Data Storage

How Cisco IT Deployed a Storage Area Network (SAN)

Read this brief case study summary to learn how Cisco improved its data storage capabilities by installing Multilayer Director Switches to create a SAN.


Data Storage

ERP data storage improves usage, system management, and provisioning speed with Cisco multilayer director switches.

For data storage, Cisco maintains a rapidly-growing infrastructure. Its data storage resources have doubled in size every year, reaching more than 2 petabytes (PB) in 2004. In the mid-1990s, the Cisco data storage infrastructure consisted of about 90 percent direct-attached storage (DAS) and 10 percent network- attached data storage.

During the early 2000s, Cisco migrated to storage-area networks (SANs), which allowed data storage resources to be pooled into a large shared storage facility while improving overall data storage utilization and reducing costs. The data storage migration began with the deployment of Cisco MDS 9500 Series Multilayer Director Switches for enterprise resource planning (ERP) and data warehousing business functions at the Cisco data center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Subsequently, Cisco IT deployed the Cisco MDS 9509 and Cisco MDS 9513 Multilayer Director Switches within the Cisco global network. Now, virtual SANs (VSANs) are used for additional network security. Storage management has been consolidated with the SAN islands. Specific tasks, such as data storage provisioning within the new SAN, are accomplished with greater flexibility. Servers and data storage devices can be added as needed, without the additional expense and lead time of installing an additional Fibre Channel switch.

This deployment provided significant business benefits, including:

  • Improved data storage utilization
  • Improved system management and reliability
  • Faster provisioning
  • Improved data availability
  • Lower capital and management costs
  • Simplified data storage management
  • Increased network performance and speed
  • Enhanced data security and integrity
  • Better positioning for data storage growth


For more information please visit: Storage Networking