IBM is the first vendor to support internet connection within Cisco's MDS 9000 storage area network (San) family.
The MDS 9000 IP Storage Services Module adds iSCSI and faster Fibre Channel over IP connection to the MDS 9000 family, which IBM has been reselling since March.
Big Blue claimed that demand for iSCSI came from customers wanting low-cost remote access to data in a central location, while high performance Fibre Channel over IP allowed back-up, archiving and data balancing between two locations.
This is cheaper for companies because they can then use the internet to transport data.
"This is the first in-box [iSCSI and Fibre Channel over IP San] solution," Scott Drummond, IBM's programme director for storage networking, told vnunet.com.
"Cisco is six to nine months ahead of the market and customers are champing at the bit for it."
IBM also announced that Axa Technology Services, the infrastructure services arm of European insurance company Axa Group, has begun a major deployment of the MDS 9000 San infrastructure.
Axa Technology Services is using a combination of the MDS 9509, 9506 and 9216 for a strategic consolidation programme covering six IT competency centres in the US, UK, France, Germany, Belgium and Australia.
It plans to deploy 2,000 San switch ports in the first year as part of a six-year plan which will take this number to over 8,000 ports, the largest Cisco MDS implementation so far.
A further four products have been added to the MDS 9000 portfolio. The MDS 9506 128 port multi-layer director (high availability switch) is a low-cost alternative to the 9509 224 port model.
A compact flash 512MB memory add-on is available for both models.
An 8-1 fibre channel bridge using coarse wave division multiplexing is offered as a low-cost alternative to the existing 32-1 dense wavelength division multiplexing optical bridge.
The MDS 9000 Port Analyzer Adapter is for monitoring fibre channel traffic, providing a PC data trace. The family also includes the MDS 9216 multi-layer switch.
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