Cisco’s new innovations, the MDS 9710. Cisco has always been an innovator in the storage area network market, and it appears this trend is not going to change.

The MDS 9710 provides 4x the performance of any storage director in the market with 16Gb fibre channel ports and supports both FC/FCoE in the same chassis.  Customers will have options as their environment grows without having to redesign the SAN architecture. The 48 port line card on the 9710 offers a full line-rate and supports speeds of 4,8,10, and 16Gb. So if your HBA’s are not ready for 16Gb, they will still be able to auto-negotiate with full line speeds. The 9710 is very similar to the Nexus 7k in terms of N+1 power supplies and fabric modules, which provides the ability to scale bandwidth and power. Each supervisor is dual-redundant for NDU software and hardware upgrades.

Here are 3 feature highlights of the Cisco MDS 9710: 

  • Reliability: Cisco MDS 9710 produces high-quality, reliable switching infrastructure. The directors have no single point of failure which prevents downtime. Since the directors contain individual blades, failed blades can be replaced without causing inconvenient downtime for the director.
  • Latency: In an effort to reduce latency, the MDS 9710 offers a local switching. Local switching reduces latency for devices that are connected to the same blade.
  • Strategy: The prediciton from Cisco is the MDS 9710 will be able to adapt and support future bandwidth requirements, like 40G FCoE or 32G FC. All platforms for the datacenter run on Cisco NX-OS software and are managed by Cisco DCNM, which is very similar to Cisco Fabric Manager for legacy Cisco customers.

Additional Thoughts

There are many new hardware features and capabilities that make the Cisco MDS 9710 a very attractive option for the “green” datacenters and environments with requirements for expanded performance.  IT decision makers looking to build out new datacenters or coming off maintenance for older hardware should consider investing in the future of Storage Area Networking.

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