Silverback Systems Debuts Storage Network Access Processor

Silverback Systems today announced the introduction of its storage network access processor family, called iSNAP.

The iSNAP family provides high performance IP network connectivity and storage network protocol processing. The first product in the family, the iSNAP2100, is suited for a variety of applications in IP-based, Storage Area Networks (SANs) including servers, storage arrays and fabric devices such as virtualization boxes and storage-aware routers, and specific implementations like host bust adapters (HBAs).

“The growth of e-commerce, online transaction processing, streaming media, and overall need for real-time access, processing and storage of information are fueling an unrelenting demand for data storage within the enterprise,” said Steven Denegri, Managing Director, Equity Research, RBC Capital Markets. “The most optimal approach to facilitate the scale, performance and manageability necessary for such growth comes through networking of storage.”

An April 15, 2002 report by CIBC Oppenheimer on communications IC and equipment companies supports this assessment, forecasting 25.8 percent CAGR through 2006 for storage area networking IC vendors. The overall SAN equipment market will increase from $9.5 billion in 2001 to $24.0 billion by 2006, a CAGR of 20.3 percent.

“Leveraging the current TCP/IP and Ethernet infrastructure, an ubiquitous technology that systems and network administrators already understand, creates tremendous value as they don’t have to undergo an extensive learning curve, like they do with FibreChannel,” said Danny Biran, president and CEO of Silverback Systems.

“By leveraging current TCP/IP and Ethernet infrastructures, SilverBack offers a simplified approach to IP network storage. SilverBack’s iSNAP is to IP storage what email was to the Internet — transparent application — as IT professionals don’t require extensive learning curves found in other storage configurations,” said Dianne McAdam, senior analyst with Illuminata, Inc.

While the market opportunity and value proposition is clearly robust, the right kind of technology is required to unlock the potential. A processor specifically dedicated to storage networking applications, as opposed to a generic network processor, is needed.

“The networking of storage, especially using IP, is not only critical, it is strategic. But it requires a new type of network protocol engine,” said Ron Kroesen, Silverback VP of marketing.

“The generic network processors in use today generally focus on packet processing only, without regard to full connection context. It is in effect, a stateless processor unable to fully terminate TCP connections or Upper Layer Protocols. Nor is the typical NPU capable of managing and bookkeeping connection and session events, among other functions common in network storage applications,” continued Kroesen.

“Network processors are typically found in switches and routers within the fabric, while iSNAP can be used in the fabric for storage-aware switches as well as all types of edge devices.

“Storage network access processors are the only way to really accelerate the adoption of IP-based SANs,” said Kroesen

The iSNAP 2100 will sample this quarter. Volume pricing is expected to be $150 each in quantity. A complete development kit is also available and includes an evaluation board, DDK software and documentation, and an installation and configuration guide for Linux.

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