High-end IP storage networking hasnt succeeded yet, so Cisco Systems Inc. is trying for success in the midrange and workgroup niches and last week unveiled the SN 5428 router.
Adoption in the high-end market, where Ciscos earlier SN 5420 plays, "has been minimal if at all," and "theres still quite a bit of work to be done," said Doug Ingraham, senior manager of Ciscos Storage Technology Group, in San Jose, Calif. But for midrange and workgroup uses, where applications have fewer performance requirements and the same people often manage networking and storage, "iSCSI is a best fit," Ingraham said.
The switch is based on an eight-port Fibre Channel device from QLogic Corp., based in Aliso Viejo, Calif., which announced an alliance with Cisco last month. Ciscos relationship with the larger Brocade Communications Systems Inc. recently ended.
Cisco built the two Gigabit Ethernet ports and the logical unit number, or LUN, masking and mapping technology, but unlike higher-end products, the 5428 wont have a TOE (TCP/IP offload engine). If users really need it, they can get TOE functionality in third-party network cards and adapters, Ingraham said.
Future 5428 versions will offer more port combinations, and resellers will likely bundle the product with software such as Legato Systems Inc.s management tools or Veritas Software Corp.s virtualization components, Ingraham said. Security will also be improved through more in-house development and through partnerships, he said.
Chris McMahan, CIO at Wireless Retail Inc., in Scottsdale, Ariz., has been beta testing the 5428 for about a month. Using about 20 servers today, "were making a decision to go to a [storage area network]," McMahan said.