Looking to support ever-increasing workloads, Cisco has pumped up the speed and intelligence of its storage area networking family.\nThe company addressed the need for increased speed by saying it would add support for 64Gbps ready SAN fabric across its 9700 line of MDS storage directors.The MDS family includes the 18-slot 9718, the 10-slot 9710 and the six-slot 9706.\n\nThe main idea here is that customers can upgrade to the new fabric module and upgrade their software to add speed and capacity for high-speed fabrics without having to rip-and-replace any of the directors, according to Adarsh Viswanathan, Cisco product manager, data center switching. A 64Gbps line card for all three chassis will be available in the future, Cisco said.\nSupport for 64Gbps will be compatible with the next iteration of the industry\u2019s FC standard and will help Cisco compete more effectively with Broadcom\u2019s Brocade and others.\nOne of the key drivers to support higher speeds is the is the 9700 family\u2019s existing support for non-volatile memory express (NVMe) over Fibre Channel and all-flash array. NVME is the protocol developed to handle the growing world of all-flash enterprise-storage workloads that require peak performance such as online trading platforms and other latency-sensitive workloads.\u00a0 NVMe promises faster performance and greater density compared to legacy storage protocols.\u00a0\nCisco\u2019s storage family also supports 16Gbps and 32Gbps Fibre Channel (FC), FICON mainframe access, iSCSI, and FCoE over Ethernet and FCIP (Fibre Channel over IP) protocols. With this 9700 upgrade users can run concurrent FC-SCSI along with \u00a0NVMe\/FC workloads, Viswanathan said.\nSAN Analytics supports NVME over FC\nCisco also added in-line support for NVMe over FC in its SAN Analytics program that helps customers troubleshoot storage-workload problems quicker. Cisco says its SAN Analytics program offers visibility into I\/O traffic between compute and storage infrastructures including visibility into individual ports, switches, servers, virtual machines and storage arrays.\nThe information generated by SAN Analytics can be used to maintain a performance baseline. A deviation from the historic trend can be used to generate automated alarms, resulting into proactive troubleshooting, Cisco says. Monitoring also provides insight into the causes of performance degradation.\n\u201cIf you don\u2019t have the analytics, customers have to use hardware and capture traps that aren\u2019t very scalable nor easy to deploy. SAN analytics is in the data stream, and it\u2019s a [more] powerful way to manage the SAN than what has traditionally been done,\u201dViswanathan said.\u00a0\u00a0\nSupport for Ansible config. mgmt.\nCisco said it added support for an Ansible module on the MDS 9000 family that will allow customers to build in automation features in their storage facilities.\nAnsible is an open-source configuration management and provisioning tool that lets programmers automate tasks such as VSAN configuration or setting up storage zones. Ansible offers a framework that that IT-operations teams can use without having a ton of programming expertise, said Viswanathan.\nCisco offers other open application-programming support too, such as \u00a0OpenStack and Python-based scripts.\nThe Cisco SAN Analytics and Ansible module are shipping now.