SAN Valley Brings SANs Together

How does an ITmanager take Fibre Channel links from a SAN, extend them across an IP infrastructure,and do it without having the company pay through the nose in the process?

SAN ValleySystems believes it can provide the answer to this question with its SL1000IP-SAN Gateway technology.

The product,which debuted at the recent Network + Interop show in Atlanta, providesconnectivity by tunneling Fibre Channel data across a Gigabit Ethernet network,thereby enabling wire speed performance without the bottlenecks often createdby some software-based architectures. The technology maximizes throughput,supports high-bandwidth storage applications and permits interoperability withexisting Gigabit Ethernet, dense-wave division multiplexing and Fibre Channelproducts.

"We’retargeting large IS or IT managers, storage service providers, IP network datacenter managers -- people who need to rapidly deploy stored applications acrossmetropolitan and wide area networks," says Rick Walsworth, vice presidentof marketing at SAN Valley. "We're able to achieve that at a fraction ofthe cost of existing high-performance fiber transport solutions."

At least onestorage industry analyst believes SAN Valley has a winner in the SL1000.

"SANs, bynature, are small, vanilla devices when it comes to fabric," says Steve Duplessie,senior analyst at Enterprise Storage Group."This is a very simple way to tie SANs together virtually. The FibreChannel community hasn't been able to accomplish this when it comes togeographically disparate SANs -- at least not at a reasonable cost."

Walsworth saysthe SL1000 seamlessly interconnects SAN switches and storage islands across IPnetworks up to 100 kilometers with more than 4 Gbps of throughput without anymicroprocessor interruptions, all in a one-rack unit. It's operated by a Java-based,platform-independent network management system. The product supports backup andstorage mirroring applications in real time.

"There aretwo products currently on the market that solve the problem," Walsworthsays. "One uses dark fiber [empty fiber optic cable], which allows theconnection of Fibre Channel links over fairly long distances. The other uses aprocessor-based design on a channel cable. We feel we can maintain the sameline rate performance and be much more cost effective."

Duplessie saysthe beauty of the SL1000 is its applicable regardless of scale. While thesetypes of product are aimed at the high end of SAN users, this one appears to beaffordable at any level of use.

The SL1000currently is going through internal qualifications. It is expected to becommercially available in the first half of 2001. Walsworth said SAN Valleyhasn't settled on pricing for the product, but Duplessie offered some estimatesthat can bring some perspective.

"For acompetitor pricing its product at $100,000, you can expect this product to bemore in the neighborhood of $10,000," Duplessie says. "Also, SANValley is coming to market with it at the right time. It's a very inexpensiveway to tie SANs together using existing infrastructure. I'd say they have anexcellent chance of succeeding."

SAN Valley Systems Inc., Campbell, Calif., www.sanva

EnterpriseStorage Group Inc., Milford, Mass.,