News Release

Cisco Announces the Cisco MDS 9000 Family of Multilayer Intelligent Storage Switches

Storage Networking Innovations Enable SAN Consolidation and Deliver Lower Total Cost of Ownership
Aug 20, 2002

SAN JOSE, Calif., August 20, 2002 - Cisco today announced a comprehensive family of multilayer intelligent storage switches, which deliver a number of storage networking innovations to customers and will drive SAN consolidation, increase data availability, and allow customers to more efficiently manage their storage resources.

The introduction of the Cisco MDS (Multilayer DataCenter Switch) 9000 Family of Multilayer Directors and Fabric Switches represents Cisco's entry into the large, high-growth SAN switching market, which, according to market research firm Gartner Group is expected to grow from approximately $1.2 billion in 2002 to $4.3 billion in 2006. Please see today's related announcements at

The Cisco MDS 9000 Family consists of the Cisco MDS 9500 Series of Multilayer Directors and the Cisco MDS 9216 Multilayer Fabric Switch. The multilayer intelligence these products offer include:

  • Multiprotocol Support: Fibre Channel, iSCSI, and FCIP
  • Intelligent Network Services: Services such as traffic management, security and integrated diagnostics that introduce similar levels of network scalability and resiliency to storage networking that Cisco introduced to IP networking.
  • Intelligent Storage Services: Open platform for hosting third-party storage applications such as network-based virtualization.
  • Unified Storage Management: Embedded fabric management and open application platform interface (API) for integration with leading SAN management and network system management platforms.

These innovations are essential to increase SAN scalability and allow customers to realize significant financial and operational benefits.

Sprint, the global communications company serving more than 26 million business and residential customers in over 70 countries, is one of several companies participating in testing the Cisco MDS 9000. Not only is Sprint evaluating the switches for deployment within its own internal IT infrastructure, it will also evaluate the possibility of deploying the Cisco MDS 9000 as the foundation of its revenue-generating managed storage services offering to its enterprise customers.

"As a way to better meet the storage management requirements of our internal users and our customers, Sprint shares Cisco's vision for the need to incorporate more intelligent services into storage networks that will make them easier to scale, more efficient to manage, and less costly to own," said Charles Warren, director of Sprint's Service Technologies Lab, the company's testing organization for both internal and customer-facing IT infrastructures. "We will run the Cisco MDS 9000 through a demanding set of testing criteria to ensure it meets our performance requirements but, more importantly, can deliver on the value that its intelligent networking and storage services are intended to provide."

Comprehensive Scalability, Performance, Security, and Intelligence

The Cisco MDS 9500 Multilayer Director Series is fully modular and will be available in six, nine, and 13-slot versions, the Cisco MDS 9506, 9509, and the 9513 respectively. The Cisco MDS 9216 is the industry's first modular fabric switch, with one fixed slot containing16-ports of 1 or 2-gigabit per second (Gbps) Fibre Channel and one expansion slot for additional ports. The three Cisco MDS 9000 Modules are the 16- and 32-port 1 or 2-Gbps Fibre Channel modules and an 8-port IP storage module supporting any combination of iSCSI and FCIP protocols.

With 1.44 terabits per second of internal system bandwidth, the Cisco MDS 9000 Family offers the industry's highest performance in both the director and fabric classes of storage networking switches. It supports up to 256 ports per switch and up to 768 ports per rack, the industry's highest per-chassis and per-rack port density. Additionally, the Cisco MDS 9000 Family improves SAN scalability through support for Virtual SANs (VSANs), which create secured, isolated environments each with its own fabric services within a single physical fabric. This will allow customers to build consolidated storage networks in a resilient and scalable manner.

The Cisco MDS 9000 Family provides investment protection through a common architectural framework in the chassis and shared modules across both the director-class and fabric switches. This is designed to offer a smooth growth path for upgrades and allow customers to rely on common spare parts, further reducing costs.

Addressing security, The Cisco MDS 9000 Family supports traditional Fibre Channel security features such as hardware-enforced zoning and LUN masking, but adds to this with support for the industry's most comprehensive set of security services including RADIUS server authentication, SNMPv3, role-based access control and access control lists, Secure Shell, Secure File Transfer Protocol, and VSANs. Cisco is also driving new standards for SAN security, such as authoring the draft standard for FC-SP, a framework for securing storage network infrastructures.

For management, each Cisco MDS 9000 Family switch will ship with Cisco Fabric Manager, an easy-to-use Java-based centralized management tool that supports fabric-wide and switch-level management features including topology discovery, fabric configuration and verification, monitoring, and fault resolution. It also includes a Cisco IOS-like CLI and an open API to help customers achieve a unified management infrastructure. In all, these features will provide customers productivity improvements, faster problem resolution, and reduced service costs.

"Cisco is entering the SAN switch market with a very feature rich product," said Eric Sheppard, senior analyst with IDC. "End-users of SAN equipment such as the Cisco MDS 9000 will not only benefit from high internal throughput and multi-protocol support, over time they will also benefit from the product's ability to facilitate efficient management of SAN resources."Pricing and Availability

The Cisco MDS 9000 Family system pricing starts at $29,995. The Cisco MDS 9509 Multilayer Director and the Cisco MDS 9216 Multilayer Fabric Switch along with the 16- and 32-port Cisco MDS 9000 Fibre Channel Switching Modules are expected to be available in the fourth quarter of calendar year 2002. The Cisco MDS 9506 and the Cisco MDS 9513 Multilayer Directors along with the 8-port Cisco MDS 9000 IP Storage Module are expected to be available in the first half of calendar year 2003. For more information about the Cisco MDS 9000 Family and other Cisco storage networking products, please visit