Network giant Cisco Systems entered the storage network market today with the rollout of the company's first storage product, which it said will cut costs for large companies and make information on the internet faster and easier to access.
Cisco said its SN 5420 Storage Router will enable the convergence of networking and storage systems through common IP protocols like iSCSI, a de facto IP standard that is able to transfer block data by way of IP.
Until recently, block data transfer has been fibre channel's strong point almost exclusively.
With direct IP access to storage, companies will be able to break the geographical restrictions of current fibre channel storage architectures, save money by no longer having to add storage with expensive fibre channel relays, and simplify the deployment of storage across multiple operating systems, Cisco said.
Mike Cree, general manager of Cisco's storage business unit, said the SN 5420 is based on a standard developed with IBM and uses the internet protocol. He said the advantage of the storage router is that it will allow a large company to save money by reducing the number of places it needs to store information.
"You can consolidate the storage you may have had in five different locations to one location, so you can reduce the cost of ownership by not having to duplicate IT staff to manage and own the storage," he said.
Cree also said that Cisco is working with a variety of companies like fibre channel switch firm Brocade, disk storage giant EMC and storage management software company Veritas to ensure industry-wide adoption of IP storage.
Steve Duplessie, an analyst at The Enterprise Storage Group, said it is inevitable that storage networking, internet and optical networking will converge.
"A unified infrastructure with common management has been a Utopian pipe dream until now. A company like Cisco has all the pieces to make the convergence not only happen but happen globally and quickly," he said.
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