EMC bolsters SAN's availability, scalability

EMC Corp. this week announced a series of Fibre Channel switches and storage products at NetWorld+Interop that market-watchers say will make it easier for network managers to deploy distributed and available storage-area networks.

The company introduced three new Fibre Channel switches - an enterprise-sized 64-port switch; a 32-port switch and a 16-port workgroup switch - and software that lets net managers bridge geographically separated SANs for increased availability and disaster recovery using IP.

The Connectrix ED-64M director is an enterprise-class full-fabric switch that can be used to consolidate servers and storage devices; the Connectrix DS-32M is designed for midsized SANs and departments within enterprises; the Connectrix DS-16M is a workgroup switch. The new switches have twice the port density and take just half the floor-space of previous EMC switches. They are designed for companies where space is at a premium.

EMC also announced it is able to transport data over IP between geographically distant SANs, with its Symmetrix Remote Data Facility (SRDF) Fibre Channel over IP (FC-IP) software and hardware. SRDF is data-replication software. SRDF FC-IP is suitable for Web content distribution, data center migration, application development and storage load balancing. The software eliminates the need to have multiple copies of an application, reduces the amount of trained staff needed at a site and increases user productivity.

SRDF FC-IP is implemented with CNT's UltraNet Director product. In a typical configuration, an EMC Symmetrix would copy data to another Symmetrix via an UltraNet Director on either side of an IP link.

SRDF/DM uses Adaptive Copy mode to transfer data between multiple Symmetrix arrays using public or private networks. It moves storage data originating from any server platform or operating system, locally within a SAN or remotely through a WAN. In Adaptive Copy, data is transferred from the source Symmetrix to the remote Symmetrix without waiting for an acknowledgement for each packet of data sent, thus increasing the data transfer rate.

"In the SAN world, movement of data between different locations is a fact of life," says Randy Kern, an analyst with the Evaluator Group. "It's done all the time. EMC has just made it easier. You would use it to move data to other locations for data mining and data warehousing."

Dataquest says the replication market will more than double by 2004. It is a US$1.2 billion market today, forecasted to grow to $2.8 billion by 2004.

The ED-64M is $350,000; the 32-port DS-32M is $65,000; and, the DS-16M is $33,000. SRDF-DM starts at $66,000 and includes two licenses and two boxes from CNT. SRDF FC-IP is priced starting at $66,000.

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