Cisco MDS 9100 Series Fabric Switches License
Cisco MDS 9100 Series Fabric Switches
The next-generation Cisco MDS 9148T 32-Gbps 48-Port Fibre Channel Switch (Figure 1) provides high-speed Fibre Channel connectivity for All-Flash arrays. This switch offers state-of-the-art analytics and telemetry capability built into its next-generation Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) platform. This switch allows seamless transition to Fibre Channel Non-Volatile Memory Express (FC-NVMe) workloads whenever available without any hardware upgrade in the SAN. It empowers small, midsize, and large enterprises that are rapidly deploying cloud-scale applications using extremely dense virtualized servers, providing the benefits of greater bandwidth, scale, and consolidation. Some of the main benefits for a small-scale Storage Area Network (SAN) are automatic zoning, nonblocking forwarding, and smaller port groups of 16 ports. Benefits for a mid- to large-size SAN include higher scale for Fibre Channel control-plane functions, virtual SANs, fabric login (FLOGI), device alias and name server scale, 48 ports of 32-Gbps non-oversubscribed line-rate ports, bidirectional airflow, and a fixed-form FC-NVMe-ready SAN switch with enhanced Buffer-to-Buffer (B2B) credits connecting both storage and host ports and Fibre Channel link encryption. Large-scale SAN architectures built with SAN core directors can expand 32-Gbps connectivity to the server rack using these switches in either switch mode or Network Port Virtualization (NPV) mode. Additionally, the switch supports enhanced diagnostic features such as Inter-Switch Link (ISL) and
Host-Bus-Adapter (HBA) diagnostics, read diagnostic parameter, link cable beacon,1 and advanced reliability features such as Forward Error Correction (FEC) with HBA ports.
Figure 1. Cisco MDS 9148T 32-Gbps 48-Port fibre channel switch
The main features of the Cisco MDS 9148T 32-Gbps 48-Port Fibre Channel Switch include:
- High performance: MDS 9148T architecture, with centralized nonblocking arbitration, provides consistent 32-Gbps low-latency performance across all traffic conditions for every Fibre Channel port on the switch.
- Fully integrated SAN analytics: This feature-rich switch also offers state-of-the-art SAN analytics and telemetry capabilities that have been built into this next-generation hardware platform. This new state-of-art technology couples the next-generation port ASIC with a fully dedicated Network Processing Unit designed to complete analytics calculations in real time on the 32-Gbps line card. The telemetry data extracted from the inspection of the frame headers are calculated on board (within the switch) and, using an industry-leading open format, can be streamed to any analytics-visualization platform.
- Capital Expenditures (CapEx) savings: The 32-Gbps ports allow users to deploy them with existing 16- or 8-Gbps transceivers provide investment protection with an option to upgrade to 32-Gbps transceivers and adapters whenever needed.
- High availability: MDS 9148T switches continue to provide the same outstanding availability and reliability as the previous-generation Cisco MDS 9000 Family switches by providing redundancy on all major components such as the power supply and fan. Dual power supplies also facilitate redundant power grids. In addition, port-channel link members can be striped across the three 16-port port groups, thus providing additional high availability.
- Reliability: As part of the standard 32-Gbps Fibre Channel specification, Cisco provides FEC between switch ports and HBA ports on all 32-Gbps Fibre Channel fixed switches. This feature helps ensure any error introduced in flight gets corrected before it reaches the device side. In addition, Cisco extends
Buffer-to-Buffer State Change Notification (BBSCN) and buffer-to-buffer credit recovery, which is supported on all Cisco switches between ISL ports, to the fabric ports attached to any end device. Over time, the corruption of receiver-ready messages, known as R_RDY primitives, can lead to a loss of credits, which can eventually cause a link to stop transmitting in one direction. Buffer-to-buffer credit recovery provides for two attached ports to detect and correct this situation.
- Growth in small increments: The MDS 9148T Fibre Channel switch provides an option to deploy as few as twenty-four 32-Gbps Fibre Channel ports in the entry-level variant, which can grow in increments of 8 ports to up to 48 ports. This setup allows four possible configurations of 24, 32, 40, and 48 ports.
- Next-generation ASIC: The MDS 9148T Fibre Channel switch is powered by the same high-performance 32-Gbps Cisco ASIC that powers the Cisco MDS 32-Gbps Fibre Channel product portfolio.
- Higher scalability: Increased fabric scalability provides more flexibility for a variety of SAN architectures.
- Telemetry: Fibre Channel and Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) headers can be inspected without the need for any external taps or appliances. The resulting metrics can be analyzed on the switch and also exported using a dedicated 1- or 10-Gbps Small Form-Factor Pluggable Plus (SFP+) port for telemetry and analytics purposes#.
- Intelligent services: Auto-zone, Smart Zoning, slow-drain detection and isolation, Virtual SAN (VSAN) and Inter-VSAN routing (IVR), and fabricwide Quality of Service (QoS) enable migration from SAN islands to enterprise.wide storage networks. Traffic encryption is optionally available to meet stringent security requirements.
- Sophisticated diagnostics: The MDS 9148T provides intelligent diagnostics tools such as ISL diagnostics, HBA diagnostics, read diagnostic parameters, Switched Port Analyzer (SPAN), Integrated Cisco Call Home capability, and an Online Health Management System for greater reliability, faster problem resolution, and reduced service costs.
- Virtual-machine awareness: The MDS 9148T provides visibility into all virtual machines that are accessing the storage LUNs in the fabric. This feature is available through HBAs capable of priority tagging the Virtual Machine Identifier (VMID) on every Fibre Channel frame. Virtual-machine awareness can be extended to intelligent fabric services such as analytics1 to visualize performance of every flow originating from each virtual machine in the fabric.
- Programmable fabric: The MDS 9148T provides powerful Representational State Transfer (REST) and Cisco NX-API capabilities to enable flexible and rapid programming of utilities for the SAN.
- Single-pane management: You can provision, manage, monitor, and troubleshoot the MDS 9148T using Cisco Data Center Network Manager (DCNM), which currently manages the entire suite of Cisco data center products.
- Secure-boot and anti-counterfeiting technology: The Cisco MDS License uses onboard hardware that protects the entire system from malicious attacks by securing access to critical components such as the bootloader, system image loader, and Joint Test Action Group (JTAG) interface.
● Cost-effective, intelligent storage networking – Advanced features in a compact, cost-effective design simplify deployment and administration of small and medium-scale storage-area networks (SANs).
● Scalability and consistent service delivery – Common platform architecture and intelligent services across all Cisco MDS 9000 Family switches ensures scalability and consistent service delivery as your SAN grows.
● Simplified storage management – The Cisco MDS 9100 Series includes built-in storage network management with all features available through a command-line interface (CLI) or Cisco Fabric Manager, a centralized management tool that simplifies management of multiple switches and fabrics.
● Intelligent network services: Introduces Virtual SAN (VSAN) technology for hardware-enforced, isolated environments within a single physical fabric; Access Control Lists (ACLs) for hardware-based intelligent frame processing; and advanced traffic management features such as Fibre Channel Congestion Control (FCC) and fabricwide QoS to enable migration from SAN islands to enterprise-wide storage networks.
● Total cost of ownership (TCO)-driven design – The Cisco MDS 9100 Series offers advanced management tools for overall lowest TCO. VSAN technology for hardware-enforced, isolated environments within a single physical fabric for secure sharing of physical infrastructure further decreases TCO.
● Comprehensive security framework – Supports RADIUS and TACACS+, FC-SP, SFTP, SSH and SNMPv3 implementing Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), VSANs, hardware-enforced zoning, Access Control Lists, and per-VSAN role-based access control.
● Sophisticated diagnostics – This feature provides industry-first intelligent diagnostics, protocol decoding, and network-analysis tools as well as integrated call-home capability for added reliability, faster problem resolution, and reduced service costs.
● Industry-leading port density – Up to forty 2/1-Gbps autosensing Fibre Channel ports are incorporated in a compact design for environments that require maximum port density per rack unit.
● Two options – Twenty- and forty-port configurations (Cisco MDS 9120, MDS 9140), packaged in a one rack unit (1RU) form-factor chassis with dual hot-swappable power supplies and fans, provide the flexibility needed to address a broad range of deployment requirements.
Cisco MDS 9100 Series – Building Cost-Effective Intelligent Fabrics
The Cisco MDS 9100 Series Fabric Switches License Series elevates the standard for Fibre Channel fabric switches, bringing Cisco Intelligent Networking to small and medium-scale SANs and data-center edge applications. The Cisco MDS 9100 Series provides the ideal balance of cost, performance, and enterprise-class features in a compact 1RU form factor. Available in 20- and 40-port configurations, the Cisco MDS 9100 Series offers the port densities required for a wide variety of storage environments. Providing class-leading scalability, availability, security, and management, the Cisco MDS 9100 Series enables users to deploy high-performance SANs with low TCO. Layering a rich set of intelligent features onto a cost-effective, small-profile switching platform, the Cisco MDS 9100 Series addresses the cost, performance, ease of management, and connectivity requirements of small and medium-scale storage environments and provides full-feature compatibility with Cisco MDS 9500 Series Multilayer Directors and the Cisco MDS 9200 Series Multilayer Fabric Switches for transparent, end-to-end service delivery in large data-center core-edge deployments.
Cisco MDS 9100 Series switches optimize connectivity by matching switch-port performance to the requirements of connected devices. Target-optimized ports are configured to meet the bandwidth demands of high-performance storage devices, servers, and Inter-Switch Links (ISLs). Host-optimized ports deliver best-in-class port density and optimal bandwidth for host-attach. The Cisco MDS 9120 model switch is configured with 16 host-optimized ports and 4 target-optimized ports. The Cisco MDS 9140 model switch is configured with 32 host-optimized ports and 8 target-optimized ports. Cisco MDS 9100 Series switches include hot-swappable, Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP), LC interfaces. Individual ports can be configured with either short- or long-wavelength SFPs for connectivity up to 500m and 10 km, respectively. Available coarse wavelength-division multiplexing (CWDM) SFPs support aggregation of multiple links onto a single optical fiber through a low-cost, passive, optical multiplexer/demultiplexer. All interfaces are 2 Gbps compatible. Up to 255 buffer credits per port are supported on target-optimized ports for maximum extensibility without the requirement for additional licensing. Host-optimized ports support 12 buffer credits per port.
Advanced Traffic Management for High-Performance, Resilient Fabrics
Advanced traffic management capabilities integrated into the Cisco MDS 9100 Series simplify deployment and optimization of large-scale fabrics.
- Virtual Output Queuing ensures line rate performance on each port, independent of traffic pattern, by eliminating head-of-line blocking.
255 Buffer-to-Buffer credits are assigned to each port for optimal bandwidth utilization across distance. When extended distances are required, up to 3,500 credits can be allocated to a single port within a group of four Fibre Channel ports.
- PortChannels allow users to aggregate up to 15 physical ISLs into a single logical bundle, providing optimized bandwidth utilization across all links. The bundle can consist of any port from any module in the chassis, ensuring that the bundle remains active even in the event of a module failure.
- Fabric Shortest Path First (FSPF)-based multipathing provides the intelligence to load balance across up to 15 equal cost paths and, in the event of a switch failure, dynamically reroute traffic.
- Quality of Service (QoS) can be used to manage bandwidth and control latency, in order to prioritize critical traffic.
- Fibre Channel Congestion Control (FCC), an end-to-end feedback-based congestion control mechanism, augments the Fibre Channel’s Buffer-to-Buffer credit mechanism to provide enhanced traffic management.
Key Features and Benefits
VSANs and INTER-VSAN Routing Enhance Security and Stability
VSANs allow more efficient storage network utilization by creating hardware-based isolated environments within a single physical SAN fabric or switch. Each VSAN can be zoned as a typical SAN and maintains its own fabric services for added scalability and resilience. VSANs allow the cost of SAN infrastructure to be shared among more users, while assuring absolute segregation of traffic and retaining independent control of configuration on a VSAN-by-VSAN basis.
The Cisco MDS 9100 Series supports Inter-VSAN Routing (IVR), the industry’s first routing functionality for Fibre Channel. IVR allows selective transfer of data traffic between specific initiators and targets on different VSANs while maintaining isolation of control traffic within each VSAN. With IVR, data can transit VSAN boundaries while maintaining control plane isolation, thereby maintaining fabric stability and availability.
When the Smart Zoning feature is enabled, Cisco MDS 9000 Family fabrics provision the hardware access control entries specified by the zone set more efficiently, avoiding the superfluous entries that would allow servers (initiators) to talk to other servers, or allow storage devices (targets) to talk to other storage devices. This feature makes larger zones with multiple initiators and multiple targets feasible without excessive consumption of hardware resources. Thus, smart zones can correspond to applications, application clusters, hypervisor clusters, or other data center entities, saving the time that administrators previously spent creating many small zones, and enabling the automation of zoning tasks.
Industry’s Most Advanced Diagnostics and Troubleshooting Tools
Management of large-scale storage networks requires proactive diagnostics, tools to verify connectivity and route latency, and mechanisms for capturing and analyzing traffic. The Cisco MDS 9000 Family integrates the industry’s most advanced analysis and debug tools. Power-on self test (POST) and online diagnostics provide proactive health monitoring. Cisco MDS 9100 Series provides the integrated hardware functionality required to implement diagnostic capabilities such as FC Traceroute for detailing the exact path and timing of flows and Switched Port Analyzer (SPAN) to intelligently capture network traffic. Once traffic has been captured, it can then be analyzed with the Cisco Fabric Analyzer, an embedded Fibre Channel analyzer. Comprehensive port and flow-based statistics enable sophisticated performance analysis and service level agreement (SLA) accounting. With the MDS 9000 Family, Cisco delivers the most comprehensive toolset for troubleshooting and analysis of an organization’s storage network.
Comprehensive Solution for Robust Security
Recognizing the need for airtight security in storage networks, the Cisco MDS 9100 Series offers an extensive security framework to protect highly sensitive data crossing today’s enterprise networks. The Cisco MDS 9100 Series employs intelligent packet inspection at the port level, including the application of ACLs for hardware enforcement of Zones, VSANs, and advanced Port Security features.
Extended zoning capabilities are enabled to ensure that LUNs are accessible only by specific hosts (LUN zoning), to limit SCSI read command for a certain zone (read-only zoning), and to restrict broadcasts to only the selected zones (broadcast zones). VSANs are used to achieve higher security and greater stability by providing complete isolation among devices that are connected to the same physical SAN. In addition, Fibre Channel Security Protocol (FC-SP) provides switch-switch and host-switch DH-CHAP authentication supporting RADIUS or TACACS+, to ensure that only authorized devices access protected storage networks.
This functionality, in conjunction with management access and control plane security, makes the Cisco MDS 9000 Family the most secure platform of its kind.
The Cisco MDS 9100 Series was designed for class-leading availability. Hot-swappable, redundant fans and power supplies and the unique ability to automatically restart failed supervisor processes combine to define a new standard for fabric switch availability. High availability is implemented at the fabric level through the industry’s most robust and highest-performance ISLs. PortChannel capability allows users to aggregate up to 15 physical links (Cisco MDS 9140) into one logical bundle. The bundle can sustain the failure of any physical link without causing a reset. Additionally, Fabric-Shortest-Path-First (FSPF) multipathing provides the intelligence to load balance across up to 15 equal cost paths (Cisco MDS 9140) and, if a switch fails, to dynamically reroute traffic. The Cisco MDS 9100 Series takes fabric-switch availability to a new level, minimizing TCO.
Ease of Management
Delivering on the promise of SANs means delivering on management capabilities. To meet the needs of all users, the Cisco MDS 9100 Series provides three principal modes of management: Cisco MDS 9000 Family CLI, Cisco Fabric Manager, and integration with third-party storage management tools. The Cisco MDS 9100 Series Fabric Switches License Series presents the user with a consistent, logical CLI. Adhering to the syntax of the widely known Cisco IOS CLI, the Cisco MDS 9000 Family CLI is easy to learn and delivers broad management functionality. The Cisco MDS 9000 Family CLI is an extremely efficient and direct interface designed to provide optimal functionality to administrators in enterprise environments. Cisco Fabric Manager is a responsive, easy-to-use Java application that simplifies management across multiple switches and fabrics. Cisco Fabric Manager enables administrators to perform vital tasks such as topology discovery, fabric configuration and verification, provisioning, monitoring, and fault resolution. All functions are available through a secure interface, which enables remote management from any location. Cisco Fabric Manager may be used independently or in conjunction with third-party management applications. Cisco provides an extensive API for integration with third-party and user-developed management tools.
Performance and Port Configurations
- Port speed – 1/2-Gbps autosensing, optionally configurable
- Buffer credits – Up to 255 per port (target-optimized ports); 12 per port (host-optimized ports)
- Ports per chassis – 20 (Cisco MDS 9120); 40 (Cisco MDS 9140)
- Port configuration – 16 host-optimized ports, 4 target-optimized ports (Cisco MDS 9120); 32 host-optimized ports, 8 target-optimized ports (Cisco MDS 9140)
- Ports per rack – 1680 1/2-Gbps Fibre Channel ports (Cisco MDS 9140)
- PortChannel – Up to 7 ports (Cisco MDS 9120); up to 15 ports (Cisco MDS 9140)