Cisco C3160

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Cisco C3160

Veeam Logoby jbarrow.viracoribt » Tue Oct 13, 2015 3:54 pm

Hey everyone.

We're looking to purchase new storage to keep our backup files on and were looking at the Cisco C3160.

The only disadvantage I see with this box is that it isn't fiber channel connected. Right now we have a physical proxy that is connected via fiber channel which pulls data from our NetApp storage (via storage snapshots) and from an HP SAN (just over fiber channel) and dumps that data to another fiber channel destination (a LUN presented from our SAN to the physical proxy).

I'm wondering what I will lose if I move over to the C3160 in terms of performance if we can no longer utilize fiber channel to move this data around.

Anyone else have any input on this?
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Re: Cisco C3160

Veeam Logoby tsightler » Tue Oct 13, 2015 5:55 pm 1 person likes this post

You will certainly need to consider how you will get data into this box. There's no concern in the target side as the local RAID attached via SAS to local disk offers more capacity than your FC out, but pulling data from your SAN is definitely something that you will have to take into account.

Probably the easiest and most cost effective options is to simply keep your current physical proxy to pull data via FC and connect it to the C3160 with 10GbE and use it only as a repository (i.e. effectively replace your current FC connecet repository disk with a C3160). If you use two ports and load balancing you can get 20GbE between the proxy to the repo and, in effect, it will be nearly twice that much since the traffic between the proxy and repo is the already deduped/compressed Veeam datastream. This should easily meet or exceed the current performance of your FC connected disk and offload all of the I/O work (synthetic processing, merges, etc) to the separate repository.

Another option would be to leverage one of the FCoE CNA options available for the C3160 and some type of switch to connect it to your native FC setup for direct SAN. This would likely add significant cost since you'd need acquire the switch hardware to bring the FCoE and FC worlds together, but it's an option and may be especially attractive if there are any future plans to move toward converged infrastructure in the future.

There are of course other options, but IMO they have more disadvantages and/or add complication for limited benefit.
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Re: Cisco C3160

Veeam Logoby rennerstefan » Mon Oct 19, 2015 7:46 am

For sure the best would be to get FCoE configured in this scenario.
But as you are using NetApp it might be also an option to use iSCSI (if licensed) for backup from storage snapshot, even if VMware is using FC.
This could solve the problem with NetApp but still you will need a way for HP.
The option of having a proxy server (your currently proxy) for FC access looks good to me as well.
As everytime it depends on your overall environment (SAN/LAN design, Hypervisor design...).
If you have further questions feel free to ask.
Stefan Renner
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NetApp A-Team Member, NCIE & NCDA, Cisco Champion
Microsoft MCP, Veeam VMCT
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Re: Cisco C3160

Veeam Logoby jbarrow.viracoribt » Mon Oct 19, 2015 7:45 pm

Been talking to my Cisco reps at CDW and it seems we're a bit hosed when it comes to trying to get the C3160 onto our FC network. Seems the only way to do this would be to buy a Nexus switch (big money) which would allow for 10G ethernet and FC into one switch to sort of bridge the connections. Due to that I think we're going to look at using a Cisco C220 as the front end physical proxy then use a NetApp E Series as the storage target, both of which would connect directly to our FC network.
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Re: Cisco C3160

Veeam Logoby tsightler » Mon Oct 19, 2015 8:06 pm

jbarrow.viracoribt wrote:Due to that I think we're going to look at using a Cisco C220 as the front end physical proxy then use a NetApp E Series as the storage target, both of which would connect directly to our FC network.

Couldn't you pair the C220 with the C3160? Is there a reason the E-Series is more appealing with this setup (perhaps cost)?
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Re: Cisco C3160

Veeam Logoby jbarrow.viracoribt » Tue Oct 20, 2015 7:30 pm

Well, the C220 would be able to have fiber channel access, it could pull the data over that, but then to get the data over to the 3160 it would only have Ethernet access to that unit which isn't ideal and all the horsepower built into the C3160 would sort of go to waste since the C220 would be doing all the heavy lifting.

With the C220/E Series setup, the C220 would pull data over fiber channel, then it would shove it back out fiber channel to the E Series instead of being forced to use Ethernet.

1 C3160 is about $90k (360TB)
1 E Series is about $90k (360TB)
1 C220 is about $10k

So it's a wash when it comes to money spent. The one advantage we have with the E Series is that we can keep adding storage to it over time. With the 3160 if we used up all 360TB, then we are stuck with buying another one not just adding a shelf/disks.

Looks like we are moving forward with the E Series/C220 setup, the lack of FC on the C3160 was the big killer for us.
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Re: Cisco C3160

Veeam Logoby tsightler » Wed Oct 21, 2015 1:15 am

jbarrow.viracoribt wrote:Well, the C220 would be able to have fiber channel access, it could pull the data over that, but then to get the data over to the 3160 it would only have Ethernet access to that unit which isn't ideal and all the horsepower built into the C3160 would sort of go to waste since the C220 would be doing all the heavy lifting.

I guess I don't really consider the C3160 as going to waste since it would perform all of the synthetic operations (merges, health checks, compacts, synthetic fulls, etc.) on it's locally attached storage which has way more aggregate bandwidth than FC and those are usually the slowest operations. But both designs are solid, especially if you use separate FC ports for ingress and egress on the C220, and the ability to expand the E-Series is a good benefit as well no doubt.
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Re: Cisco C3160

Veeam Logoby jbarrow.viracoribt » Wed Oct 21, 2015 12:38 pm

Good point, I guess the CPU horsepower of the C3160 would get used some how you describe.

One of my fears as well was the slownessed added by using storage over fiber channel (C220 talking to an E Series) vs. the internal storage of the C3160. I've been given sustained write numbers for the disk systems on both solutions and they were pretty close at about 2200-2500 MB/s sustained write so I'm hoping it's at least close.
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