Saturday, September 30, 2023
HomeCloud ComputingHigh Ten Advantages of Upgrading from DCNM to NDFC SAN

High Ten Advantages of Upgrading from DCNM to NDFC SAN

Cisco Information Middle Community Supervisor (DCNM) has lengthy been thought-about the gold normal of SAN administration due to its stability, wealthy options, and vast adoption. DCNM has been round and serving clients very properly for over 20 years. It was initially featured together with the launch of the MDS 9000 switches. Again then, it was known as Cloth Supervisor and this identify is utilized in conversations even to today. That was the time when functions used a monolithic design. Nevertheless, occasions have modified, and over the past decade, software program improvement has undergone a complete makeover. As a substitute of a big monolith, lately an utility is split into a number of microservices. Then, every of those companies runs in its devoted containers. This microservices-based design results in many advantages, equivalent to increased scale, improved safety, increased availability, and sooner improvement.

DCNM’s monolithic design, regardless of serving properly for 20 years, is unable to unleash the total potential of move visibility, real-time analytics, and better scale. As a substitute of making an attempt to retrofit these advantages into DCNM, we rewrote the whole utility from scratch utilizing the microservices structure. Throughout this recent improvement, we additionally gave it a brand new identify known as Nexus Dashboard Cloth Controller (NDFC).

Be aware: The main target of this submit is on NDFC SAN Controller.

Advantages of Upgrading from DCNM to NDFC SAN Controller

In January 2023, we launched the third main launch (12.1.2) of NDFC SAN Controller. This makes the proper time to improve from DCNM to NDFC not simply because three is a magic quantity, but in addition due to ten causes that I’m sharing on this submit.

1. Upgrading from DCNM to NDFC is Free

We designed NDFC to honor the prevailing DCNM licenses. This funding safety turns into much more rewarding with the distinctive longevity of Cisco switches due to in-place upgrades to the upper speeds. For instance, clients who purchased MDS 9710 with DCNM license in 2013 can improve to NDFC in 2023 utilizing the identical license. Simply to be clear, any newly bought Nexus and MDS switches nonetheless require new NDFC licenses. However NDFC will have the ability to handle any current switches you may have already bought DCNM licenses for. Primarily, it’s free to improve from DCNM to NDFC.

2. Lively-Lively Clustering for Excessive-Availability

The internet hosting platform of NDFC, known as Nexus Dashboard (ND), offers native active-active clustering. You possibly can deploy 3 nodes of Nexus Dashboard in a cluster after which set up a single occasion of NDFC on it. The person expertise for SAN Administration stays unchanged no matter 1-node ND or a 3-node ND cluster. Nevertheless, with 3-node cluster, ND routinely distributes microservices on a number of nodes. If one node fails, the prevailing two nodes proceed to run NDFC. This achieves an unprecedented reliability for SAN Administration and Insights.

Lively-Lively clustering doesn’t exist in DCNM. It has a unique implementation for reaching excessive availability, known as Federation. However due to the dependency on an exterior Oracle RAC database, DCNM Federation will increase the full value of possession. In distinction, Nexus Dashboard natively integrates distributed database companies for reaching active-active clustering. This design makes excessive availability of NDFC far more inexpensive.

To today NDFC is the one SAN administration software program to supply a real extremely accessible structure to drastically enhance up-time and availability for SAN operations. In a time when down-time is solely unacceptable, this structure delivers piece of thoughts even on the community administration facet of the enterprise.

3. NDFC One View – Single-pane-of-glass Throughout A number of NDFC Servers

NDFC One View offers centralized administration and visualization of a number of SAN environments which can be managed by totally different NDFC servers. Utilizing an executive-level dashboard of One View, you may seamlessly navigate to a collaborating NDFC server utilizing Single Signal-On (SSO). This results in sooner troubleshooting and simplified Day 2 operations.

There is no such thing as a further license for NDFC One View. If you have already got DCNM/NDFC license for managing the switches, you can begin utilizing NDFC One View in the present day with no further value.

DCNM doesn’t provide an analogous function. You probably have a number of DCNM servers managing totally different SAN environments, getting a unified view throughout all these DCNM servers is feasible solely after upgrading to NDFC.

4. Greater Scale

Beginning 12.1.2 launch, NDFC can handle as much as 40K ports (earlier 20K ports) and as much as 160 switches (earlier 80 switches). This elevated scale helps to consolidate a number of DCNM servers in fewer NDFC servers, and therefore saves time, effort, and cash.

Moreover the material scale, SAN Insights can now monitor as much as 1 million I/O flows per NDFC server. When SAN Insights was first added to DCNM 11 in 2018, it may monitor 20K flows. Later, DCNM 11.5 elevated this scale to 60K flows. In 2021, the primary launch of NDFC 12.0.0 elevated the variety of monitored flows to 250K, which was additional elevated to 500K with 12.1.1 launch. Now, NDFC 12.1.2 can monitor 1 million flows delivering 50x improve over the past 5 years.

This elevated scale offers two key advantages. First, it permits monitoring each move, which is required as a result of customers have no idea when and the place an issue might floor. SAN Insights repeatedly screens efficiency of I/O flows proactively and their historical past is out there when an anomaly is detected (extra on anomaly detection shortly). The second purpose is that even a cloth with only some switches can have lots of of hundreds of flows. For instance, one buyer has 180K flows in a cloth of simply 4 switches. When accounting for twin materials, the move rely of their surroundings is roughly 380K. NDFC can monitor these environments in an always-on vogue and might scale occasion additional.

5. SAN Insights Anomaly Detection

Not simply monitoring, NDFC can routinely detect anomalies in any of the million flows. You possibly can set the insurance policies of your alternative or just activate the ready-made insurance policies in NDFC. For instance, NDFC can create an anomaly coverage to inform the admins when learn or write I/O operations to a LUN (for SCSI visitors) or Namespace (for NVMe visitors) takes longer than 500 microseconds. Anomaly detection helps in detecting storage efficiency points a lot sooner than utility is affected.

This function of anomaly detection doesn’t exist in DCNM. Monitoring and the power to detect anomalies in one million flows is feasible solely due to the microservices-based structure of NDFC.

6. Present DCNM Options

It’s not simple, however we try exhausting to exceed the excessive bar set by DCNM. Within the final two years, we have now added (and redesigned) most DCNM options to NDFC, equivalent to zoning, efficiency monitoring, machine alias administration, interactive topologies, programmable experiences, SAN Insights, VM integration, UCS visitors visualization, config backup and restore, swap picture administration, and a lengthy checklist of options. For the long-time customers of DCNM, particularly those that nonetheless use its Java GUI (generally known as thick consumer), the expertise of utilizing NDFC is totally different. I like to recommend beginning this transition ahead of later. Whereas making this transition, we’re open to your concepts for including new options and enhancing current options.

7. New Options and Administration of Newer Switches solely in NDFC

Not simply including current options from DCNM, however we’re additionally creating new options in NDFC. The important thing factors it that these new options are solely moving into NDFC. For instance, the brand new Configuration Monitor function routinely detects any drift from a golden NX-OS config and generates alarms (Determine 1). This detects any unintentional adjustments and helps in stopping injury to your surroundings.

Moreover new options, the newer 64GFC MDS switches (MDS 9124V, MDS 9148V, and later) can solely be managed by NDFC.

We nonetheless help DCNM and haven’t but introduced its finish of life. However we aren’t including new options and help for newer switches in DCNM. All of the innovation goes solely to NDFC.

ndfc san
Determine 1: NDFC routinely detects and notifies drift in NX-OS configuration.

8. Run NDFC as a Bodily Equipment

Bodily equipment (known as pND) is a brand new deployment mannequin for NDFC. Like Cisco Nexus and MDS switches the place the {hardware} and software program (NX-OS) is absolutely supported by Cisco, the pND {hardware} and software program are additionally absolutely supported by Cisco. This reduces the dependency on different groups for deploying and sustaining NDFC.

NDFC SAN Controller can be deployed on RHEL (known as rND) or as an OVA on ESXi (known as vND). We provide this flexibility to be able to select the most suitable choice in your surroundings. When you see worth in utilizing the bodily equipment (pND), that is one more reason for upgrading from DCNM to NDFC.

9. VM Site visitors Visibility

NDFC stitches end-to-end flows between VM and LUN (for SCSI visitors). This makes VM-Initiator-Goal-LUN (VM-ITL) move in SAN Insights. For NVMe visitors, an analogous move is named VM-ITN move the place N represents a Namespace.

DCNM offers I/O flows at a granularity of ITL or ITN. Stitching these flows to a VM requires guide correlation in vCenter. NDFC simplifies this step by routinely correlating ITL and ITN flows with the VMs.

This VM-ITL and VM-ITN move visibility in NDFC results in a lot sooner decision of gradual efficiency points.

ndfc san

10. Forestall SAN Congestion and Gradual-Drain utilizing DIRL

Congestion Evaluation function in NDFC (successor of DCNM Gradual Drain Evaluation) offers a topology visualization of the supply, trigger, and time of congestion. One other new function, known as Occasion Analytics, routinely receives congestion alerts from the Port-Monitor function on the MDS switches. These new options in NDFC enable correlation and investigation of congestion points utilizing intuitive charts and traits.

Moreover detecting congestion, NDFC additionally permits configuring Dynamic Ingress Charge Limiting (DIRL), which is a novel innovation on MDS switches for stopping congestion. NDFC additionally visualizes the outcomes of DIRL that additional enable optimizing congestion thresholds.

These new enhancements for detecting and stopping congestion are solely accessible in NDFC. You possibly can proceed to make use of Gradual-Drain Evaluation in DCNM however the full good thing about Congestion Evaluation and skill to configure and visualize DIRL is feasible solely after upgrading to NDFC.

Tips on how to Improve from DCNM to NDFC SAN?

We offer a instrument to simplify the improve from DCNM to NDFC SAN Controller. This instrument takes the backup of the found cloth, alarm insurance policies, server setting, and even the efficiency monitoring information from DCNM and restores these to NDFC.

My private advice is to run DCNM and NDFC in parallel for some time. Then decommission DCNM solely after you’re comfy working NDFC. In case your automation infrastructure depends on DCNM, this method offers sufficient time to replace and confirm NDFC RESTful APIs.

Check with the white paper for a step-by-step steerage for upgrading from DCNM to NDFC.


We proceed to help DCNM and haven’t but introduced its finish of life. However new improvements and help for newer switches is out there solely inside NDFC. With the third main launch, scale of one million I/O flows, stability, and newer options, now’s the proper time for upgrading from DCNM to NDFC SAN Controller. Beginning this transition sooner offers sufficient time for a sleek improve, get aware of the Nexus Dashboard platform, and confirm automation.

When you wish to see any new options in NDFC, please attain out to us through your account workforce or go away a remark under.


To study extra about NDFC, consult with the next sources.





Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments