Cisco Upgrades Storage Switch OS

Cisco hopes to raise the bar for SAN switches by borrowing from its traditional data networking functionality.

Cisco Systems Inc. hopes to raise the bar for SAN (storage area network) switches by borrowing from its traditional data networking functionality.

The new SAN-OS 1.3, due early next year for Ciscos MDS (Multilayer DataCenter Switch) family, allows SAN partitions to share data, such as a router does, and includes new QOS (quality-of-service features), said officials in San Jose, Calif.

Routing between virtual SANs is planned from Brocade Communications Systems Inc. in the first half of next year, with the Logical SAN features, officials previously said. But the Cisco version doesnt require extra hardware, officials explained today.

The new QOS feature works by detecting datas itinerary and then routing that data based on user-defined circumstances, officials said. That also works across interswitch links, but technology for routing data based more on its context and applications needs isnt yet available, they said.

Other new features in SAN-OS 1.3 include the FiCon (Fibre Connect) mainframe protocol and faster FCIP (Fibre Channel over Internet Protocol) flows. Supported as well are evolving industry standards such as Fibre Channel Security Protocol (FC-SP), Terminal Access Controller Access Control System (TACACS+), Common Information Model, iSNS (Internet Storage Name Service) and FDMI (Fabric Device Management Interface.)

Cisco Fabric Manager, traditionally just a data networking application, is also now expanded for storage discovery, health, event monitoring and performance monitoring, they said.

The routing and QOS features will be part of the Enterprise Package, while the other features will be sold a la carte, officials said, declining to comment on street pricing.