News Release

Cisco Delivers New Data Center 3.0 Technology for Storage Area Networks

New 8-Gigabit-per-second Fibre Channel Switch Modules and NX-OS Operating System; High Performance and Investment Protection Combined with Cisco SAN Services for Virtual Machine Environments
Sep 16, 2008

SAN JOSE, Calif.- September 16, 2008 - Expanding on its Data Center 3.0 product portfolio, Cisco is delivering new storage area network (SAN) technology designed specifically to help customers improve performance and scalability, simplify SAN management, increase data security, and enhance SAN services in Virtual Machine (VM) environments. Together, these new technologies support Cisco's vision to help its customers to design and build next generation data centers. The Cisco vision for Data Center 3.0 entails the real-time, dynamic orchestration of infrastructure services from shared pools of virtualized server, storage and network resources, while optimizing application performance, service levels, efficiency and collaboration.

The new Cisco SAN technology includes three Cisco MDS 9000 Family 8-Gigabit-per-second (8-Gbps) Fibre Channel switching modules and new capabilities in Cisco's SAN operating system, which has been re-branded NX-OS. These new SAN capabilities, combined with Cisco's data center-class MDS and Nexus platforms, will help IT managers evolve towards a single operating system and a unified data center fabric, simplifying data center management and reducing costs.

"The new Cisco 8-Gbps switch modules are attractive because they can be used in any combination to increase port density and performance as needed, inserting them into an existing Cisco 9500 chassis without having to do a major upgrade," said Brian Perlstein, technical architect at Oakwood Healthcare System. "As an early adopter of Cisco's SAN technology, we've come to really appreciate that kind of investment protection."

New 8-Gigabit-per-second Fibre Channel SAN Switch Modules

Cisco is introducing three new 8-Gigabit-per-second Fibre Channel SAN switch modules designed to provide high performance, scalability, SAN design flexibility, investment protection, and cost effectiveness. Because the new Cisco switching modules are compatible with all Cisco MDS 9500 Series Multilayer Directors, SAN administrators can help protect their existing investments in 2-Gbps and 4-Gbps storage infrastructure and gradually phase in 8-Gbps technology as their network demands it. By combining Cisco 24-Port, 48-Port, and 4/44-Port switching modules in a single, modular chassis, SAN managers can design storage networks optimized for cost and performance in a wide range of application environments. This application-optimized approach helps reduce the number of switches and Inter-Switch Links (ISLs) required in a storage network, helping to simplify SAN management and reduce costs.

The new modules also address growing enterprise security and compliance requirements by delivering transparent, hardware-based, line-rate encryption of Fibre Channel data in motion between any Cisco MDS 9000 family 8-Gbps modules. Cisco TrustSec Fibre Channel (CTS-FC) helps preserve the integrity and confidentiality of Fibre Channel traffic between Cisco MDS 9000 family modular switches within a data center or across metro area networks.

"Within our virtual machine environment, the Cisco MDS SAN platform has been very adept at handling the higher workloads and providing high availability, QOS, security, and performance monitoring to our Virtual Machine environment," said John Stroosnijder, storage architect at Defense Telematics Organization. "The ability to flexibly and easily add 8-Gbps capability to an existing SAN when it is needed, without having to undergo a major system upgrade is also an important factor for SAN administrators."

The new Cisco modules include:

  • Cisco 24-Port 8-Gbps Fibre Channel Switching Module
  • Designed for demanding storage networking environments, this module delivers up to 192-Gbps of full-duplex bandwidth to connect high-end storage subsystems and for Inter Switch Link (ISL) connectivity between switches. The module provides multiprotocol capability for mainframe connectivity and Cisco Virtual SANs (VSANs) for hardware-based separation of Fibre Channel and FICON traffic.

  • Cisco 48-Port 8-Gbps Fibre Channel Switching Module
  • With forty-eight auto-sensing 1/2/4/8-Gbps ports this module delivers 192 Gbps of full-duplex bandwidth, providing a balance of performance and scalability to connect highly virtualized servers in enterprise-class data centers.

  • Cisco 4/44-Port 8-Gbps Host-Optimized Fibre Channel Switching Module
  • With four 8-Gbps ports and forty-four 4-Gbps ports, this high-density module provides a cost effective solution to consolidate standard servers with fewer SAN switches, often eliminating the need for a core-edge SAN topology.

Cisco NX-OS Operating System

The Cisco SAN operating system, SAN-OS, has been renamed NX-OS, reflecting Cisco's goal to develop a single data center operating system that will support a unified fabric combining both LANs and SANs. In addition to support for 8-Gbps performance, Cisco NX-OS for the MDS platform also delivers consistent policy, visibility, and diagnostics across the data center for both physical and virtual server environments, enabling key Cisco SAN services such as QoS and security for Virtual Machine environments. Cisco-based SANs are now virtual machine-aware, offering a resilient, high performance fabric to support large, dense virtual machine environments. Another key feature is Cisco MDS 9000 family Secure Erase, a SAN-based intelligent fabric application that erases data in such a way that reconstructing the data is essentially impossible.

Pricing and Availability

The new Cisco 8-Gbps SAN switch modules are expected to be offered by Cisco's OSM partners in the fourth quarter of calendar year 2008, with starting prices set by Cisco's OSM storage partners.

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