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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.


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

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