Brocade Extends SANs

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Brocade has unveiled multi-protocol fabric routing services for consolidating SANs and extending their reach over long distances.

The services will be delivered on the Brocade SilkWorm Fabric Application Platform, an intelligent switch designed to host storage management applications in the SAN fabric, and will let customers consolidate and scale SANs as well as extend SAN functionality and benefits over multiple networks and across greater distances.

The new services will include Fibre Channel-to-Fibre Channel routing, iSCSI-to-FC bridging, and Fibre Channel to FC-IP translation.

Fibre Channel-to-Fibre Channel routing will consolidate and scale separate SAN islands into Logical Private SANs (LSANs), which offer the highest levels of configuration flexibility and system availability with the lowest risk and complexity for the end user, according to Brocade.

iSCSI-to-FC bridging is designed for attaching low-cost, Ethernet-connected hosts to the Fibre Channel SAN fabric via the iSCSI protocol.

And Fibre Channel to FC-IP translation will extend existing Fibre Channel SANs over long distances via IP networks.

The multiprotocol fabric services will be provided by Brocade XPath Technology, which lets customers configure SAN protocols on a port-by-port basis within the SilkWorm Fabric AP.

The abilities to logically segment physical SANs, span multiple network protocols, and utilize existing WAN and LAN infrastructure for SAN distance extension are becoming “critical success factors,” says Gartner VP Nick Allen. “SAN infrastructure providers that meet this critical customer requirement are well positioned to catch the next wave of SAN adoption and evolution.”

McDATA and Cisco are among the vendors already offering consolidation and extension technologies.

San Jose, Calif.-based Brocade says FC-to-FC routing enables customers to logically connect physically separate SAN fabrics and enable shared, wire-speed access to storage resources from any SAN fabric, allowing customers to scale and share resources across their SANs while retaining the administration and fault isolation benefits of separately managed fabrics.

Storage users can adopt FC-to-FC routing just by connecting their fabrics to one or more SilkWorm Fabric AP products running the fabric routing services, without making any configuration changes to the existing fabrics.

iSCSI bridging lets SAN users attach Ethernet-connected servers that use the iSCSI protocol to Brocade Fibre Channel SANs, extending the benefits of Fibre
Channel SANs to applications residing on lower-cost servers and allowing for centralized management, improved backup, and storage consolidation.

FC-IP support extends SANs over distance via campus, metro, and wide area IP networks for disaster recovery, remote replication, and data migration. The
FC-IP capability of the multi-protocol fabric routing services lets any port on the SilkWorm Fabric AP use the FC-IP protocol as a Fibre Channel bridge
across the IP network.

Brocade also announced that it will recommend the CNT Ultranet Edge Gateway as a solution for extending Brocade Fibre Channel SANs over distance. Brocade says more than 300 mutual CNT and Brocade customers have already deployed the solution for mission-critical, high-performance applications that require metro and wide area network connection.

The Brocade multiprotocol fabric routing services will be available on the SilkWorm Fabric AP in the first half of 2004.

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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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