Monday, 8 February 2021

SAN Insights Discovery: The Match-maker tool for SAN

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From the dictionary of Oxford: match·mak·er  /ˈmaCHˌmākər/  a person who arranges relationships and marriages between others, either informally or, in certain cultural communities as a formal occupation.

But what is the matchmaker doing here?

Well, in the past few years, we have seen new speeds and feeds generating a lot of synergy in the FC storage and FC switching market. It took ~5 years to transition from magnetic spinning discs based storage HDDs to Hybrid arrays, followed by All-Flash Arrays. Now, looking at the new transition into NVMe, it seems like NVMe will be mainstream very soon.

At the same time, SAN switching took ~5-6 years to transition from 16G FC to 32G FC. But it took only 3 years for 64G FC to become a reality.

New things bring fresh challenges, right? The same goes for all SAN switching infrastructure. Whether it is a Cisco or non-Cisco SAN, it requires considerable effort to identify the right platform, technology, and set of required features.

Challenges:

There are tools in the market to help meet these challenges; however, there are also concerns:

1. Future readiness: Is my SAN ready for Nextgen FC features (64G, NVMe, etc.)?

2. Security: Is my data secured and following all security rules and adhere to security policies?

3. Interoperability: Can this tool identify and support multi-vendor switching environments?

4. Multi-platform support: Is it supported across multiple client OS?

The solution:

With Cisco’s recent announcement of the SAN Insights Discovery (SID) tool, all of the above challenges are met, along with some additional benefits:

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1. Nextgen Ready SAN: The report will provide component-level details that can help us identify if the SAN is ready for 64G FC speed.

2. Security: It follows the rules set by the customer. Customers decide who they want to share their data with and when. The tool has the option to integrate the Single Sign-On for authentication.

3. Usability: A tiny program that can run on Windows or Linux workstation. Simply provide the management IP address of any NPIV enabled switch in the fabric, using read-only account authentication, and the tool will do the rest.

4. Result accuracy: Run this tool for a longer period of time (to capture more performance statistics) and it will prepare a more detailed, accurate picture of your SAN.

5. Migration help: Lastly, it will help you migrate/refresh by converting your existing (Cisco or non-Cisco) switch configs to Cisco MDS based SAN fabric configuration.

There is also this common saying for this analogy: Sometimes, you don’t need to make a mountain out of a molehill. That’s the story of this tool. A small, tiny tool can help you – scan, identify, suggest, install and migrate/refresh to Cisco MDS based SAN fabric.

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Ok, enough talking, what’s in it for you?

For Partners: Engage with your customers, recommend them to run the tool, suggest the right platform, and help them migrate and close business smoothly. More details can be found here (Cisco Partner level access required).

For Customers: Identify the current usage, the future requirements, select the right platform based on actual usage, and deploy without disruption. That’s a huge saving and prevents budget overspending.

That’s like extra icing on the cake, right?

And that’s the story of match-maker in our context: Identify, visualize and suggest Nextgen Cisco MDS SAN switches to our customers.

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