Networks Telecom: Cheaper SAN switch and HBAs

QLogic sees a big future in Fibre Channel, but admits that other protocols will eventually prevail

QLogic on Tuesday showed its SANbox2 eight-port Fibre Channel switch at Networks Telecom for the first time in Europe. This doubles the speed of the previous SANbox, by moving to 2Gbps Fibre Channel, and is physically half the size. When it reaches end users in August, it will undercut the price of previous products substantially, bringing the price down to around $5,000 (£3,333). The company also showed new host bus adapters (Fibre Channel network cards) -- the QLA2340 series, which will also reach end users in August. They include one card with two FC connections on a low profile card, and another card with four connections. The cards can support up to 80,000 I/O operations per second. "We are the only company making both host bus adapters (HBAs) and switches," said Dominic Heath, marketing manager for EMEA. The cards compete with Emulex and JNI, while the switches compete with Brocade. "Fibre Channel still has no serious competitors," said Heath. "iSCSI is more real than Infiniband," he added. QLogic has delivered prototype Infiniband switches to a large user, and is involved with iSCSI development, but Heath sees a long life for Fibre Channel. The company's aim is to have a SAN (storage area network) in every business -- the next step towards this is a kit which combines a SANbox, four HBAs, cabling and management software for $10,000.

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