Cisco Makes Fibre Channel Performance Push

Michael Vizard

Looking to shore up its bona fides in the storage space, Cisco today unveiled a Cisco MDS 9710 Multilayer Director, a storage switch for Fibre-channel environments that Cisco claims is three times faster than any rival storage director.

Capable of delivering up to 24 terabits-per-second of switching capacity, Richard Darnielle, director of product management for Cisco data center solutions, says that faster storage controllers are going to need to keep pace with the adoption of solid-state drives based on Flash memory technology.

As part of that effort, Cisco today also announced a Cisco MDS 9250i Multiservice Fabric Switch, which provides up to 40 line-rate ports of 16GB FC/FICON, 8 ports of 10 GE Fibre channel over Ethernet (FCoE), and 2 ports of 1/10GE FCIP/iSCSI.

The Cisco MDS 9710 Multilayer Director makes use of a new generation of ASIC processors that Cisco developed. Those ASICs, says Darnielle, provide the underlying horsepower that IT organizations are going to need going forward to deal with what is rapidly become a deluge of data.

Capable of supporting both traditional Fibre channel and FCoE protocols, the Cisco MDS 9710 Multilayer Director is the latest example of how the performance attributes of Fibre-channel technologies continue to increase. Those performance increases may not be enough to forestall a shift towards other storage protocols that leverage Ethernet, but as Darnielle points out, Cisco MDS 9710 Multilayer Director can be added into an existing Fibre-channel environment with little to no disruption.

It will take some time to see how the latest round of storage battles will play out. But from a Fibre-channel perspective, the war may be just beginning.

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