News Release

Cisco Introduces the Cisco MDS 9100 Multilayer Intelligent Fabric Switch Series

Extends Benefits of Intelligent Network Services to Small, Medium-Sized SANs
Sep 09, 2003

SAN JOSE, Calif., September 9, 2003 - Cisco today introduced the Cisco MDS 9100 series of Multilayer Intelligent fabric switches, which offer IT organizations of all sizes a consistent and seamless way to grow their storage area networks (SANs) over time by utilizing the same set of intelligent network services and integrated management tools available across the entire Cisco MDS 9000 Family.

This level of manageability and investment protection have not been available previously in the storage networking industry as Fibre Channel fabric switches typically have not taken advantage of the same level of intelligence and high-availability features that director-class switches have.

"Because every switch in the Cisco MDS 9000 Family is built on a common hardware and software architecture, customers can maximize protection of their investment as they grow their SANs from the very low end of this portfolio to the highest-end directors," said Nancy Marrone-Hurley, senior analyst, Enterprise Storage Group. "Customers we speak with would prefer a single vendor for the entire storage infrastructure. Cisco now has a wide breadth of products that will enable customers to scale, while ensuring they will have all of the intelligent features that make the Cisco solutions so attractive."

The Cisco MDS 9100 series are one rack unit (RU)-high, fixed-configuration switches supporting 1 or 2 gigabit/second auto-sensing Fibre Channel connectivity and available in 20 and 40-port models, the Cisco MDS 9120 and Cisco MDS 9140. Customers can use the Cisco MDS 9100 series switches to build and manage small and medium-sized SANs or to provide "edge-to-core" connectivity into larger SANs. Because of their compact size, the Cisco MDS 9100 series switches also offer maximum Fibre Channel port density per rack, which addresses the problem of limited space availability common in many enterprise data centers.

The flexibility of the Cisco MDS 9100 allows customers to deploy the switches in multiple SAN configurations. For example, a small to medium-sized business can use the Cisco MDS 9120 to build their first entry-level SAN as they migrate from a direct-attached to a networked-storage infrastructure. Or larger enterprises can use the Cisco MDS 9120 to meet storage networking requirements of a specific application or business function. Through the Cisco MDS 9140, customers can cost effectively connect a large number of servers and storage devices at the edges of core, enterprise-class SANs. In all these deployment scenarios, customers will be able to take full advantage of the industry-leading scalability, availability, security, and integrated management features available throughout the Cisco MDS 9000 Family.

Cisco MDS 9000 SAN-OS v. 1.2

Every Cisco MDS 9100 switch will ship with the integrated management tools and the intelligent network services already available on the Cisco MDS 9000, such as virtual SANs (VSANs), role-based access control, virtual output queuing, and advanced SAN security and diagnostics. Cisco today added new, significant software features for the Cisco MDS 9000 Family with version 1.2 of its Cisco MDS 9000 operating system, or SAN-OS. Feature highlights include:

  • Enhanced SAN security: Features including LUN zoning, read-only zones and port security will help SAN administrators ensure tighter security at both the switch and fabric levels.
  • Enhanced administrative management: VSAN access control will allow SAN administrators designate user-management rights to specific VSANs, which helps them tailor roles to better match the organization's needs.
  • Advanced troubleshooting and diagnostics: Remote SPAN (RSPAN) extends the switched port analyzer functionality to multi-switch environments and simplifies Fibre Channel troubleshooting across the entire fabric.
  • Improved investment protection: Legacy switch interoperability mode allows customers to deploy Cisco MDS 9000 switches into fabrics built with a select set of third-party SAN switches without disruption.

Pricing and Availability

The Cisco MDS 9100 and the Cisco MDS 9000 SAN-OS v.1.2 are currently being qualified by Cisco original storage manufacturers (OSMs) and other storage subsystem vendors. Pricing and availability through these companies are expected within the next 30 to 60 days. HP is expected to make the Cisco MDS 9100 available to its customers by the end of this month.

About Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. News and information are available at

# # #

Industry Support for the Cisco MDS 9100

Computer Associates
"The Cisco MDS 9100 series Multilayer Intelligent fabric switches offer significant functional advantages for IT organizations seeking to optimize the efficiency of their storage infrastructure. As the first backup solution to be qualified for these new switches, CA's BrightStor ARCserve Backup offers customers the unique ability to more fully leverage expensive storage resources including tape libraries across a broader number of servers. The Cisco MDS 9100 coupled with CA's BrightStor will help drive down cost of data protection across the overall enterprise."

-- Bob Davis, vice president of BrightStor solutions

Hitachi Data Systems
"Customers are looking for vendors who can provide interoperable SAN solutions that are easy to deploy, highly available, and have the highest return on investment. Hitachi Data Systems is pleased to support Cisco's new fabric switches which, combined with Hitachi Freedom Storage systems, extend the benefits of networked storage to a broader range of customers."

-- Scott Genereux, vice president, Global Marketing and Business Development

"As the first Cisco OSM to ship the Cisco MDS 9120 and MDS 9140, HP assures our customers that we have conducted exhaustive qualifications, and that we are ready to implement and support the switches in SAN configurations today. Standard, interoperable SANs are critical to building a reliable, manageable network storage infrastructure. HP is working with Cisco as a key SAN provider to deliver on the HP Adaptive Enterprise strategy to tighten the linkage between business and IT."

-- Frank Harbist, vice president and general manager of storage software, HP Network Storage Solutions

"With the addition of the Cisco MDS 9120 and Cisco MDS 9140, Cisco switches will become a significant impact for small and medium size customers. With these new switches, IBM customers will be able to start small and grow their business with a Cisco SAN Fabric."

-- Scott Drummond, Program Director, IBM Storage Systems Group

Network Appliance
"The new Cisco MDS 9100 Series switches extend Cisco's family of compatible storage switches to meet the full range of enterprise customer needs. Together, Cisco and Network Appliance provide a scalable family of storage solutions, which are fully compatible from the low to high end, and drive down the cost and complexity of managing expanding IT environments."

--Patrick Rogers, vice president of Partners and Alliances

"Small and medium-sized businesses need the easily managed and cost-effective data protection that VERITAS' BackupExec provides. The combination of VERITAS' BackupExec and the release of the CISCO MDS 9100 Series Multilayer Intelligent Fabric Switch provides a pre-tested, pre-qualified storage solution with Intelligent Network Services. VERITAS strives to integrate with widest variety of switches in its mission to enable utility computing for today's IT needs."

-- Brenda Zawatski, vice president of Product and Solutions Marketing