Cisco Adds Services to Storage Networking

Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) is boosting its storage networking offerings with a new module that delivers I/O acceleration, secure data erasure, encryption, data migration, and SAN extension over FCIP.

The new Storage Services Node is a 16-port line card that supports as many as four storage services simultaneously. Along with a new data migration appliance, Cisco said the offerings are part of the company’s vision for Services-oriented SAN fabrics, or SOS for short.

The I/O acceleration and secure erasure services are new, while the rest of the services have been added to the module to save slots on the Cisco MDS 9000 Fibre Channel director chassis.

I/O Accelerator boosts performance and reduces the bandwidth cost of backup and replication solutions over MANs and WANs. Bob Nusbaum, Cisco’s product line manager for storage networking, said one financial services customer reduced its backup window by nearly 90 percent using the technology.

Secure Erase erases disk array LUNs so they can be reallocated or decommissioned without data exposure.

Data Mobility Manager migrates disk array LUNs while they are in use, even between arrays from different vendors. Storage Media Encryption encrypts data and manages keys for tape and VTLs. And SAN Extension over FCIP connects two or more fabrics securely over an FCIP WAN link.

The new Data Mobility Manager (DMM) appliance offers the migration functionality in an appliance form. Cisco notes that data migration is a temporary need for when arrays are being refreshed or larger LUNs are needed, so an appliance allows for rapid deployment and can also be offered as a service by partners. The DMM appliance allows migrations to be performed while data is still in use, eliminating prolonged outages.

Cisco said the Secure Erase feature fits well with the data migration offerings — once data is moved from an old array to a new one, the old array can be wiped clean to meet regulatory and security concerns.

Cisco holds about 24 percent of the FC switch market, according to Dell’Oro Group third-quarter 2009 data, while rival Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD) commands a 72 percent share.

Cisco is the early leader in the small but growing FCoE market, according to Dell’Oro, but Brocade has begun shipping its own products.

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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 Time.com, 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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