With 64 ports, QLogic's new Fibre Channel edge switch is positioned as an alternative to higher-cost director switches.
The SANbox2-64 is designed to fill the middle ground between bladed director switches and fixed port edge switches, QLogic officials said. The highly scalable, modular bladed architecture of the new 64-port switch combines the high port count of a director with the low cost-per-port of an edge switch, the company said.
The SANbox2-64 is a simple alternative to a mesh of smaller switches, QLogic says, and by delivering 99.999% fabric availability, a pair of SANbox2-64 switches can serve as a core switch solution for business-critical storage applications. The modular blade approach of the SANbox2-64 allows it to accept 4Gb and 10Gb Fibre Channel and iSCSI blades as they become available.
University of Utah Health Sciences IT director Mark Beekhuizen recently installed two SANbox2-64 switches. The University was rapidly increasing use of its heterogeneous SAN and expanding at 16-port increments, creating an increased management burden.
"Our goal was to reduce SAN complexity," Beekhuizen said. "Adding several additional switches would have made the configuration way too complicated. We wanted to abandon subsystems and grow our data efficiently in one place, not in 100 places. We've been able to accomplish this by using QLogic SANbox2-64 large port count units, which means that we will only need to manage and service two switches."
QLogic says SAN architects have been confined to two options when building new SANs or growing existing ones. If controlling costs is the priority, they create meshes of low port count edge switches. That option, however, creates management complexity and introduces multiple points of failure, and the entire mesh must be reconfigured when adding another fixed port switch. The other approach is to deploy high port count directors, but their ultra high availability features make them too costly for all but the largest enterprises.
The SANbox2 Modular Fabric Switch gives SAN architects a third option, QLogic said: a Fibre Channel switch that combines the capacity and availability of a director with the low cost-per-port of an edge switch. Also, reconfiguration challenges associated with adding fixed port switches to a mesh are eliminated by the SANbox2-64, the company said.
Pricing begins at $26,000 for a 16-port system, and $64,000 for 64 ports.