Vendors spotlight storage over LANs at N+I

EMC, Cisco Systems and Nortel Networks and storage start-ups SAN Valley and 3ware demonstrated at NetWorld+Interop 2000 in Atlanta last week technologies for routing and switching storage data over Gigabit Ethernet and optical networks for replication, backup and disaster recovery.

With these technologies, users can less expensively join remote storage-area networks (SANs) and send data over IP-based networks to back up networks, replicate data for increased availability and protect systems from downtime.

"By being able to tie SAN islands together and send storage data over IP, users start to approach the global network they thought they were getting when they implemented SANs," says Steve Duplessie, an analyst with Enterprise Storage Group in the US.

IP storage start-up SAN Valley will show the SL1000 Gateway, a 1 7/8in- high rack-mountable device with redundant power and cooling. It uses technology that encapsulates Fibre Channel data in Gigabit Ethernet packets for transport from one remote SAN to another.

In a typical configuration, the SAN connects to an SL1000 Gateway via a Fibre Channel switch where it is shunted across the IP-based network to a SAN on the other side. SAN Valley's SL1000 Gateway will conform to the Fibre Channel over IP standard when the American National Standards Institute ratifies it next year, the company claims.

Another technology, iSCSI, which will be finalised by the end of next year, has been adopted by 3ware.

The technology uses iSCSI to transport block storage over Gigabit Ethernet to 3ware Network Storage Units (NSU). The NSUs will also be adapted to transport Fibre Channel data over Gigabit Ethernet. The proposed iSCSI standard is sponsored by Cisco and IBM, and has been submitted to the Internet Engineering Task Force.

In a 3ware configuration, an NSU connects to the Gigabit Ethernet network using a nonblocking packet-switching technology. Each data block transferred from the host computer has equal access to storage. 3ware's NSU will be upgradable to the iSCSI specification when it is available. Each NSU contains up to 600Gbytes of storage. The NSU also has hot-swappable disk and power supplies.

EMC will also show Fibre Channel data being quickly transported long distances between SANs over IP.

The company's package consists of EMC Symmetrix storage arrays, a Connectrix switch, replication software and a Cisco Metro 1500 or Nortel Networks OPTera Metro dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) router.

SAN Valley: www.sanvalley. com; 3ware: www.3ware.com; EMC: www.emc.com; Cisco: www.cisco.com; Nortel: www. nortel.com.

* Storage feature starts page 24

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