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Cisco bridges the IP storage gap

Cisco pulled back the curtain Monday on a new line of IP storage networking products. The announcement kicked off this week's Storage Networking World conference in Phoenix.

PHOENIX -- Cisco Systems kicked off the Storage Networking World conference Monday by pulling back the curtain on a new line of IP storage networking gear that extends the reach of Fibre Channel SANs over IP networks.

Cisco's new IP products number three, and they were designed to expand Fibre Channel storage area networks (SANs) to additional servers and applications within data centers and departments over local, metro and wide area networks.

"This is a suite of products for SAN multi-protocol SAN extension over SANs, MANs and WANs," said Edward Chapman, senior director of product management for Cisco's storage technology group.

Chapman said that Cisco believes interest in IP storage will explode in 2003 due to operating system support from the likes of Microsoft and others. "We're going to see some larger deployments of iSCSI as a SAN solution," he said.

He said the new IP storage networking devices will extend applications such as replication, mirroring and backup over IP.

Tony Prigmore, senior analyst for the Milford, Mass-based Enterprise Storage Group Inc., said that Cisco is taking steps toward enabling replication over IP WANs, a method that is sure to gain popularity among customers in short order.

Prigmore's colleague and a technology analyst for Enterprise Storage Group, Peter Gerr, said Cisco is embedding storage services into the SAN fabric.

According to Cisco, the MDS 9000 IP Storage Services Module, the FCIP Port Adapter and the SN 5428-2 Storage Router connect Fibre Channel-attached devices using the iSCSI and FCIP protocols. The MDS 9000 IP Storage Services Module is an 8-port card for Cisco's 9000 family of storage switches. They can support both iSCSI and FCIP simultaneously on each Gigabit Ethernet port. The FCIP Port Adapter is aimed at users looking to connect their existing SANs over long distances. The SN 5428-2 Storage Router is an upgrade to the 5428 SAN switch.

The Port Adapter for the Cisco 7200 and 7400 routers and the 5428-2 Storage Router are available now and start at $9,995 and $11,995, respectively. Cisco expects the MDS 9000 IP Storage Services Module to be available in June 2003.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

IBM to resell Cisco storage switches

Cisco releases API for MDS 9000 switches

HP to sell Cisco storage switches

Let us know what you think of this story. E-mail Kevin Komiega, News Writer

Dig Deeper on SAN technology and arrays

IP storage switch and routers: Product snapshots IP storage networks have emerged as a versatile and inexpensive alternative to traditional Fibre Channel SANs, and IP SAN deployments -- primarily iSCSI -- are appearing in businesses of all sizes. iSCSI offers good speed and reliability, and can transport storage data across the Internet. IP SANs rely on IP storage switches and routers to segment storage traffic and keep it isolated from everyday user traffic. Today's IP switches and routers even offer advanced features like compression, acceleration, clustering, failover, and multipathing; optimizing WAN bandwidth and maintaining IP SAN availability in the event of hardware problems. The product snapshots in this chapter highlight key specifications for a cross section of popular IP storage switch and router products.
Purchasing IP storage switch and router technology IP network (e.g., Ethernet) technology and components are inexpensive and readily available; offering ubiquitous deployment from the SOHO to the largest corporate user LAN. By supporting SCSI storage commands across the IP network, organizations of all sizes can now deploy inexpensive storage networks capable of transporting storage data anywhere Internet access is available. Devices like switches and routers play critical roles in IP storage performance by segmenting storage traffic, keeping that traffic separated from regular LAN user traffic, and maintaining security. The most current IP switches and routers even provide high-end features such as active/active clustered failover, failback, and multipathing capabilities for improved reliability. The choice of an IP switch or router demands careful consideration of issues including port speed, segmentation, interoperability, security, and application compatibility. You'll also find a series of specifications to help make on-the-spot product comparisons between vendors.

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