Cisco MDS-SAN Analytics-NDFC Workshop (MDS-SANA-NDFC)

The Cisco 9000 Series Multilayer Director Switch (MDS) has been a main stay of Cisco’s DC strategy.  It provides Industry leading Storage Area Networking (SAN).

Like the rest of the IT industry, MDS has seen continuous evolution. MDS has, through progressive innovation, incorporates features and functionality that enhance the ownership experience of SAN administrator. As a critical component in the DC, maintaining uptime and achieving a fast resolution to issues has always been key.  Now with the introduction of SAN Analytics, predictive insight and pre-emptive control can take SAN stability to the next level.

The introduction of Nexus Dashboard Fabric Controller (NDFC) as the management and visibility hub, brings MDS SANs in line with the Cisco vision of a consistent DC wide control framework.

Housley’s MDS-SANA-NDFC Workshop is aimed at bringing to light the key features of MDS Fibre Channel Switches; how they are managed using NDFC and other key tools; and seeing the power of SAN analytics through Cisco SAN Insights.

The workshop is a flexible offering that allows customers to take selected modules and focus on the specific educational requirements.  Additional topics can be added as required.

Course Prerequisites

To fully benefit from this course, you should have the following knowledge and skills:

  • Basic understanding of data storage hardware components and protocols, including Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) and Fibre Channel
  • Basic understanding of network protocols, including Ethernet and IP
  • Basic LAN routing and switching knowledge.

 Course Objectives

After taking this course, you should be able to:

  • Discover and describe MDS platform of multilayer switches and directors.
  • Describe key product features of the MDS platform
  • Build the Nexus Dashboard and NDFC platforms
  • Review Fibre channel operation and Cisco enhancement
  • Configure and deploy the Cisco MDS switches and platform features using CLI and NDFC
  • Detail Performance Monitoring, Congestion Detection and Avoidance technologies.
  • Collect and Review Telemetry data in SAN Insights
  • Overview MDS and NDFC API and Automation tools.
  • Perform regular administration tasks

Course Benefits

This course will help you:

  • Learn how to deploy and manage the MDS Switches to support performance, resiliency, scalability, and enhanced operations for data centers
  • Gain knowledge and skills through Housley’s unique combination of lessons and hands-on practice.

Who should attend?

  • Data center systems engineers
  • Storage Administrators
  • Data center architects
  • Technical decision makers
  • Cisco integrators and partners


4 days


Course Outline

The following are a list of possible topics that can be collated into a customized workshop. They are not in the specific order by which a workshop would run.

Module 1 – MDS overview and refresher

  • MDS family of switches
  • Configuration mechanism overview

Module 2 – Nexus Dashboard Overview

  • ND platform review
  • Introduction of NDFC Application

Module 3 – ND/NDFC installation and deployment

  •  Building ND nodes
  • Cluster configuration
  • Network reachability

Module 3a – Kubernetes overview

  • optional module

Module 4 – Standard Fibre Channel  Review

  • Describe the FC layered model
  • Explain the Fibre Channel addressing schemes
  • Principal Switch role and election
  • Explain the function of worldwide names
  • Explain the Fabric Shortest Path First protocol used to route FC frames
  • Fabric logins
  • Fabric services including Name Server
  • Port types
  • FC requirements of lossless and in order delivery
  • COS types
  • Zoning overview
  • NPV and NPIV

Module 5 – Housley Lab overview

  • Details of Lab environment and relevant systems used in lab exercises
  • UCS Manager overview
  • Pure storage Overview

Module 6 – Cisco Fibre Channel enhancements

  • Cisco Fabric services (CFS)
  • VSANS and Trunking
  • Port Channels
  • Traffic Engineering

Module 7 – NDFC Fundamentals and Operations

  • NDFC Navigation
  • Fabric Setup
  • Fabric and Switch Visibility
  • Device Manager
  • Interface Management
  • VSAN management
  • Fabric Visibility
  • Alias database management

Module 8 – Zoning

  • Zoning Overview
  • Zoning Configuration
  • Enhanced Zoning
  • NDFC Zoning
  • Default Zone
  • Smart Zoning
  • Zone Changes
  • Zone Merge considerations

Module 9 – Inter-VSAN Routing (IVR)

  • Overview and basic level implementation of IVR
  • Configuration tasks are required for Lab environment

Module 10 – Visibility and Performance Monitoring

  • System Monitoring Overview
  • NDFC Events and Alarms
  • Performance Monitoring
  • Performance Metrics
  • Host Path Redundancy

Module 10a – MDS Monitoring and Alerts

  • Optional module
  • SNMP
  • Logging
  • Call home

Module 11 – Congestion Management

  • Congestion Monitoring
  • Slow drain cause and metrics
  • Congestion Visibility via NDFC
  • Congestion Monitoring options
  • DIRL

Module 12 – MDS Telemetry and Analytics

  • Overview of Telemetry and Analytics
  • Deployment options
  • SAN Analytics Configuration
  • Understanding SAN Analytics
  • Viewing SAN Analytics

Module 13 – General Admin

  • Programmable reports
  • Image management
  • Login Management
  • Certificate Settings

Module 14 – Automation Overview

  • Overview of Automation
  • RESTful API overview
  • API Calls
  • MDS Sandbox
  • Postman
  • Ansible support

Labs Overview

  • Accessing Housley Lab environment
  • Nexus Dashboard Overview
  • Standard Fibre channel configuration
  • Cisco Fibre channel configuration
  • NDFC Operations and configuration
  • Zoning configuration
  • IVR configuration
  • NDFC SAN visibility
  • NDFC Congestion tools
  • NDFC Analytics using Cisco SAN Insights