Lab ValidationReportEMC Cisco Unified Storage NetworkingEnabling Virtual Data Center Infrastructures with Trusted FCoE SolutionsBy Vinny Choinski with Brian GarrettMay 2011 2011, Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Lab Validation: EMC Cisco Unified Storage Networking2ContentsIntroduction . 3Background . 3ESG Lab Validation . 6Getting Started . 6Intuitively Manageable FCoE . 8Hosting Virtual Desktops with Bridged and Native FCoE . 11ESG Lab Validation Highlights . 15Issues to Consider . 15The Bigger Truth . 16Appendix . 17ESG Lab ReportsThe goal of ESG Lab reports is to educate IT professionals about emerging technologies and products in thestorage, data management and information security industries. ESG Lab reports are not meant to replace theevaluation process that should be conducted before making purchasing decisions, but rather to provide insightinto these emerging technologies. Our objective is to go over some of the more valuable feature/functions ofproducts, show how they can be used to solve real customer problems and identify any areas needingimprovement. ESG Lab's expert third-party perspective is based on our own hands-on testing as well as oninterviews with customers who use these products in production environments. This ESG Lab report wassponsored by EMC Corporation and Cisco Systems.All trademark names are property of their respective companies. Information contained in this publication has been obtained by sources The EnterpriseStrategy Group (ESG) considers to be reliable but is not warranted by ESG. This publication may contain opinions of ESG, which are subject to change fromtime to time. This publication is copyrighted by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. Any reproduction or redistribution of this publication, in whole or inpart, whether in hard-copy format, electronically, or otherwise to persons not authorized to receive it, without the express consent of the EnterpriseStrategy Group, Inc., is in violation of U.S. Copyright law and will be subject to an action for civil damages and, if applicable, criminal prosecution. Shouldyou have any questions, please contact ESG Client Relations at (508) 482.0188. 2011, Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Lab Validation: EMC Cisco Unified Storage Networking3IntroductionThis report presents the results of ESG Lab hands-on testing of EMC Storage and Cisco Unified Fabric solutionsfocusing on ease of configuration, management, performance, and scalability of Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE)networks.BackgroundAs businesses increase their reliance on IT to power them, they typically deploy whatever technologies best suittheir applications. As a result, data centers often support multiple technologies and network types, with standardEthernet LANs, Fibre Channel (FC) and iSCSI SANs, separate Ethernet NAS networks, etc. all under management.Multiple networks add complexity as they require unique equipment, particular IT skill sets, and individualmanagement tools, all of which drive up both capital and operational costs. With a goal of reducing cost andcomplexity in the data center, a growing number of IT organizations have embraced server virtualization and datacenter consolidation strategies.The dramatic shift to consolidating workloads with server virtualization has led to reductions in equipment, floorspace, power, and cooling costs. However, to take advantage of the advanced mobility features server virtualizationoffers (such as HA, SRM, DRS, and vMotion) consolidated servers need to be connected not only to the LAN but alsoto networked storage. In addition, workload consolidation increases demand for network resources andthroughput, often hampering performance and creating a chain reaction of bandwidth effects. The interaction ofthese needs is demonstrated in Figure 1: respondents to a recent ESG survey indicated that server virtualization,managing data growth, and data center consolidation were top IT priorities. 1Figure 1. Top IT PrioritiesWhich of the following would you consider to be your organization’s most important ITpriorities over the next 12-18 months? (Percent of respondents, N 611, ten responsesaccepted)Increase use of server virtualization30%Manage data growth24%Information security initiatives24%Major application deployments or upgrades23%Improve data backup and recovery22%Desktop virtualization21%Data center consolidation21%Business continuity/disaster recovery programs20%Large-scale desktop / laptop PC refresh19%Regulatory compliance initiatives18%0%5%10%15%20%25%30%35%Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, 2011.Consolidating on fewer networks would seem to be an obvious way to reduce costs and increase efficiency, but thechallenge has been to find a way to provide the reliability, low latency, and high performance of FC storage whilemaintaining the low cost and ease of management of Ethernet. The ultimate goal of network convergence is to1Source: ESG Research Report, 2011 IT Spending Intentions Survey, January 2011. 2011, Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Lab Validation: EMC Cisco Unified Storage Networking4provide the foundation for a truly agile, end-to-end infrastructure while achieving significant reductions in capitalequipment and operational expenses.Fibre Channel over EthernetFCoE allows Fibre Channel traffic to move natively over Ethernet; storage and LAN traffic converge on a singleplatform, leveraging familiar management tools, security models, and processes. The FCoE standard has beentested and certified (ANSI T11) and is supported by most major vendors. Rather than adding yet another networkprotocol, merging FC with 10GbE offers a way to gracefully migrate from existing FC to Ethernet over time,protecting current networking investments. Consolidating FC and Ethernet on converged network adapters (CNAs)eliminates the need for separate network interface cards (NICS) and FC host bus adapters (HBAs), reducing the costof devices.As shown in Figure 2, the traditional multi-fabric network requires separate networks and management for storageand LAN traffic, as well as separate HBAs and NICs. In the unified fabric or converged network, storage and LANtraffic converge into a single network traveling over 10 GbE and hosts are connected with a single CNA.Figure 2. Converging to a Unified Fabric with FCoEThe enhanced Ethernet standard (a.k.a., data center bridging, or converged enhanced Ethernet) was defined toenable the unified fabric shown. One of the key features of enhanced Ethernet is its ability to differentiate betweenand prioritize traffic sharing a common physical layer (a.k.a., quality of service, or QoS). The enhanced Ethernetstandard also supports link-level flow control and end-to-end congestion management to meet the losslessperformance requirements of mission critical applications currently relying on FC for networked storageconnectivity. The FCoE standard picks up everything from the FC standard—except for the cabling and the physicalinterface—and places it within an enhanced Ethernet network.EMC Storage with Cisco Unified Fabric: Enabling Virtual Data Center InfrastructuresA converged network that consolidates storage and LAN traffic can help increase efficiency, reduce costs, and speedthe journey to the cloud. Long-term partners EMC and Cisco offer converged network solutions, product bundles, 2011, Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Lab Validation: EMC Cisco Unified Storage Networking5EMC E-Lab Tested and Cisco Validated designs, and consulting and support services to help customers plan, deploy,and manage their converging infrastructures. On the networking side, the Cisco Unified Fabric unifies storage and data networking for seamless,converged, scalable, and intelligent networks that reduce total cost of ownership. Nexus and MDS seriesswitches and directors provide native and bridged FCoE support. Additional offerings include Cisco UnifiedNetwork Services and the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), a pre-integrated compute, network,storage, and vitalization platform.On the storage side, EMC VNX arrays are affordable, easy-to-use, mid-tier solutions that provide highefficiency storage for multi-protocol SANs. The EMC Symmetrix VMAX platform supports large enterpriseenvironments with unmatched scalability, high availability, and scale-out performance levels for the mostdemanding virtual data center needs. EMC VNX and VMAX storage systems are qualified and supported inCisco enabled bridged FCoE configurations. The VNX supports native FCoE with 10 Gb Ethernet IO modulesthat can be added non-disruptively. Native FCoE support for the VMAX is planned, but not yet generallyavailable as of this writing.Figure 3 is a summary of the end-to-end family of unified fabric solutions from EMC and Cisco. A variety of serversand CNA adapters are supported including the Cisco UCS server shown toward the left. Cisco Unified Fabricsolutions shown in the middle are attached to an EMC VNX or VMAX disk array on the right. In the bridgedconfiguration shown at the top, FCoE traffic flows through the CNA adapter within the Cisco UCS server and arrivesas native Fiber Channel traffic at the disk array. The native FCoE path shown at the bottom uses an end-to-end FCoEpath to transport storage traffic over an enhanced 10 Gb Ethernet network.Figure 3. EMC/Cisco Converged Unified Fabric with FCoENew line cards for the Cisco Nexus 7000 data center switch and MDS 9500 storage director switch as well as nativeFCoE support for the EMC VNX have been recently released. Previously, the MDS9500 could only talk to back-endstorage arrays using Fibre Channel, now it can use FCoE as well. That means a switch like the Nexus 5000, whichcould already receive FCoE, can now pass FCoE messages to and through the Nexus 7000 and MDS 9500 todestination storage arrays. 2011, Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Lab Validation: EMC Cisco Unified Storage Networking6ESG Lab ValidationESG Lab performed hands-on testing of an EMC and Cisco Unified Storage Networking solution at an EMC facility inHopkinton, Massachusetts. An end-to-end Cisco and EMC solution was tested with Cisco UCS servers and switchesconfigured for bridged and native FCoE connectivity to an EMC VNX disk array. The performance of a virtualdesktop infrastructure (VDI) workload running over bridged and native FCoE storage connections was examined.This report also includes an overview of bridged FCoE testing with an EMC VMAX disk array that was documented ina previously published ESG Lab Validation report.Getting StartedAs shown in Figure 4, a Cisco USC C-250 server with a pair of converged network adapters was configured to usestorage within an EMC VNX array. VMware View 4.5 was installed on the Cisco server to create a VDI workload with100 Windows 7 clients performing typical desktop operations. The EMC VNX storage array was configured topresent LUNs from both its FC and FCoE ports. A bridged FCoE connection was created with a Cisco Nexus 5020 atthe edge of the storage network and a Cisco MDS 9513 in the core. A native FCoE connection tied a Cisco Nexus5020 at the edge to a Cisco Nexus 7010 at the core.Figure 4. Bridged and Native FCoE Unified Fabric Testing with EMC VNX Storage (2011)A bridged FCoE topology was tested by ESG Lab during a validation of the EMC VPLEX in 2010. 2 Converged NetworkAdapters (CNAs) installed in Cisco UCS servers were used to reduce the number of wires and network connectionsbetween the server and an EMC VMAX disk array. In this example, two Ethernet user network connections, two FCstorage area network connections, and an Ethernet Management network connection were consolidated onto anenhanced 10 Gb Ethernet network with a Cisco MDS 5020, providing a bridge between FCoE traffic on the -vmotion-with-new-distributedstorage-federation/ 2011, Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Lab Validation: EMC Cisco Unified Storage Networking7and FC traffic on the storage array. Figure 5 shows how Microsoft and SAP clusters were deployed on FCoE attachedCisco UCS servers in two data centers located 100 kilometers apart.Figure 5. Bridged FCoE Unified Fabric Testing with EMC VPLEX with VMAX Storage(2010)Why This MattersA growing number of IT managers are consolidating servers and storage to reduce power, cooling, andmanagement costs. As a matter of fact, 66% of respondents to a global ESG survey indicate that a formal ITinitiative or program is underway with a goal of