Cisco rolls out new storage networking telemetry capabilities

As data from critical applications proliferates, customers are looking for deep visibility across the storage network, Cisco says.

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Cisco is introducing the MDS 9132T switch.

Cisco on Thursday is introducing a series of new storage area networking (SAN) options that use built-in telemetry to help customers better analyze SAN operational performance.

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First, Cisco is rolling out a new 32Gbps storage fabric switch, which enables customers to scale from eight to 16 ports on, and to 32 ports with an expansion module. The Cisco MDS 9132T switch supports flash arrays for FCP workloads now and will in the near future support FC-NVMe workloads. Its features include built-in telemetry diagnostics, SAN telemetry streaming, bi-directional airflow and RESTful API Support.

To provide real-time, streaming visibility into SAN fabric, Cisco is introducing a 32GB line card with built-in telemetry. The Cisco MDS 9700 32G Module can be placed anywhere in the I/O path for seamless integration.

"Fiber channel supports mission critical, tier-1 workloads for customers. If there is a problem, it needs immediate attention," Adarsh Viswanathan, senior manager for DC Product Management at Cisco, said to ZDNet. "In some cases, you have to have deep visibility into the fabrics."

Typically, to accomplish that, a customer would have to implement traffic mirroring on all switches or deploy a hardware-based tap. These options don't scale well, plus they add a layer of complexity and cost. With the Cisco MDS 9700 32G Module, "you don't have to think about streaming telemetry as a separate solution," Viswanathan said.

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To build on top of this built-in telemetry, Cisco has partnered with the company Virtual Instruments. Customers can stream real-time data from the Cisco MDS 9700 32G Module to the

Virtual Instrument's VirtualWisdom Platform Appliance, which will monitor and analyze the performance of SAN infrastructure.

Cisco is also on Thursday unveiling fiber channel N-port virtualization on the Cisco Nexus 9300-FX datacenter switch. Nexus 9000 products "have been and continue to be Cisco's flagship product for IP and LAN connectivity," Viswanathan said. With support for 16G fiber channel NPV (and support for 32G FC coming in the future), Nexus customers can easily migrate to the 9300-FX switches from earlier generations.

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