Cisco MDS Series Review

Easy to upgrade, easy to configure and easy to administer

What is our primary use case?

Cisco MDS 9148 SAN switch model is the best product. It is highly reliable and at a low cost, easy to deploy, easy to upgrade, easy to configure and easy to administer. This gives effective performance when used for SAN switch connectivity between hosts and storage boxes. It supports reverse compatibility 4/8/16 Gbps of throughput. When configured in redundancy there is a 0% chance of a path missing between the host and storage array. It also supports short distance and long-distance ISL configuration without any issues. WebUI is simple and easy to understand.

How has it helped my organization?

Migration tasks were easy from two different geographies. There were no issues reported on the SAN switch of a path failure. Path failures are handled very effectively. ISL works well. The SAN switch database gets replicated within a fraction of a second. No need to do manual update on zone database. Its intelligent network services and traffic management helps to deploy virtual SAN technology. The quality of services and inter-virtual SAN routing help multiple departments in the organization get prioritized services to data accessibility. At an organization level, it helps to meet network security requirements of role based access based on AAA. It easy to integrate with LDAP, Active Directory. It supports FTP, SFTP, SSHv2, SNMPv3 and also supports AES and many more features.

What is most valuable?

The features I found most valuable are the ease of deployment, it's easy to upgrade, easy to configure and easy to administer. There is no need for vendor professional services which saves project cost. The usage of WebUI for all primary features like hostname, IP address, SNMP traps, zone sets, addition and deletion of zone members or zone sets, backup of switch DB is very simple. 

The CLI mode is also very easy to use for deployment, management and administration. The commands are easy to remember and is also user-friendly to do all management and administration tasks. It helps to meet network security requirements of role-based access based on AAA. It's easy to integrate with LDAP, Active Directory. It supports FTP, SFTP, SSHv2, SNMPv3 and also supports AES and many more features.

What needs improvement?

It is quite a stable product. It should be shipped with the latest firmware to avoid download and upload schema at the beginning of the initial setup. There should also be the possibility of downgrading the firmware when required. Webui needs Data Center Network Management tool licensed copy for accessing Cisco Switches instead a web-based GUI should be made easily available the way Brocade san switch is managed.

It makes sense to get a licensed copy of Data Center Network Management tool if there are more cisco switches (network core or perimeter or san switches or managed TOR switches) or else to manage just Cisco SAN Switches for a few product would be costly and is challenging to convince a client from a cost perspective.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working on this product for a long time now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Highly reliable. I have not seen much failure or major failure incidents.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is easy to scale through ISL or migrate in-family models is easy task.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their support is very prompt and supportive.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have no vendor lock-in system. We work on all products based on deal size and deal cost. I have exclusively worked on Brocade and Cisco SAN Switches.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is pretty simple. It is a 45 mins task to bring the whole new setup for production go live.

What about the implementation team?

I did it on my own from the manual and with the help of generic training videos like YouTube. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing is almost the same for most vendors. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?


Which version of this solution are you currently using?

Cisco MDS 9148
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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