Cisco Unveils Midrange Fibre Channel Switch

Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) today unveiled a new Fibre Channel switch aimed at mid-sized companies, among other storage networking product announcements.

Cisco made the announcements as part of its broader “Data Center 3.0” initiative, including new fabric extender offerings and the second generation of its Unified Computing System (UCS), which unites server and networking technology in a single system.

The new Cisco MDS 9148 Multilayer Fabric Switch packs in 48 8Gbps Fibre Channel ports per rack unit, starting at 16 ports and scaling in 8-port increments. Cisco has also added 8Gb Fibre Channel uplinks for server access to its Nexus 5000 and UCS 6100 interconnects.

Bob Nusbaum, product line manager for Cisco’s storage networking solutions, said the new offerings underscore the company’s commitment to the Fibre Channel market. “We are dedicated to both Fibre Channel and FCoE, in contrast to some of the FUD you hear out there,” he told Enterprise Storage Forum.

Cisco claims the MDS 9148 is the lowest-cost storage area network (SAN) switch with enterprise-class capabilities, citing a likely price of $31,840 for a 32-port switch with performance management, security, inter-switch link (ISL) trunking and extension licenses included.

The new offering also moves Cisco’s director-class competition with Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD) into the midrange switch market, which has also seen recent inroads by QLogic (NASDAQ: QLGC).

The MDS 9148 offers 9500 series director-class features such as Cisco’s NX-OS operating system, Virtual SAN (VSAN) capabilities, virtual machine (VM) cluster mapping, VM mobility and quality of service (QoS), and dual power supplies and fans.

FlexAttach technology allows server administrators to manage server attachment to the SAN without help from storage admins.

Meanwhile, the new Cisco FEX-link architecture for Cisco Nexus and Unified Computing System Fabric Extenders offers a server access layer that supports 100Mb, 1Gb and 10Gb Ethernet, native Fibre Channel, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), InfiniBand over Ethernet, iSCSI and NAS.

The new Nexus fabric extenders, the Nexus 2248 and Nexus 2232, offer a dramatic reduction in cabling, power and cooling and capital expenses, according to Cisco.

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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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