LightSand Extends FC over SONET Offerings

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LightSand has added OC-3 to its Fibre Channel over SONET (Synchronous Optical NETwork) offerings.

The S-155B, LightSand’s new 155Mb/s offering, helps the company keep pace with CIENA, which acquired LightSand competitor Akara in August.

Both companies now have FC over SONET gateways that work at speeds of OC-3 (155Mb/s), OC-12 (622Mb/s), and OC-48 (2.5Gb/s).

FC over SONET is a promising technology for long-distance storage and disaster recovery because it’s much more prevalent and less costly than WDM (Wavelength Division Multiplexing), and the varying speeds give smaller enterprises more bandwidth options. The technology lets organizations interconnect Fibre Channel storage systems over existing fiber optic infrastructure across town or across country.

“I think storage over SONET is basically inevitable,” says Nancy Marrone-Hurley, senior analyst at Enterprise Storage Group. “When I say that, I mean it makes perfect sense to use SONET — which is the most reliable long haul transport — to transport storage for data protection purposes. However, I don’t think it’s anything that is rocking the industry — it’s a natural progression. I do believe the market for this will gain momentum, particularly if regulations require extensive distances between recovery sites.”

Marrone-Hurley also cautions that LightSand is likely to face some significant obstacles in its battle with the CIENA-Akara combo.

“It will be interesting to see if they can compete,” Marrone-Hurley told Enterprise Storage Forum. “Few enterprises have their own SONET networks, so in order to plug into the SONET ring they will go to a carrier — the carrier may require that they use something from CIENA or Nortel, as these are vendors they are familiar with — and most likely have their products making up their SONET networks.”

Gregg Pugmire, LightSand’s EVP of sales and marketing, says LightSand has a couple of advantages, namely cost savings and breadth of offerings.

Pugmire notes that LightSand can now do storage over distance almost any way imaginable, thanks in part to its August acquisition of SANcastle.

The storage connectivity company now offers products for moving FC or FICON over SONET, IP, ATM, dedicated fiber, and DWDM.

“The S-155B is simply one more addition to the LightSand gateway family that allows us to work with any of the five FC-over-distance methods,” Pugmire
told Enterprise Storage Forum. “Our broad portfolio of gateways allows us to truly choose the most appropriate, cost-effective solution for the customer’s situation.”

Pugmire says LightSand’s FC over SONET gateways are the smallest and most efficient available, and provide at least 20% greater data throughput. They can be coupled with the company’s i-7100F gateway to deliver FICON data over distance.

The S-155B has one local Fibre Channel data port and one local IP/GbE data port, and combines these signals for reliable transport via its long-haul SONET/SDH port. The port can be directly connected to a SONET OC-3c/SDH STM-1c network to provide wire-speed transport of FC and IP data at distances up to 32,000 km. The S-155B can also be used in conjunction with designated third-party equipment to transport these local data protocols over DWDM circuits.

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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