Cisco Introduces Firmware Upgrade for Storage Routers

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Cisco today announced the availability of the Cisco SN 5420 Storage Router v 2.1.1, a firmware upgrade that it said 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 company said the Cisco SN 5420 allows customers to 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, the Cisco said customers can aggregate any number of midrange servers.

“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 said the Cisco SN 5420 firmware adds new, advanced features that have long been standard within Cisco’s IP networking solutions.

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: 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(R) 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.

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