Cisco Makes Storage, Virtual Machines Play Nicely


Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) unveiled new storage networking technologies this week aimed at making storage more efficient in virtual machine and converged network environments (see Cisco, Brocade See One Big Happy Fabric).

The new offerings include 8-Gigabit per second Fibre Channel switching models and an upgraded SAN operating system renamed NX-OS.

SAN-OS has been renamed NX-OS as part of Cisco's plan to develop a single data center operating system to combine LANs and SANs in a single fabric. NX-OS for the MDS platform includes improved policy, visibility and diagnostics across both physical and virtual server environments, enabling services such as QoS and security for VM environments. The MDS 9000 family also gets Secure Erase, a SAN-based intelligent fabric application that erases data so it can't be reconstructed.

At the heart of the new offerings — along with the new Nexus 1000V virtual software switch for handling VM traffic — is VN-link, which virtualizes unified networks so they can be applied to virtual machines.

Rajeev Bhardwaj, director of product management for Cisco's Data Center Business Unit, called the offerings "the most comprehensive capabilities when it comes to deploying VMs on the SAN. We're enabling VM-aware SANs."

The new 8-gig switches are backward-compatible with previous-generation 2-Gbps and 4-Gbps technology and offer hardware-based, line-rate encryption of Fibre Channel data in motion between any MDS 9000 family 8-Gbps modules.

The new modules include 24-port and 48-port 8-Gbps Fibre Channel switching modules and a high-density module with four 8-Gbps ports and 44 4-Gbps ports.

Cisco said the new modules are expected to be offered by its partners in the fourth quarter.

Cisco's Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) application acceleration technology also received new support for VM environments.

Cisco's announcements were just some of the storage-related VMware (NYSE: VMW) announcements at this week's VMworld conference (see IBM Slashes Virtual Desktop Storage Requirements and VMware Data Protection Is Big Business for Storage Vendors).

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