Storage Area Networks (SAN)

Spinning up an NVMe/FC Strategy using Cisco’s C-type SAN Switches

By Bhavin Yadav posted Thu August 20, 2020 12:33 PM

  

Every so often there comes a time when we witness a major shift in the IT industry that fundamentally changes the landscape, including product portfolios and investment strategies. Storage and Storage Area Networks (SANs) are undergoing one such paradigm shift that opens up a huge opportunity for those looking to refresh their storage and SAN investments and take advantage of the latest and greatest developments in this particular space. We can think of it as a “trifecta effect.”

Let’s see how the Cisco C-type family switches – using IBM FS 9100 series NVMe storage arrays can help meet the challenges posed by this “trifecta effect.” Through this series of blogs, we will cover various topics on Cisco’s innovation in C-type storage networking technologies and how it addresses these challenges.

Why now?

Modern enterprise applications are exerting tremendous pressure on your SAN infrastructure. To keep up with advances in storage technology, customers are looking to invest in higher performing storage and storage networking. Combining the economic viability of All Flash / NVMe arrays and the technological advances with NVMe over Fibre Channel, there has never been a more compelling opportunity to upgrade the SAN infrastructure to meet future demands.

Today, let’s talk about NVMe over Fibre Channel (FC) support using Cisco’s Storage Networking C-type family series switches.

Most of us probably know what NVMe is – the various deployments of NVMe (over FC, RoCE, TCP, etc.). Solid State Disks (SSDs) and NVMe have superseded rotating/spinning disks. NVMe also has opened up a superhighway to send traffic using multiple lanes, providing a very high throughput rate. This results in extremely high bandwidth consumption, along with burst of reads and writes.

Does Cisco’s Storage Networking C-type SAN switches provide support for NVMe/FC?

This is a very common and top-of-mind question from customers during conversations involving SAN. The good news on the Cisco’s C-type Storage Networking SAN solution is – yes, it supports NVMe.

  • Transparent support – no additional hardware/commands needed
  • Works with any current 16G/32G fabric switch or current Cisco C-type director modules using Cisco NX-OS 8.x release, at the least.
  • No additional license needed
  • No additional features needed to enable identification of NVMe commands

Vendor certification

From an ecosystem support perspective, we have certified HBAs from well known HBA vendors across the industry. We have also published Cisco Validated Design guides with the NVMe solution, listed at the end of this blog.



We can run SCSI and NVMe flows together through the same hardware, through the same ISL (Inter Switch Link). Cisco’s C-type Storage Networking switches will transparently allow successful registrations and logins with NVMe Name Servers as well as I/O exchanges between SCSI and NVMe initiators and targets, together.

This way, NVMe/FC, along with the Cisco’s Storage Networking C-type SAN solution, provides the best possible performance across the SAN, with seamless insertion of NVMe storage arrays in the existing or new ecosystem of C-type SAN switches.

NVMe/FC support matrix with Cisco’s C-type SAN switches 

If you are looking for NVMe/FC and Cisco’s Storage Networking C-type SAN solution integration within CVDs, here are some of the documents for you to start with:

  1. VersaStack with VMware vSphere 6.7, Cisco UCS 4th Generation Fabric, and IBM FS9100 NVMe-accelerated Storage Design Guide
  1. VersaStack for Data Center with Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure Design Guide

So, what are we waiting for? Probably nothing. The “trifecta” effect: higher performance at a very reliable latency and throughput can now be addressed using Cisco’s Storage Networking C-type SAN Switches.

You can find out more about how to simplify enterprise digital transformation here.

The track’s ready, the drivers are ready, the cars are ready. It’s time to start the race . . .


#cisco
#san
#versastack
#vmware
#nvme
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Thu August 20, 2020 02:30 PM

A good article.  I shared it to LinkedIn.

Thu August 20, 2020 12:44 PM