Storage Technology Corp has launched the next stage in its push into fibre channel storage, detailing its SAN storage area networking strategy along with the first products in its new StorageNet line, and an OEM deal with fibre channel switch supplier Brocade Communications Systems Inc. StorageTek first began talking about its fibre future at the […]
Storage Technology Corp has launched the next stage in its push into fibre channel storage, detailing its SAN storage area networking strategy along with the first products in its new StorageNet line, and an OEM deal with fibre channel switch supplier Brocade Communications Systems Inc. StorageTek first began talking about its fibre future at the end of last year (CI No 3,271), when it introduced its first fibre channel-enabled disk subsystem. Now the company has introduced the StorageNet Access Hub, which it says is the world’s first multiple loop fibre channel hub, and a key component of its storage area network plan. The Access Hub is a 32 port fibre channel hub with a switch fabric backplane. In traditional single arbitrated loop hubs, all devices share the same 100Mb/sec bandwidth, and all other communication is blocked when two nodes communicate. The Access Hub supports up to 16 concurrent, full bandwidth FC-AL fibre channel arbitrated loops, along with web-based graphical configuration management and switch-like zoning capabilities. The result is switch-like performance at hub-like prices of under $1,000 per port, according to StorageTek. For those customers who still require a full switch, the company is offering Brocade products under the StorageTek Fibre Channel Switch 4000 label. Storage requirements at major companies are doubling every year and likely to do so for the next five years, according to market projections, driven by applications such as data warehousing, video and web serving where there is a requirement to directly access large files on demand. Doubling storage has often meant that server power must also be scaled up to cope with the extra load. StorageTek proposes that the intelligence is shifted from either the server (Sun Microsystems Inc’s approach) or the storage controller (EMC Corp’s preference) and into the network, including file conversion functions. Fibre channel is the basis for StorageTek’s SAN strategy, and its network systems group has been putting together a set of hardware, system software and vertical market application software to sell in conjunction with its own storage products or those of other vendors. Its longer- term plan over the next three years is to build open storage networks that include management and information sharing between mainframe, Unix and Windows NT platforms. StorageTek has OEM agreements with Hewlett Packard Co, Sun Microsystems Inc and Compaq Computer Corp amongst others, all of whom have other storage plans in place, but says it still expects to make more than half of its sales through OEM and distribution channels. The Access Hub is due out in September, the Fibre Channel Switch 4000 is shipping now.