New storage standard holds water

A new standard for networks of storage devices is making its way from the drawing board to a hardware reality. Cisco Systems and other tech giants are paving the way.

A new standard for networks of storage devices is making its way out of the prototype stage, with new products from Cisco Systems and others.

The new standard, called iSCSI, joins storage devices and servers with networks built with the common Internet protocol (IP) instead of faster but more expensive and complicated Fibre Channel technology. IBM and Cisco are among the major backers.

Most companies in the storage business are moving to accommodate iSCSI, and a number of announcements are expected at the Storage Networking World conference next week in Orlando, Fla.

Nishan Systems, a pioneer in the area, on Monday will introduce a new top-end switch to join IP and FibreChannel networks. The company's product line tops out with an eight-port switch, but the new IPS 4000 will have 16 connections. Prices will begin at about $33,000.

Also on Monday, networking powerhouse Cisco will announce upgrades to its SN 5420 networking product, which links servers to storage devices using iSCSI. The upgrade allows the SN 5420 to communicate with tape drives as well as hard disk systems.

Customers are starting to adopt the newer standard. Data Peer, Komatsu America International and the University of Houston are using the SN 5420, while J.P. Morgan Chase is using Nishan products as part of a storage network product from Nishan and Xiotech.


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