A small group of companies will announce a big storage happening later this month, focusing on a nationwide IP storage test.
Under the code name Promontory, the companies-including Adaptec Inc., Dell Computer Corp., Hitachi Ltd., IBM, Intel Corp., Nishan Systems Inc. and Qwest Communications International Inc.-will announce that about three weeks ago, they successfully tested Nishans IP storage gateways linking a Hitachi Fibre Channel disk array with Qwest IP data centers in Sunnyvale, Calif., and northern New Jersey, sources close to the group said.
Such a proof test is meaningful, industry analysts said, because IP storage technology, which doesnt have an official specification yet, degrades in performance over long distances. Conversely, they said, its unclear whether the Qwest portion of the test was conducted on a public network or in an optimized, controlled laboratory setting. At the least, this is the first known coast-to-coast IP storage networking test, they said.
"Its not so easy to do that, so a demonstration of that capability is relevant," said James Opfer, an analyst with Gartner Dataquest Inc., in San Jose, Calif. "You start going longer distances, then you have to be very specific about what degree of control you have on that link. The difficulty is what the nature of the long-distance link is. If you had your own leased fiber, itd be pretty straightforward."
Officials from the companies involved would not comment before the planned Sept. 24 announcement.
Meanwhile, some of the participants, like IBM, Hitachi, and Qwest, are working with other IP storage companies as well, another source said. Some of those tests involved the U.S. military, while another, involving Fibre Channel over IP, was announced earlier this week and was conducted in Europe by Compaq Computer Corp. and CNT Corp.