Storage and SAN Virtualization

Virtualize the Data Center SAN Infrastructure

As servers are virtualized, infrastructures become more dynamic and more demanding on SANs. Virtual machines (VMs) proliferate faster and move around the data center in ways that physical servers do not.

Cisco SANs are optimized for virtual machines, allowing each machine and virtual host bus adapter (vHBA) to be separately:

  • Identified: Each vHBA can acquire its own Fibre Channel identifier through N_Port_ID virtualization
  • Configured: VSAN membership, zoning, quality of service, and logical unit number (LUN) mapping and masking can all be implemented
  • Monitored: Login status and location can be tracked, and performance counters can be monitored
  • Migrated: Each vHBA port's world-wide name (pWWN) remains constant across VMware vMotion and port security
  • Diagnosed: FC Ping and FC Traceroute can troubleshoot connectivity and path choices

Blade servers make it easier to reorganize physical servers. The FlexAttach feature of Cisco NX-OS virtualizes the identity of the HBA. It can also follow the server (and its HBAs) wherever they join the fabric after a move. In either case, you can assign the SAN identity of a server to any server that logs in at that port.

SAN fabrics can also be virtualized, allowing multiple physical fabrics to be consolidated into a more scalable, cost-effective infrastructure.

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