Cisco’s New MDS 9710 Multilayer Director – Data Center Envy?

You’ve heard the term, “Keeping up with the Joneses”, right? Well if you haven’t, it stems from the idea of comparing your home to the best, the biggest, the nicest, however you want to compare, home in the neighborhood. Or it can be applied to your neighbor’s car, or boat, or yard, or anything else enviable. Well, comparing your life to anothers is a bad idea, unless you are looking for positive role models. But, comparisons typically do apply to technology.


Today, we are discussing network switches. Last month, Cisco announced their new MDS 9710 Multilayer Director and today NetApp adds its own announcement. NetApp has certified the MDS 9710 with our storage products and have added it to our portfolio of Cisco products we resell. NetApp is a Cisco original storage manufacturer (OSM) collaborator and tightly aligned to drive innovative solutions to market to help our customers.

This new MDS 9710 Multilayer Director is a beast when it comes to performance. In total, it offers 24TB/sec system bandwidth, which is almost three times that of competitive offerings. In addition to some of its many new software capabilities, the MDS 9710 offers new Fibre Channel (FC) network switch modules with support for 2/4/8/10/16 gigabit speeds as well as FICON, and 10GbE.  Support for 16Gb FC per port bandwidth greatly enhances I/O bandwidth and efficiency over the previous generation 8Gb FC modules.


The plan for the MDS 9710 is to also include support for multihop FCoE later this year. This  feature will help customers who are looking to transition their existing multi-network data centers to a shared infrastructure over 10GbE. Multihop FCoE means that you can implement end-to-end FCoE from the initiator at the host through the edge and core of the data center network all the way to the storage target. With NetApp’s Unified Connect technology, you have the added advantage of the first (and I believe only) storage platform that can maximize utilization of 10GbE bandwidth by sharing I/O capacity with mixed procotols, including NFS, CIFS, iSCSI, and FCoE. Only NetApp offers a truly unified storage platform with industry leading storage efficiency. And with Unified Connect you get the added advantage of increased I/O efficiency over 10GbE.


The MDS 9710  is a high performance product which is also highly versatile. Without going long on it’s capabilities, I’ll let you read more about its goodness on your own on Cisco’s website.


It’s exciting to see continual advances in technology. While not all things can or should be compared, next generation technologies should offer clear improvements over prior generations of products. In this case, the
MDS 9710 is a major leap beyond Cisco’s prior generation model and will be the envy of data centers in your neighborhood.