Find out the storage networking equipment category winners in Storage magazine's/SearchStorage.com's 2009 enterprise data storage Products of the Year awards.
SearchStorage.com senior news director Dave Raffo discusses the 2009 winners in the storage networking equipment category, which encompasses technologies such as switches, host bus adapters (HBAs), network interface cards (NICs), storage virtualization appliances and security devices.
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Storage networking equipment Products of the Year winners
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Products were judged by a panel of users, analysts, consultants, and Storage magazine and SearchStorage.com editors. Judges rated the products on six criteria: innovation, performance, ease of integration into environment, ease of use and manageability, functionality and value.
Last year's big winner in this category was Riverbed Technology's Riverbed Optimization System 5.0.
Here are the winners in the Products of the Year 2009 storage networking equipment category:
Bronze: VirtenSys Inc. VIO 4000 Series I/O Virtualization (IOV) Switch
VirtenSys VIO 4000 Series I/O Virtualization Switch made it into the storage networking top-three list by consolidating, virtualizing and sharing standard Ethernet NICs, Fibre Channel (FC) HBAs and SAS controllers to relieve I/O bottlenecks.
With its server and storage virtualization capabilities, VirtenSys is one of only a handful of companies offering true virtualization benefits for storage network infrastructures.
I/O virtualization is a fairly new technology for storage and networking. The idea is to bring the features of Ethernet NICs, Fibre Channel HBAs and SAS controllers to one switch. This can relieve I/O bottlenecks and reduce the amount of storage components you need in the I/O network.
The VirtenSys switch provides up to 40 GB of bandwidth to each server. It appears as a physical I/O adapter to conventional or virtualized environments, and does not require any changes to the current software, firmware, physical connections or management tools in the network.
Silver: QLogic Corp. 8100 Series Converged Network Adapters
The Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) QLogic 8100 Converged Network Adapter uses a single chip set to allow storage admins to extend server and storage consolidation and virtualization projects by converging Fibre Channel and Ethernet networks.
The ability to perform a full hardware offload for protocol processing should greatly benefit those looking ahead to an FCoE integration.
We're starting to hear a lot about FCoE and these converged network adapters (CNAs) are really the FCoE versions of the HBAs that are currently used for FC storage-area networks (SANs). The QLogic 8100 Series is actually a second-generation CNA. The second-generation series is a single chip CNA that puts five previously separate capabilities on one ASIC. This relieves the need to use an FC switch, Ethernet switch and NIC when networks converge around FCoE.
Since the FCoE echo system is really still in its early days, the full value of this technology could still be a little ways off. But this is definitely a necessary building block to make FCoE available and usable.
Gold: Storspeed Inc. SP5000 Application-Aware Cache
Storspeed's SP5000 allows users to create a virtual performance layer and selectively apply administrator-created performance profiles to users and applications.
The SP5000 started shipping in October 2009 and its $65,000 base price includes 80 GB of dynamic RAM (DRAM), eight bays for flash-based solid-state drives (SSDs), a storage-usage metrics application and storage optimization tools.
The idea behind this product is to drive performance for file-based storage by reducing latency without disrupting applications. This is a 2U device deployed in-band in the network and uses fast packet inspection to determine how to populate a network cache and deliver predictable, high-performance storage to users and their applications, regardless of the back-end storage infrastructure.
Because the SP5000 is deployed in-band, it will not disrupt the servers or storage devices that are already on the network.