Hitachi, Cisco plan key rollouts at networking show

Cisco Systems and Hitachi Data Systems both plan to use this week's Storage Networking World conference to announce major additions to their storage product lines.

HDS plans to disclose at the conference that it's using Network Appliance's FAS900 file server engine in front of its Lightning 9900V storage array to create a high-end network-attached storage (NAS) device. The combined product will be available within the next few weeks, said Phil Townsend, senior director of product marketing at HDS.

Chicago-based Archipelago LLC, which operates an electronic stock-trading network, uses one of HDS's Lightning 9970 arrays to back up Wintel and Sun Solaris servers on a storage-area network (SAN). Steve Rubinow, Archipelago's chief technology officer, said the NAS device is of interest to him because it uses proven technology from two industry leaders. But Rubinow added that his storage infrastructure still has room to grow, so he has no immediate plans to buy the NAS products.

Michael Peterson, an analyst at Strategic Research, said HDS's position as one of the top vendors of storage devices for SANs should help it as it enters the high-end NAS sector.

"Anything that gives the customer . . . a single throat to choke is good in the end," Peterson said, referring to HDS's new ability to supply both SAN and NAS products.

The IP Connection

Cisco is announcing a series of products that use Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP) to transport block-level data via the Internet at Gigabit Ethernet speeds. FCIP, a tunneling technology that began to show up in products last year, is most often used to connect remote SANs to a central data center for data backup purposes.

Cisco's FCIP products include an upgrade to its SN 5428 storage switch that will let storage administrators link departmental or workgroup SANs. The company will also announce an eight-port line card that can send data via both FCIP and SCSI over IP for its MDS 9000 series of SAN directors and switches, plus Fibre Channel port adapters for its 7200 and 7400 series routers.

Total System Services, a credit card transaction-processing company, is using two Cisco MDS 9216 multilayer fabric switches equipped with the new line cards to provide FCIP connectivity between a pair of IBM FAStT500 storage arrays in data centers 17 miles apart. Total System Services is mirroring up to 2TB of data between the arrays, said Selvin Hollingsworth, the company's director of network services.

Hollingsworth said it took just minutes to install the line cards and noted that the technology has worked flawlessly. He said he's considering using it to cobble together storage devices in other data centers.

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