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Cisco Systems Inc.'s MDS 9509 has raised the bar for director-class switches. The MDS 9509 is playing a leading role in bringing intelligence to the storage fabric with virtual storage area networks (VSANs), security, advanced traffic management and unified SAN management. In addition, the Cisco MDS 9509 provides multiprotocol integration and an open platform for embedding intelligent storage services such as network-hosted virtualization.
Cisco has championed VSANs as one way to consolidate SAN islands onto a single physical SAN, while still partitioning them as completely separate logical entities. VSANs provide all the security and fabric services of traditional
| SANs, yet give organizations the flexibility to easily move and isolate resources from one VSAN to another, which can simplify management.
In addition to VSANs, the Cisco MDS 9509 provides an open platform for hosting storage services such as network-based virtualization and replication. The switch supports all the major security standards including RADIUS authentication, Simple Network Management Protocol Version 3, Secure Shell Protocol, Secure File Transfer Protocol and FC Security Protocol, as well as hardware-enforced zoning, LUN zoning, read-only zones and ACLs.
In storage, things don't always go as planned. To help isolate and solve problems, the Cisco MDS 9509 has an impressive number of diagnostic features such as Switch Port Analyzer and Cisco Fabric Analyzer, which allow a user to remotely and nondisruptively diagnose fabric events. These tools significantly decrease the time to install, reconfigure and maintain a storage network. Other helpful debugging tools such as FC Ping, FC Trace Route and an extensive set of debug commands further help analyze and fix network problems.
Other nice-to-have bells and whistles include full redundancy of all major components, up to 224 2Gb/s and 1Gb/s auto-sensing FC ports and ties to other leading storage company products via an open API.
CNT UltraNet Edge Storage Router - Model 3000
Computer Network Technology Corp.'s (CNT) UltraNet Edge Storage Router is a flexible, multiprotocol storage networking platform that interconnects and extends FC and FICON SANs over IP, ATM or SONET networks. The CNT router eliminates many of the headaches involved in managing diverse networks and reducing the cost of shipping data over long distances.
The largest expense associated with remote storage applications is the network bandwidth. Judges praised CNT for implementing a number of techniques to reduce bandwidth costs by efficiently utilizing available network resources. For example, the Edge 3000's hardware-based compression can achieve 4:1 to 20:1 compression ratios, which significantly lowers the amount of bandwidth needed to support an application. CNT's management software allows users to view, configure and manage their entire remote storage application from a single console across multiple protocols and domains. The management software can be closely linked to policy engines to facilitate cross-domain analysis of performance, fault isolation and application impact.
In addition, the Edge 3000 includes a configuration attribute called State Change Management, which isolates faults from propagating through a fabric domain and minimizes the impact of component outages. The Edge 3000 also manages mixed traffic within a network. This means a storage manager can keep storage traffic from oversubscribing the network and causing issues with other applications.
The UltraNet Edge 3000 storage router is a useful tool for managing storage data over diverse networks.
We like Sanrad Inc.'s V-Switch 3000 because it brings advanced storage features to an IP SAN for a low price. With the switch's intelligent routing functions, a company can build a high-performance IP SAN that includes security, multipathing, failover protection and data replication at a fraction of the cost of a traditional FC SAN.
The iSCSI V-Switch gathers all physically attached storage resources (SCSI and FC) into a single pool of virtualized storage. From a single management interface, storage administrators can create virtual volumes and provide secure access to distributed servers and defines secure user access for each individual storage volume. Volume management includes mirroring, striping, intra-SAN synchronous mirroring and LUN carving.
The iSCSI V-Switch is compatible with Linux, Microsoft, Novell and all popular disk and tape storage systems. Prices for the V-Switch 3000 range from $15,000 to $25,000, which places SAN technology well within the reach of small to medium-sized companies that were previously unable to afford the cost of a FC SAN.
This was first published in January 2004