CNT & Nortel Collaborate on SAN Integration

Computer Network Technology (CNT) and Nortel Networks have introduced plans to simplify storage area network (SAN) integration into enterprise IP and optical networks. This cooperative effort is based on existing, tested technologies, including Nortel Networks' metropolitan and long-haul optical products, and CNT's protocol adaptation technologies and established standards work groups.

The two companies will collaborate on the design and development of technologies and solutions that integrate SAN applications and infrastructure with the Optical Internet, both metro and long haul. The collaboration will take place in two stages.

In the near term, the collaboration will include the deployment of service provider-based SAN solutions that will package products and services from both companies, including Nortel Networks' OPTera Metro multi-service platforms (CNT's UltraNet Director, CNT SAN Integration Services, etc.) into a single customer offering.

In preparation for the longer term, work will begin immediately on the specification of new, vertically integrated solutions combining IP, Optics, FC, SCSI, Escon and other technologies, with a focus on optimization of these technologies for networked storage applications over service provider networks. CNT and Nortel Networks will work closely with the service provider community on the development of this specification.

In addition, the companies will jointly market and support SAN/IP and SAN/optical solutions to service providers and key partners, and work with network providers to develop a set of storage applications and services. Application labs will also be created to qualify storage solutions to operate under the new environments. The two companies will also participate in joint customer trials to establish the value of the technology in real networks.

Until now, IP networks have been inadequate to handle the quality of service, the data security needs or the bandwidth-on-demand needs of storage applications. CNT has developed a transport protocol that provides enhanced storage application reliability on a standard IP backbone, along with data compression, alternate routing, load balancing and enhanced flow control. This storage transport protocol is currently being used to facilitate SAN extensions over long distances, enabling key applications such as distance mirroring, tape backup and storage distribution.

CNT and Nortel Networks will work toward the standardization of these innovations by submissions to the appropriate standards committees, including the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) T11 working group for consideration as an extension to the FCBB (Fibre Channel Back-Bone) standard.

The products and technology to support the collaboration between CNT and Nortel Networks exist today, including the Fibre Channel products from Brocade, which have been tested in each company's lab. CNT and Nortel Networks expect to begin customer trials in 3rd quarter 2000.

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