Cisco has unveiled the MDS 9000 storage services module at the CeBIT tradeshow that promises to accelerate data back-ups and reduce the cost of managing a storage area network (San) through the use of open standards.
Much like a router, the device sits in the network and carries out specialised operations currently performed by servers. "We can take the heavy lifting off the server," said Dante Malagrino, Cisco's senior marketing manager for product and technology marketing.
The appliance will quicken back-up operations by 30 per cent through the use of industry standard technologies such as Xcopy and iSCSI, according to Malagrino.
The core of the appliance is formed by the Fabric Application Interface Standard, an open standard for Sans. Third-party developers can write their applications to the interface, and EMC and Veritas have already announced support for the platform.
The intelligence of the appliance comes from an application specific integrated circuit specifically designed for the storage services module. The chip is as complex as a Pentium processor, said Malagrino.
The appliance will enable true virtualisation of Sans. Existing San systems require users to standardise on a single vendor's hardware if they want to achieve storage virtualisation. That may work in theory, but does not address the reality of business, according to Malagrino.
"Nobody believes that the data centre will be built by a single company. These things will be built by partnerships of companies working together. The openness in terms of protocols, standards, interfaces and partnerships are the key of our message today," he said.
The MDS 9000 storage services module will be sold through partners including IBM and HP.
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