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Products & Services

Cisco MDS 9000 Family: Leadership and Innovation

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In 2002 Cisco introduced the Cisco MDS 9000 Family of multilayer switches, with many industry-first features and advanced capabilities that redefined the storage networking industry (Figure 1). Over the years, the Cisco MDS 9000 Family has maintained technology leadership by continuing to deliver exceptional innovation. Despite industry consolidation accelerated by Cisco's rapid pace of innovation, competitors are still followers, delivering some features 2 to 7 years later than Cisco. In most cases, even if a competing product claims feature parity, in reality it delivers only limited functions.

Figure 1

Figure 1. Cisco MDS 9000 Family of Multilayer Switches

Feature Cisco Competition
Director supporting more than 200 ports 2002 2005
Virtual SANs (VSANs) and ANSI virtual fabrics 2002 2009
Secure management through Simple Network Management Protocol Version 3 (SNMPv3) 2002 2004
Quality of service (QoS) 2002 2007
Fibre Channel Congestion Control (FCC) 2002 No
Network diagnostics: Ping and Traceroute 2002 2006
Switched Port Analyzer (SPAN) 2002 2007
Fabric analyzer 2002 No
Tiered connectivity for network design optimization 2002 No
VSAN trunking 2002 2009
Centralized Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA) services (RADIUS and TACACS) 2002 2004
Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) 2002 2006
2003  
Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP) for management port redundancy 2003 No
Port rate limiting 2003 2008
Integrated SAN routing on every port 2003 No
IBM Fiber Connection (FICON) and Open System intermix through VSAN 2003 2009
Fibre Channel ID (FCID) persistence 2003 No
Integrated SAN extension: Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP) 2003 2006
Integrated iSCSI 2003 2007
Fibre Channel LUN zoning and read-only zones 2003 No
Integrated virtualization 2003 2007
Native switch interoperability modes 2003 2007
Fibre Channel Security Protocol (FCSP) for host-switch and switch-switch authentication 2003 2006
2004  
Cisco Fabric Services 2004 No
Fibre Channel Write Acceleration 2004 2007
Hardware-based IP Security (IPsec) encryption for FCIP and iSCSI 2004 2007
FCIP hardware compression 2004 2006
FCIP write acceleration 2004 2006
FCIP tape acceleration 2004 2007
Large pool of extended credits (more than 5800 per port) 2004 No
SAN Extension Tuner 2004 No
Dynamic Port VSAN Membership (DPVM) 2004 No
Embedded Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S) agent 2004 2005
Distributed device aliases 2004 No
2005  
Integrated Fibre Channel routing with FCID Network Address Translation (NAT) 2005 No
Heterogeneous data protection via SANTap 2005 2007
2006  
IPv6 support 2006 2007
Remote SPAN (RSPAN) 2006 No
Intelligent port bandwidth management 2006 No
10-Gbps Fibre Channel 2006 2007
Director supporting more than 500 ports 2006 No
Large-scale support for highly scalable iSCSI service 2006 No
4-Gbps Fibre Channel 2006 2006
Enhanced inter-data-center routing through Autonomous Fabric ID 2006 No
2007  
SAN device virtualization 2007 No
Integrated Storage Media Encryption (SME): encryption of data at rest 2007 2009
Integrated Data Mobility Manager (DMM) 2007 No
Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 2007 No
N-Port Virtualization (NPV) 2007 2007
2008  
Secure Erase: Permanent data erase 2008 No
Offline data restore tool 2008 No
FlexAttach: simplified server mobility and replacement 2008 No
2009  
F-port trunking: trunking of multiple VSANs to servers 2009 No
Fibre Channel Link Encryption: encryption of data in motion 2009 No