SAN JOSE, Calif. - April 27, 2004 - Cisco today announced that IBM has qualified and will resell a number of Fiber Connection (FICON) related features on the Cisco MDS 9000 Family of Multilayer Intelligent directors and fabric switches that will allow IBM mainframe customers to take advantage of the reliability, scalability, and intelligent network services available on the Cisco storage area networking (SAN) switches.
FICON is a high-speed input/output (I/O) interface for mainframe connections to storage devices. Cisco introduced FICON connectivity and FICON Control Unit Port (CUP) management support on the Cisco MDS 9000 with its SAN-OS 1.3 software release. Cisco was also industry-first in introducing an integrated approach to extending FICON over Internet Protocol (IP) networks using Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP). IBM qualified these features based on interoperability testing of the Cisco MDS 9000 within IBM S/390 and zSeries environments at its Poughkeepsie Lab.
The availability of these features now allow Cisco and IBM customers to address storage networking at an enterprise-wide scale utilizing both mainframe and open-systems computing technologies. For example, the integrated FICON over FCIP support provides new options for customers seeking simplified, cost-effective ways to implement their business continuance strategies. Previously, customers would have needed a separate channel-extension appliance to extend FICON over IP networks using FCIP technology.
The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF), the nation's largest data provider, has been successfully using the integrated FICON over FCIP support on the Cisco MDS 9000 to interconnect its property information data centers between Anaheim, Calif., and Dallas - a distance of more than 2,200 kilometers. With mainframe-based SANs installed at both data centers running mission-critical applications, First American extended FICON over the IP wide area network using FCIP to help support rapid recovery of data and business processes in the event of systems failure at any one site.
"The integrated FCIP support on the Cisco MDS 9000 was particularly appealing to us as it reduces management complexities and costs versus a Fibre Channel switch-and-FCIP appliance deployment model," said Evan Jafa, chief technical officer at First American's Property and Information Services group. "The Cisco MDS 9000 also offers a number of other intelligent networking services that we can apply to our mainframe SANs, including virtual SAN (VSAN) technology, which we can use to intermix and support mainframe and open-systems servers on the same fabric. These integrated features will be valuable in improving our overall storage networking and business continuity infrastructure."
Along with the FICON, FICON CUP, and integrated FICON over FCIP on the Cisco MDS 9000, IBM has also announced support with IBM TotalStorage Virtual Tape Server and Extended Remote Copy (XRC) technology over FICON and FCIP, which offers customers higher-capacity and faster SAN-based data backup and long-distance data replication capabilities respectively.
Other Product Announcements
IBM is also making generally available a number of open systems products and features. New offerings include support for data replication services (e.g., peer-to-peer remote copy) with the IBM TotalStorage® SAN Volume Controller over FCIP. This announcement applies to both the IBM TotalStorage® SAN Volume Controller Storage Software for Cisco MDS 9000, a solution combining IBM's SAN Volume Controller storage software and the Cisco MDS 9000 Caching Services Module, as well as the IBM TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller, an IBM appliance-based solution.
Newly available Cisco MDS 9000 products include the 4-port IP Storage Services Module (IPS-4), Port Analyzer Adapter-2, and the Fabric Manager Server 2.0. The Cisco MDS 9000 IPS-4 is identical to the 8-port version in that it can support either Internet Small Computer Systems Interface (iSCSI) or FCIP in any of its four Gigabit Ethernet ports. Through the Cisco MDS 9000 IPS-8 module, Cisco was the first industry vendor to offer integrated IP storage support in director and fabric-class SAN switches. With the Cisco MDS 9000 IPS-4, IBM will be able to offer the benefits of IP storage connectivity at even lower cost points.
IBM was the first Cisco Original Storage Manufacturer (OSM), a select group of storage vendors who offer, support, and service complete SAN solutions. Cisco and IBM share a long history of offering networking solutions to mutual customers, a strategic alliance that extended to storage networking when IBM began reselling the Cisco MDS 9000 directly and through its IBM Business Partners in March 2003.
"These new Cisco MDS 9000 features and products helps IBM deliver even more flexible SAN configurations for reliable, scalable, and cost-effective storage, backup consolidation and business continuity solutions across open systems and mainframe environments," said Cindy Grossman, director of Disk Marketing, IBM Storage Systems. "Again, our strong relationship with Cisco has enabled IBM to be the very first storage vendor to bring these technologies to market."
Pricing and Availability
IBM is expected to make these new features and products generally available to customers and IBM Business Partners on May 7. Customers should contact IBM for pricing information.