IBM and McDATA Team Up to Take FICON to New Levels

McDATA and IBM announced today that through a joint effort they are developing two compelling technological innovations to IBM’s FICON mainframe protocol — FICON Intermix and FICON Cascading. These developments can help save customers time and money and allow for easy scalability of storage infrastructures as customers consolidate their Mainframe and Open Systems storage environments. The solution is designed to enable customers to improve investment protection and their total cost of ownership (TCO).

“By bringing these technological developments — FICON Intermix and FICON Cascading — to the market, IBM and McDATA intend to greatly increase the business benefits for customers upgrading from ESCON to FICON,” said Mark Doumas, SAN Connectivity Project Executive, IBM Storage Systems Group. “This announcement represents a significant advancement of IBM’s FICON protocol. These new capabilities present compelling considerations for customers who have already migrated from ESCON to FICON and customers considering that move.”

FICON Intermix
FICON Intermix enables customers to simultaneously run mainframe (FICON) and Open Systems (fibre channel) data traffic through a shared McDATA Director. The 2Gb/s Intrepid 6064 is the first IBM remarketed 2Gb/s Director- class storage networking product announced to simultaneously handle traffic for both mainframe (FICON) and Open Systems (Fibre Channel) environments. FICON Intermix presents the potential for a significant cost savings to customers of all sizes by consolidating data networks, utilizing a single Director where alternative storage vendors’ offerings require two separate networks and much higher costs. No other storage or SAN vendor in the world has announced a 2Gb/s Director product that will be able to be used concurrently between mainframe and open systems networks. IBM and McDATA support FICON Intermix today with the 1 Gb/s McDATA ED-6064 Director.

FICON Cascading:
FICON Cascading will allow customers, for the first time, to scale their mainframe storage environments by initially supporting single hop, two Director FICON fabrics. Currently, mainframe customers are limited to single Director FICON environments. FICON cascading is designed to deliver to mainframe environments the many benefits of Open Systems storage area networks (SANs) — lowered storage costs, optimized storage resources, ease of management and higher data availability. FICON Cascading is planned to be available in the second half of 2002.

Consolidated Networks:
Combining the capabilities of FICON Intermix and FICON Cascading will enable customers to consolidate their mainframe (FICON) and Open Systems (fibre channel) storage networks. These consolidated fabrics can help:

— Reduce costs by enabling mainframe and Open Systems IT staffs toshare equipment.

— Lower costs by centralizing FICON and fibre channel storage network management.

— Allow customers to easily scale and buy only what they need as their storage requirements evolve.

— Protect prior investments by optimizing current resources.

To ensure data security in the extended environments McDATA has developed a robust security solution, called SANtegrity. SANtegrity provides the ultra- high-availability characteristics and security functionality to help ensure data integrity throughout the entire FICON/Open fabric.

“FICON Cascading and FICON Intermix are exciting advances designed to greatly benefit customers as they grow and evolve their storage infrastructures. Lowered costs, simplified management and easy scalability are just some of the benefits,” said John Kelley, president and chief operating officer of McDATA. “For the first time, customers will be able to consolidate their mainframe and Open Systems into a single storage area network. Sharing a single storage network means drastically reduced costs in terms of number of devices required and the amount of management necessary.”

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