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Cisco MDS 9000 Series Multilayer Switches

Advantages of Virtual SANs

Next Steps

Today's data centers face many challenges such as consolidation, resources optimization, power, cooling, and cost reduction. Cisco foresaw these requirements and developed Virtual Storage Area Networks (VSANs) in 2002 to address these issues in the data center.

VSANs are integral to the Cisco MDS 9000 Family of Multilayer Switches. They are logical SANs built on a common physical infrastructure. Each VSAN provides its own fabric services and is functionally isolated from other VSANs on the same switch.

Common resources can be shared across VSANs by using Inter-VSAN Routing (IVR). IVR is integrated on any port and incurs no additional resources on the switch.

You can use VSANs to:

  • Consolidate separate physical SAN fabrics into one large fabric for ease of management and reduced total cost of ownership (TCO)
  • Provide secure and reliable isolation of different storage islands
  • Share common infrastructure and resources like tape libraries to further reduce storage and network expenditures

Why the Cisco MDS 9000 Family?


Seven Years of Technology Advantage and Maturity

Cisco pioneered Virtual Fabrics with the introduction of VSANs in 2002. This technology was adopted by the ASNI T.11 committee and is now part of Fibre Channel standards as Virtual Fabrics.

The competition has tried many different ways to first minimize the value and then emulate the concept of VSANs and Virtual Fabrics. When Cisco first introduced VSANs, competitors said that VSANs didn't provide any benefits and were nothing more than zoning.

Superior Capabilities, Flexibility, and No Limitations

When comparing Virtual Fabrics, look at the implementation details. Though features may sound similar, their use and implementation can distinguish a well-integrated solution from an added-on, limited feature.

Flexible, Easy to Deploy Inter-VSAN Routing

Cisco MDS 9000 Inter-VSAN Routing is a totally integrated feature, available to any port, and it is easy to use. All traffic being routed traverses the switch backplane as part of the normal traffic switching function, requiring no additional cost and management for extra modules, ports, optics, and cables.

With VSANs, the Cisco MDS 9000 Family of Multilayer Switches can provide a mature, integrated virtual fabric solution that meets the needs of present and future data centers. In particular, the Cisco MDS 9000 Family supports:

  • VSANs on any MDS 9000 switch to deliver fabricwide virtualization
  • Advanced scalability (over 1000 more VSANs than the competition)
  • VSANs across switches without any limitations
  • FICON deployments with no limitations
  • Isolation of devices previously belonging to a deleted VSAN
  • Coexistence with any existing and future NX-OS features
  • Inter-VSAN Routing from any port to any port in the switch, simply by using the backplane