News Release

Cisco Introduces New Firmware and More Storage Interoperability Successes for Cisco SN 5420 Storage Router

PALM DESERT, Calif. - April 3, 2002 - Cisco today announced
Apr 03, 2002

PALM DESERT, Calif. - April 3, 2002 - Cisco today announced the availability of the Cisco SN 5420 Storage Router v 2.1.1, a firmware upgrade that improves security, reliability and manageability features. Cisco also announced additional interoperability and iSCSI driver support that will allow customers to use the Cisco SN 5420 in more storage and server environments.

The award-winning Cisco SN 5420 allows customers to cost effectively extend storage networking to their departmental servers and midrange applications, which lowers their total cost of owning storage and delivers improved business continuance capabilities. Using the combination of the Cisco SN 5420 and standard Ethernet switches, customers can aggregate any number of midrange servers, taking advantage of their current IP infrastructure while providing a gateway to Fibre Channel storage devices and networks.

"The increasing value of data existing in Fibre Channel SANs presents a ready market for iSCSI to extend the SAN connections to any and all servers by means of the IP infrastructure that otherwise cannot be conveniently connected using Fibre Channel," said James Opfer, principal analyst at Gartner/Dataquest. "Recognizing the importance of iSCSI providing connectivity to servers to supplement the storage-centric connectivity of Fibre Channel, Gartner/Dataquest forecasts a robust market for iSCSI initiators and devices that provide the bridging between IP-based SAN components and Fibre Channel SANs."

Cisco SN 5420 Feature Updates

The Cisco SN 5420 firmware adds new, advanced features that have long been standard within Cisco's IP networking solutions, but up until now had not been applied to networked storage. Through its IP expertise, Cisco extends these features to storage networks, giving customers highly available, secure, and easier-to-manage access to storage resources. Specific feature updates include:

Security: With the new Virtual LAN (VLAN) support, servers connected to the Cisco SN 5420 can physically share the same storage network resources but will only have access to designated devices. For example, enterprises can use VLANs to securely allow different divisions or business units to share the same storage network, eliminating the costly need to build separate networks for each group. The Cisco SN 5420 now also supports VLAN Trunking protocol, which helps better manage and control VLANs.

Other security features include improved authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA) through support for RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service) and TACACS+ (Terminal Access Controller Access Control System), which both use CHAP (Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol).

Reliability: Customers can now interconnect up to four Cisco SN 5420s in a single cluster that provide high availability without compromising performance. Previously, the customers could interconnect two Cisco SN 5420s per cluster.

Manageability: The Cisco SN 5420 now supports more standard Management Information Bases (MIBs), including the iSCSI and the Fibre Alliance MIB. By using standards MIBs, customers can use their familiarity with industry-standard SNMP system managers and heterogeneous storage management applications to manage the Cisco SN 5420. In addition to SNMP management, the Cisco SN 5420 now also supports CiscoWorks 2000, Cisco's Network Management product suite, and CDP (Cisco Discovery Protocol). With CDP, devices interconnected to the Cisco SN 5420 can be discovered and displayed in a variety of standard network topology formats.

Interoperability Updates

New iSCSI Drivers: The Cisco SN 5420 will soon include driver or initiator support for HP-UX and IBM AIX server operating systems, complementing its industry-leading breadth of iSCSI drivers, which are already available for Microsoft Windows NT and Windows 2000, Sun Solaris, and several flavors of Linux.

New Interoperability Testing: Cisco also announced that two additional storage industry companies, IBM and Legato Systems, Inc., validated the Cisco SN 5420 as interoperable with their respective solutions. IBM successfully tested the Cisco SN 5420 as interoperable with the IBM TotalStorage Enterprise Storage Server (code named "Shark"), becoming the first enterprise-class storage system to achieve this distinction. Legato qualified the Cisco SN 5420 for interoperability with Legato NetWorker. 6.1, the software-based information protection solution for heterogeneous IT environments. These successes add to previous qualifications of the Cisco SN 5420, joining Alacritech, Brocade, INRANGE, Intel, McData, Quantum|ATL, and VERITAS.

IBM Enterprise Storage Server Testing: The Enterprise Storage Server is IBM's premier disk array-based solution for storage networking. The testing of IBM's Enterprise Storage Server with the Cisco SN 5420 was part of a larger storage networking environment that simulated a number of disk-to-disk, disk-to-tape data replication and storage scenarios. Cisco and IBM have also entered into a cooperative support agreement covering various Cisco and IBM products - including the Cisco SN 5420 and the Enterprise Storage Server. That agreement is intended to make it easier for customers to receive appropriate support when using either company's products in a heterogeneous storage networking environment.

"The primary objective of this test was to use the Cisco SN 5420 as a way to further evaluate iSCSI as a viable storage solution protocol with our Enterprise Storage Server," said Barry Rudolph, vice president, IBM Storage Systems Group. "The Cisco SN 5420 successfully completed our demanding tests."

The combination of the Cisco SN 5420 and the IBM Enterprise Storage Server has been successfully deployed at Kansas Farm Bureau Services (KFBS), based in Manhattan, Kansas. The IT department at KFBS turned to iSCSI as a cost-effective and high-performance way to attach multiple servers to its single IBM storage array over a Gigabit Ethernet link provided by the company's Cisco Catalyst. 6509 multiservice switch.

"We chose the IBM Shark to consolidate all of our storage needs in a single platform, making our storage easier to manage and scale," said Annette Zarkowski, LAN Administrator at KFBS. "By adding iSCSI with the Cisco SN 5420, we were able to provide multiple servers the performance benefits of block I/O-level data access to this storage, using the network infrastructure we already had in place. A cost-effective solution such as this would not have been possible before iSCSI and IP storage networking."

Legato NetWorker. Testing: The Legato NetWorker test demonstrated how a typical enterprise can cost effectively perform business continuance applications over a highly heterogeneous IT infrastructure. The test featured multi-OS servers and clients (Sun Solaris, Microsoft Windows 2000 and NT, and Linux) accessing information from converged Ethernet/IP LAN and Fibre Channel storage network, made possible through the Cisco SN 5420.

"Assuring business continuance is top-of-mind for many IT managers today," said George Symons, vice president, product management and development, Legato Systems. "Yet, IT managers must also be cognizant of reducing or at least maintaining their operating budgets. The interoperability test with Cisco exemplifies how these managers can use their existing data and storage equipment more efficiently while improving their organizations' business continuance strategies."

Pricing and Availability

The new Cisco SN 5420 firmware is now available for download at no charge on CCO ( for Cisco SN 5420 customers with SMARTNet contracts. All new Cisco SN 5420s will ship with the latest firmware. The iSCSI drivers for HP-UX and IBM AIX are expected to be available by the end of April.