Cisco SN 5420 Storage Router Completes IBM Shark Interoperability Testing
New version 2.1.1 with enhanced IP storage networking capabilities featured at Storage Networking World
April 3, 2002
By Terry Moos
Cost-effective management and transport of storage of data will be on the minds of attendees at the Storage Networking World conference in Palm Desert, Calif. this week. What's high on their wish list these days? Interoperability among heterogeneous IT equipment solutions - precisely what Cisco Systems is showcasing with Cisco SN 5420 Storage Router v.2.1.1.
The new version, announced April 3rd, not only provides improved security, manageability, and reliability, but has been validated as interoperable with the IBM. Enterprise Storage Server, or Shark. The IBM Shark is the first enterprise-class storage subsystem that has been achieved this interoperability distinction with the Cisco SN 5420.
Today, systems and storage administrators regard interoperability as an important requirement for deploying any new storage hardware and software. By assuring the interoperability between the Cisco SN 5420 with IBM Shark, Cisco customers know that iSCSI and the Cisco SN 5420 can handle enterprise-class storage networking.
Bringing iSCSI and Fibre Channel technology togetheriSCSI (Internet Small Computer System Interface) is an IP-based storage networking standard for linking data storage facilities. Carrying commands over IP networks, iSCSI can be used (over existing Ethernet networks) to transmit data universally, enabling location-independent data storage and retrieval. Cisco and IBM have identified storage networking as a priority market for their strategic alliance. The two companies jointly authored the original iSCSI protocol and submitted it to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) In January 2000 for ratification as a standard. Today, more than 250 companies are working to achieve standardization, which is expected to be completed this year.
Fibre Channel is the high-performance transport protocol optimized for storage devices and networks. Customers can use iSCSI gateway devices, like the Cisco SN 5420, to provide their IP-attached servers access to Fibre Channel-enabled storage devices, such as the IBM Shark. This allows the use and maximization of existing IP and Fibre Channel infrastructures - which drives down the costs significantly.
Delivering IP advantages to storage networkingOther updates announced at the Storage Networking World event include extending Cisco's expertise of advanced IP networking services for use in storage networking. An example of this is support for Virtual LAN (VLAN) in the Cisco SN 5420, which allows servers to physically share the same storage network resources, while still restricting access to designated devices. Cisco has also added more support for standard Management Information Bases (MIBs) and has added support for CiscoWorks 2000 and Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP), to increase customer manageability To address reliability, customers will now be able to interconnect up to four Cisco SN 5420s together in a high-availability cluster that doesn't compromise on performance.
At Storage Networking World, conference attendees have access to an on-site Interoperability Lab that allows them to collaborate with engineers and systems architects from vendors like Cisco. The event, which is the industry's largest gathering of storage networking professionals and thought leaders, runs through April 5, 2002.
Terry Moos is a freelance writer based in Seattle, Washington.
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