Cisco Upgrades Storage Switch Software

Version 1.3 of the company's SAN-OS operating system increases the intelligence of its MDS 9000 storage switch, said Rajeev Bhardwaj, senior product manager.

The software has a new feature called Inter-VSAN Routing that allows it to logically connect to multiple virtual SANs, said Bhardwaj. This feature, an industry first, allows storage resources to be shared across multiple SANs, he said. It also allows a SAN to be split into two separate remote SANs while sharing resources to isolate changes in one part of the SAN from another, he said.

The software also allows storage deployed on a single SAN fabric to be differentiated according to application to ensure the right capabilities are available for such applications, Bhardwaj said. This quality of service feature can be used, for example, to set high-performance resources for use with online transaction processing or Oracle transactions, and lower-cost resources for data backups. Such configurations are done automatically based on customers' policies, he said.

Version 1.3 now supports FICON connectivity in addition to Fibre Channel, Fibre Channel over IP and iSCSI protocols. An MDS 9000 switch can have half of its ports configured for one protocol, and the other half for another protocol, said Bhardwaj.

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The software was also enhanced to support a number of industrywide SAN management standards including ones to manage SANs according to customer policies, monitor performance over time for historical analysis, increased security and support for XML SIM-S.

The new software is in qualification with major OEMs including Hewlett-Packard, IBM, EMC and Hitachi Data Systems and should be released within the next 60 days, said Bhardwaj. Legacy MDS 9000 switches can be field-upgraded with the new software, he said.