News Release

Cisco Introduces iSCSI Network Boot for the Cisco SN 5400 Storage Routers

Enables Consistent, Reliable Access to Remote Servers from the Network
Oct 29, 2002

ORLANDO, Fla. - Oct. 29, 2002 - At the Storage Networking World Conference today, Cisco introduced a new feature for its Cisco SN 5400 Storage Router portfolio IP storage networking that continues the recent trend of iSCSI networking moving from mere concept to practical applications.

The feature, called Network Boot, allows customers to boot servers directly across an IP network, ensuring more consistent restarts and far-easier methods to replace failed servers than having to access and manage servers individually.

Network Boot essentially allows users to consolidate the system drive or "booting" functions from dozens of servers onto an external storage device (such as a disk subsystem) and access these servers directly from the network. Customers benefit from cost/time savings, improved network reliability, as well as being able to easily upgrade all servers to the most up-to-date versions of software from one central location.

The Cancer Therapy and Research Center (CTRC) in San Antonio, a world-class cancer treatment and research center handling over 10,000 patient visits per month including patients on clinical trials, is currently evaluating Network Boot for use with its Cisco SN 5428-based network. With a new patient being treated every ten minutes, the CTRC is looking to Network Boot to have quick and reliable access to patient records, which includes vital information such as treatment history. This requirement makes business continuance a top priority for the CTRC. To address this, the CTRC maintains two data center facilities that are interconnected over a campus IP network spanning 22 miles.

"Reliable access to our data is a must because system downtime can mean the difference between providing or missing a life-critical treatment for our patients," said Reed Eichner, VP and Chief Information Officer at the CTRC. "Network Boot over an IP provides us the reliable and consistent access to data we require but also at significant cost savings over other networking technologies we could have used."

Based on recent testing, Veritest, the exclusive provider of third-party independent testing for the Microsoft Certified for Windows program, today confirmed that Network Book met the certification requirements for Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, for supported hardware environments. To use Network Boot, Cisco SN 5400 customers must first have servers that have installed Cisco's iSCSI drivers for Microsoft Windows 2000 operating system.

The servers must also support Preboot eXecution Environment (PXE), an Intel-defined standard for remote booting and systems startup. Servers that do not currently support PXE can still use network boot in conjunction with standard Ethernet network interface cards such as Intel. PRO/1000 MT Server Adapters.

"Intel supports Cisco's open-standard approach to Network Boot, which further enhances the advantages of iSCSI," said Tim Dunn, general manager of Intel's LAN Access Division. "Used with any Intel PRO/1000 MT Server Adapter, Network Boot provides a cost-efficient solution required by today's IT professionals who need to easily and reliably manage growing quantities of stored data."

The emergence of Network Boot will also allow more customers to consider using densely clustered servers such as the 1 or 2U rack-mounted server appliances or the even more rack-dense blade servers. Blade servers are ultra-slim, fully functional servers that can fit six or more to a single chassis. These servers are designed to cut down on both acquisition and operational costs as they take up less space, use less power, and can be more efficiently managed than traditional servers.

"Cisco is introducing a new option to dramatically reduce their system management costs," said Gregory Schrubbe, Director of Storage Services and Consulting, IBM Global Services. "IBM is helping customers to integrate new storage networking advances, such as iSCSI Network Boot so they can achieve greater business efficiency."

Pricing and Availability

Network Boot is now available through the latest firmware upgrade for both the Cisco SN 5420 and Cisco SN 5428. It will also be available for the Cisco MDS 9000 Family. Customers with older versions of the firmware can now download the new version for free at