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Nexus as a Storage Switch?

Level 1
Level 1

Hi Guys

With the new Unified Ports Concept available in Nexus 5K can we say that  Nexus 5K is as good a storage switch(one to which SAN boxes can be directly connected)  as MDS 9124/9148...

There is no clarity on this and there is lot of speculation in the channel community over this.Would help if Cisco comes out with a response to dispel the doubts

I also see a Nexus Advanced SAN License for the Nexus 7K?Does this mean that N7K can also be used as MDS 9500?



3 Replies 3

Jeremy Waldrop
Level 4
Level 4

Yes, it runs the same NX-OS FC switching code as MDS. All the same commands and Fabric Manager (now DCNM) can be used for management.

I consider the Nexus 5548UP a datacenter swiss army knife. It can do 1/10G Ethernet, L3 routing, FCoE and traditional 4/8G FC.

All 32 (48 if optional 16 port expansion module) OR all 48 ports of the 5596 (optional expansion modules can bring it up to 96 ports, can be configured as FC ports if one desires but can do much more.

Every port is line rate as well.

Thanks Jeremy...any idea on the Nexus 7K SAN Advanced license?

The N7K also has FC switching code but only for FCoE connected devices. The N7K doesn't support an FC 4/8G SFP, you could however connect SAN FCoE front-end ports and serves with CNAs to the N7K and do all zoning there.

I guess it would be possible to connect some 5548s over FCoE to the N7K and use it as your FC core with the N5Ks as your FC edge. All SAN related configs and FCoE devices must be connected to a dedicated FCoE VDC on the N7K and you must have an F1/F2 line card to support FCoE.

An MDS 9500 with the FCoE card could also connect to the N7K for FC switching. For example if your FC core is a 9500 you could connect up hosts with CNAs and SAN array with FCoE front-end ports to the N7K and then all of the legacy traditional FC connects would stay connected to the 9500. The 9500s and N7K could then connect together with the 9500 FCoE card.

Lots of cool ways to unify LAN/SAN these days. All depends on what you have now and what the long term plans are.

The biggest challenge I have faced with trying to get FCoE into customers is political. With FCoE who owns the switch? LAN or SAN team? Sure you can use RBAC to give SAN team access to only FC switch but still there are political hurdles to get over before FCoE becomes main stream.