Microsoft to Share RADIUS With Switch Makers

Microsoft says move will help customers secure storage networks.

PHOENIX—Microsoft Corp. will help customers secure storage networks by sharing its RADIUS client with switch makers, officials said Monday.

The software enables a storage area network to have a central authentication layer. As SAN installations get more complex and begin to use technology such as IP networking, security will become harder to administer, experts say.

"Today when you want to access a SAN, theres nothing authenticating you per se. Each switch has its own list," said Zane Adam, director of product management, in the Redmond, Wash., companys Enterprise Storage Division.

Brocade Communications Systems Inc., McData Corp. and QLogic Corp. will all use the Microsoft security client, Adam said. Brocade, of San Jose, Calif., will likely be first to market, he said.

Brocade officials were not available to comment. McData, of Broomfield, Colo., will put the client in all of its switches by the end of this year, a spokesman said. QLogic, of Aliso Viejo, Calif., will do the same by the fall, said Rob Davis, vice president of advanced technology. QLogics use of the software will not increase prices, he added.

"This will make or break it," said Warren Farquharson, a storage manager at Bahamas Telecommunications Co., shopping for a SAN at the Storage Networking World 2003 event here. Besides internal uses like billing, BaTelCo intends to use a SAN for its internet service provider division. Microsofts history of operating system security weaknesses will be a concern, he added.

RADIUS is recommended by the Internet Engineering Task Forces various storage working groups, Adam noted. Microsofts version integrates with Active Directory, he said.

Seperately, Microsoft is still on track to ship iSCSI support in June, for the upcoming Windows Server 2003, Adam said. The support is currently in beta trials, he said.

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