Cisco Looks to Smooth NVMe Transition

    As part of an effort to gear up for a larger number of application workloads per server, Cisco today unveiled 32 Gb Fibre channel support on servers that also now support both legacy SCSI and emerging NVMe interfaces.

    Adarsh Viswanathan, senior manager for data center product management at Cisco, says Flash storage capable of filling up 32 Gb channels is just now becoming available. Rather than force customers to upgrade their systems to attain better I/O performance, Viswanathan says the Cisco approach enables IT organizations to simply insert new MDS modules and adapters to shift from 16 to 32 Gb when employing Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) servers.

    “It’s about future proofing investments,” says Viswanathan. “There’s no need for a forklift upgrade.”

    Viswanathan says Cisco expects that 60 percent of IT organizations will have made the transition to NVMe by 2020. The transition will provide access to an NVMe bus capable of processing I/Os in parallel.

    As data center environments become denser, IT organizations are finding there’s more contention for I/O resources than ever. That level of contention is only likely to increase as emerging technologies such as containers drive up utilization rates of servers even higher. That shift will eventually force customers to upgrade their storage area networks (SANs).

    In the meantime, Viswanathan says Cisco is also committing to embedding analytics in its systems to help IT organizations know how best to go about optimizing I/O performance. That capability means IT organizations will no longer have to invest in a separate set of analytics applications to gain that level of insight.

    The Cisco approach to NVMe and 32Gb Fibre channel should, in theory at least, make it a lot easier for IT organizations to make that transition on their own terms if and when they decide they are good and ready.


    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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