HP Adds Stackable QLogic Switches to StorageWorks Offerings

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-02-18 Print this article Print

The new switches will replace 4GB units from Cisco over time. They contain 20 Fibre Channel ports apiece and can be stacked up to six per cluster to scale out a storage area network, which would top out at 120 ports and up to 24 20G-bps interswitch link ports.

Hewlett-Packard and QLogic announced Feb. 18 that HP will add stackable QLogic 8G-bps Fibre Channel SAN switches to sell into its storage catalog for midsize and small businesses.

The new switches contain 20 Fibre Channel ports apiece. The switches can be acquired individually as needed and stacked in groups of six per cluster to scale out a storage area network, which would top out at 120 ports and up to 24 20G-bps interswitch link ports.

The QLogic switches, when sold as part of an HP system, will be branded as HP StorageWorks SN6000 Stackable 8Gb FC switches.

HP's contribution to the package will include BladeSystem Virtual Connect software and choices between StorageWorks Modular Smart Arrays and StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array systems.

The agreement between HP and QLogic will bring hardware to replace the 4GB Fibre Channel switches Cisco Systems has been supplying HP for several years. 

In a related news item also announced Feb. 18, the partnership between HP and Cisco for this and other kinds of data center infrastructure packages will end April 30, 2010, and Cisco said it will not renew the agreement.

Of course, Cisco and HP are too big and entwined at the customer level to split off their relationship completely. Cisco exec Keith Goodwin said Cisco has already pinged HP to start discussions for a new deal in order to maintain SLAs (service-level agreements) with existing Cisco-HP customers, and there are multiple thousands of those.

"We still have a lot of customers that use Cisco [networking], so we expect to continue to service our customers the best way we can," Charles Vallhonrat, product marketing manager of HP StorageWorks, told eWEEK.

HP also has OEM agreements with 3Com, Brocade and Juniper Networks, so it brings a lot of networking choice to enterprises looking to build or refurbish their data centers.

QLogic, however, is positioning itself as the "hungrier, more motivated FC switch maker," Steve Zivanic, QLogic's senior director corporate marketing, told eWEEK.

"Brocade has lost its edge by letting their 'edge' switches languish," Zivanic said. "Along with Cisco, they're getting complacent in the FC space. They're focusing on the [I/O] director side. Brocade is busy peddling yesteryear's technology in the FC edge switching space."

Storage analyst Dave Vellante of Wikibon said he believes that stackable switches are a significant improvement over non-stackable switches.

"Stackable switches scale to 25 percent higher user port counts, simplify configuration growth and improve interswitch bandwidth and manageability," Vellante said. "For CIOs, this means better asset leverage because you have greater granularity at scale."

"What happens if you are sold an 80-port switch, and you really only need 30 ports?" Zivanic said. "If you buy 20 ports at a time, you're that much more flexible. You can add 20 at a time as you need them, and this eliminates the need to always have to reconfigure switches. This makes so much more sense in a lot of ways."

The HP StorageWorks SN6000 is available now. For more information on QLogic switches, go here.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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