Cisco Makes SANs VM-Aware

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) has refreshed its Fibre Channel switches to make storage area networks (SANs) more responsive to virtual server environments.

The joint solution with VMware (NYSE: VMW) creates the first “virtualized end-to-end SAN,” said Rajeev Bhardwaj, director of product management for Cisco’s Data Center Business Unit.

“As virtual machines become more pervasive in the data center, there is a need for the storage infrastructure to adapt,” said Bhardwaj.

Cisco MDS SANs optimized for the VMware platform improve the security, scalability and management of storage networks attached to VMware environments, Cisco said, helping customers with storage consolidation, disaster recovery, business continuity and backup while improving the visibility, security and traffic management of applications.

Based on Cisco’s NX-OS operating system, virtual HBA and VSAN technology and NPIV (N_Port ID Virtualization), Cisco said its MDS switches provide consistent policy, visibility and diagnostics for virtual machines across the data center.

With security, mobility, performance monitoring and capacity planning capabilities at the virtual machine (VM) level, Cisco said IT managers can monitor, manage and scale SAN-attached virtual machines. Servers can be moved, added or changed without reconfiguring SAN switches or storage arrays, and servers can retain their SAN identity even when moved or replaced in the server chassis.

NPIV allows each virtual machine to be associated with a unique virtual HBA, and each VM can belong to a different VSAN. Separate logins allow VM-level zoning, security, traffic management and mobility.

“With the combination of VMware Infrastructure and VMware-optimized SANs, customers can take full advantage of SAN benefits while easily scaling their virtual environments,” Shekar Ayyar, VMware’s vice president of infrastructure alliances, said in a statement. “This can enable customers to accommodate growth and continue meeting service levels without adding cost or complexity.”

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Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for Time.com, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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