Extending the Options for Data Storage and Protection
New software and hardware additions to Cisco's MDS 9000 products deliver storage area network (SAN) connectivity over longer distances with improved security and performance
September 20, 2004
These days, just about every aspect of a business resides on digital data. It has become the life-blood of commerce. To protect this precious commodity and ensure the ongoing operation of a business, corporations and organizations are turning to storage area networks (SANs), which help companies backup, protect, and archive their information and software applications. But coupled with the exponential growth in the amount of data now residing on computer networks around the world, protecting data is challenging at best.
With this challenge in mind, Cisco Systems has introduced new SAN hardware and software products for its award-winning Cisco MDS 9000 portfolio of data storage transportation and management technologies. The new products and enhancements help make SAN networking over longer distances on metro area networks (MANs) and wide area networks (WANs) more efficient, more flexible, more secure, and easier to manage. News@Cisco spoke with Luca Cafiero, senior vice president of the Data Center, Switching and Wireless Technology group, about the recent additions to the MDS 9000 family and how they will help organizations better protect their data and ensure the resilience of their IT infrastructure.
What SAN extension enhancements is Cisco announcing today?
Luca Cafiero: In terms of hardware, we are introducing both the Cisco MDS 9216i and the Multiprotocol Services Module, both offering 14 ports for Fibre Channel connectivity and two ports for IP storage connectivity. In software, we are introducing features such as hardware-based compression, FCIP tape acceleration, and hardware-based IPSec encryption. These new features complement an already robust set of intelligent networking services available on the Cisco MDS 9000, including comprehensive security, traffic management, diagnostics, multi-protocol support, and integrated management. Combined, these new products and features provide mission-critical enterprise storage networks the technology options they require for robust and cost-effective data backup, replication, and management.
What is the importance of today's announcement?
Luca Cafiero: The new products and features introduced today will help our customers transport storage traffic over metro and wide area networks faster, more securely, and more cost-efficiently. This makes our new products ideal for business continuance applications such as disaster recovery and remote tape backup. With this announcement, Cisco demonstrates it continues to lead the industry with the most comprehensive portfolio of SAN extension products. Multiple transport options, such as Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP) and Fibre Channel over an optical network, allow our customers to match their application requirements to the most cost-effective SAN extension technologies.
In a recent survey of 100 of Cisco's customers, 90 percent of the respondents identified disaster recovery and business continuity as a top IT priority. Similar studies conducted by industry research firms confirm this. Simply put, enterprises are looking for simpler, cheaper, and more effective technologies to help ensure that they can replicate and backup their data, restore their application processes, and resume their normal business practices as quickly as possible, even in the face of a major catastrophe.
Why is SAN extension important to disaster recovery and business continuity?
Luca Cafiero: Data is vital to any business, which makes protecting it a top priority for any IT manager. The principles of disaster recovery and business continuity dictate that primary and backup data centers should be located far away from each other so that a disaster in the primary data center does not affect the backup sites. SAN extension is vital to this process because it allows IT managers to use networks to connect remote data centers located hundreds to thousands of miles apart. Additionally, recent events have driven regulatory authorities to mandate new standards for disaster recovery and business continuance across many sectors, including financial and banking, insurance, health care, and government. This is a further imperative for companies to explore SAN extension technologies as part of an overall disaster recovery and business continuance plan.
How do Cisco's storage networking products fit within Cisco's larger "systems approach" to developing networking solutions?
Luca Cafiero: A network systems approach to data center storage lets organizations take advantage of their broader network infrastructure. This allows customers to lower costs while optimizing performance by having the flexibility to choose the most appropriate networking technology for any given application or computer resource. It also ensures maximized application availability and data integrity by providing a network infrastructure that makes use of the SAN easier across an entire network. The influence of data networking--or what we refer to as the development of the Intelligent Information Network--on the storage environment has accelerated adoption of more flexible, scalable, intelligent, and open storage technologies that result in faster innovation and, ultimately, lower costs. Examples of these innovations include improved diagnostics, more robust security, and optimized applications. In addition, an end-to-end Intelligent Information Network lets businesses take advantage of network-hosted application and storage services, such as volume management and data replication, as well as enhanced integration with computer and storage resources, such as blade servers and storage application appliances.
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