QLogic introduces the entry-level SANbox 8-port switch

QLogic introduces the entry-level SANbox 8-port switch

Following the introduction of the 16-port SANbox(2) 2 Gbit/sec switch more than a year ago, the SANbox 8-port fabric switch is based on the same architecture as the 16-port version. It features a compact 1 U half-wide rack enclosure and an expected street price of $5,000, or $625 per port. The SANbox 8-port is positioned as an entry- level product.

All SANbox 8-port features are also available through QLogic's API. QLogic expects the SANbox 8-port switch to have a street price of under $625 per port, the identical port price for its 16-port version.

Evaluator Group comments:

The SANbox 8-port is a welcome addition to QLogic's portfolio. It is a richly featured fabric switch that is fully competitive with other 2-Gbit edge switches in its class. What makes the SANbox 8-port particularly attractive is its performance features, small form factor, and very aggressive pricing. Using the identical ASIC as the 16-port sister product, the SANbox 8-port switch's specified latency is one-sixth that of other 2-Gbit switches. Because it allocates 12 credit buffers to every port, the switch supports full 2-Gbit/sec bandwidth for distances of 120 kilometers, twice the distance of what other vendors claim.

QLogic elected to package the SANbox 8-port in half the width of other competitor products in its class, using a single fan as compared to Brocade's Silkworm 3200 redundant fan configuration and Vixel's 9100 and Gadzoox's Slingshot 4210(1) N+1 fan configurations. While it could be argued that some OEMs and integrators may not want to redesign their packaging to accommodate a half-width design, a dual redundant full-rack QLogic solution consisting of two meshed SANbox 8-port switches makes for a very attractive, highly available entry level SAN solution.

QLogic has taken an aggressive stance on pricing the SANbox products. Not only does the $625 "expected street price" that QLogic claims come well under Brocade's comparable claim of $1000/port for the Silkworm 3200, but QLogic has also bundled in a number of software features, such as extended distance (up to 120 kilometers), E_Port capability on every port(2), and support for private loop devices.

In our opinion, customers buy SAN solutions, not just point products. In the entry-level SAN market, potential converts to SAN technology do not have the time, training, or budget to become sophisticated Fibre Channel SAN users. They need simple solutions that include all the components of SAN - switches, HBAs, storage, management software, and support - in an easy-to-install and easy-to-operate package. QLogic's SANbox 8-port switch is an attractive entry-level product. We applaud QLogic's efforts at spearheading the "Affordable SAN Initiative" program, a program involving 35 SAN storage and software developers designed to promote entry-level SAN solutions with end-user pricing of $50,000 or less.

  1. The Slingshot 4210 has 10 ports, 2 more than the other products in its class.
  2. Brocade's Silkworm 3200 Entry Fabric option supports on E_Port, with an option to upgrade to E_Port support on every port for an additional software license fee.

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The Evaluator Series and Evaluator Series On-Line (ES/OL) are trademarks of Evaluator Group, Inc.


This was first published in April 2002

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