Computer Network Technology Corp. plans to break new ground this week with technology designed to extend a storage area network (SAN) over a wide-area network by moving storage over IP. The new solution allows SCSI, Fibre Channel, remote tape vaulting for backup, and data replication over an IP backbone.
"What the CNT [UltraNet] stuff does is effectively virtualize SAN for use in a wide area network. Users can see remote SAN-based devices as local," said Steve Duplessie analyst for the Enterprise Storage Group in Milford, Mass. "It has huge potential impact on areas like disaster recovery and data distribution - users can mirror local devices and have automatic replication to remote sites, while the host maintains awareness," he said "It's a big deal."
"Our technology is a buffer, if you will," said Brian Larsen, director of product management for CNT. "We break storage up into packets," he said, describing the new solution. He said that CNT's UltraNet devices trick a Fibre channel HBA into "not caring" about distance. According to Larsen, the CNT device presents itself to the router as just another IP device, and presents itself to the SCSI and the Fibre Channel switch as another Fibre channel device.
CNT says that a site maintaining its own data using a local SAN can utilize CNT's fully automated IP solution to secure data in off-site storage, via the long distance IP backbone. With under-utilized or idle IP bandwidth, Site A connects to Site B (or C or D) to use that site's storage for remote data protection. Sites B, C, and D can repeat the same plan - using an existing infrastructure and existing components for a new backup application, securing data according to CNT.
Paul Martin, vice president of engineering operations for CNT, said that while every IP network varies, CNT can move storage over IP at a rate of up to 95% of a 100 megabit Ethernet pipe, and possibly faster if the data is compressible. "The only limits are the Ethernet pipes themselves," he said.Komiega is a SearchStorage.com assistant editor.