Sandial Unveils Industry's First Backbone-Class Storage Switch

Unprecedented network-based intelligence fuels strong customer demand

Portsmouth, N.H., Feb. 17, 2004 - Sandial Systems, Inc., a pioneer in the emerging storage network backbone market, today unveiled the industry's first backbone-class Storage Area Network (SAN) switch, the Shadow 14000. A storage backbone switch eclipses conventional director-class Fibre Channel switches by providing, for the first time, visibility and control of network traffic to guarantee network performance in support of specific business-critical applications. The company also announced that it has installed the Shadow 14000 into more than 20 customer production networks since becoming generally available in October 2003.

The Shadow 14000 Storage Backbone Switch intelligently provisions network resources on a per-connection basis through a first-of-its-kind connection-oriented switching architecture, called ConnectIQ. While conventional director switches provide aggregate data for port-based utilization, Sandial customers can gain visibility into network performance profiles indicating individual traffic flows between SAN-attached resources. With a well-understood traffic profile, including network congestion tendencies, IT professionals are then able to allocate network bandwidth to optimize application performance. As the foundation of the storage network backbone, the Shadow 14000 empowers IT professionals to architect storage networks that provide true utility storage services, in support of changing application and business requirements. "As enterprises continue to migrate towards a consolidated, cost-effective utility approach to storage, there is an emerging requirement for a new level of visibility and control of the storage network at the connection level," said Michael Fisch, Director of Storage and Networking, The Clipper Group. "With the introduction of the Shadow 14000, Sandial is the first to address this need."

The Network as a Value Driver

Sandial's introduction of the Shadow 14000 comes at a time when SANs are expanding to support rapid storage growth and a new set of requirements for storage and server consolidation, tiered storage, Information Lifecycle Management (ILM), utility computing and fabric-based storage services. As these trends continue to gain momentum, the storage network is uniquely positioned to deliver value beyond simple connectivity, including:

  • Support for storage consolidation without sacrificing control

  • Alignment of application and storage resources with business priorities

  • Allocation of bandwidth to guarantee network performance

  • Delivery of "just in time" network bandwidth to meet changing performance requirements

  • Protection from costly application "brownouts"

  • Diagnosis of harmful network congestion

While today's director-class switches have met early requirements for scalability and fault tolerance, they have not provided the true network intelligence required to bring the next generation of value to the SAN, until now.

ConnectIQ: Delivering True Network Intelligence

Underlying the Shadow 14000's unique ability to deliver network-based intelligence for back-end data centers is patent-pending technology called ConnectIQ. ConnectIQ provides visibility and control of network traffic, enabling guaranteed network performance levels for business critical applications.

ConnectIQ features a connection-oriented, schedule-based switching architecture for enforcing bandwidth policy. It delivers the industry's first strategic infrastructure capable of supporting constantly changing application and business requirements. ConnectIQ recognizes individual traffic flows from source port to destination port in the context of every other traffic flow in the backbone, presenting real-time traffic profiles to identify when, where and to what degree congestion is occurring. As users identify opportunities for improvement or shifts in application requirements, ConnectIQ empowers them to implement bandwidth policies that best support their business requirements. In all, the Shadow 14000 and ConnectIQ architecture are built on more than a dozen pending patents. Shadow 14000: The Industry's First Storage Backbone Switch Fueled by ConnectIQ, the Shadow 14000 Storage Backbone Switch offers an industry-leading feature set that raises the bar for next-generation SAN switches, including:

  • Connection Intelligence - The Shadow 14000 features the industry's only Time Division Multiplex (TDM) switching core driven by a managed bandwidth scheduler. ConnectIQ harnesses the power of this TDM core to deliver dynamic bandwidth allocation, bandwidth on demand and tunable network performance.

  • Scalability - The Shadow 14000 supports 144, 2 Gbps any-to-any non-blocking network interfaces and more than 20,000 concurrent traffic flows. The system has the capacity to double its density to 288 interfaces and 80,000 concurrent traffic flows.

  • High Availability - The Shadow 14000 maintains the highest degree of availability and fault tolerance, including system level redundancies, hot swapability and hot-code download.

  • Flexibility - The Shadow 14000's Utiliport interface allows rate (1, 2, 4 and 10 Gbps), protocol, media and service flexibility for the utmost in investment protection, starting in two-port increments.

  • Management - The ShadowView management interface drives all service and network administration, policy configuration and performance reporting for the Shadow 14000.

In a separate release issued today, Sandial also announced that the Shadow 14000 has been independently tested by Mier Communications, receiving the stamp of "Performance Verified" in the backbone-class fibre channel SAN switch product category.

"Sandial entered the storage switching market with the goal of leading the industry in a new generation of backbone-class storage networking solutions," said Tim Lieto, president and CEO, Sandial Systems, Inc. "The introduction of the Shadow 14000 is the first in a series of products that will bring unprecedented levels of visibility, control and performance to the storage network."

Building a Strong Customer Base

Since achieving general availability in October 2003, the Sandial Shadow 14000 has been installed in over 20 North American and European customers, including Covenant Technology Solutions, Harte-Hanks, IDEXX Laboratories, the Rural Achievement Zone and the University of Vermont, among others.

IDEXX Laboratories, a worldwide leader in the development and commercialization of innovative, technology-based products and services, has built a storage network backbone based on the Sandial Shadow 14000 to support the performance requirements of its business critical applications.

"Because different applications carry with them different performance obligations, we needed a solution that could uphold network service requirements end-to-end, even in a consolidated environment," said Rob Edwards, Network Manager, IDEXX Laboratories. "As we continue to consolidate additional application and storage resources onto our storage network backbone, the control Sandial's solution provides becomes even more imperative." Pricing and Availability

Sandial's Shadow 14000 is available immediately through Sandial's direct sales force and through select systems integrators and storage OEMs. The Sandial Shadow 14000 starts at approximately $150,000. About Sandial Systems

Sandial Systems is a pioneer in the development of backbone-class switching systems that bring unprecedented levels of visibility, control and performance to the storage network. Sandial's backbone solutions empower enterprises to architect storage networks as independent utilities that increase storage return on investment and align data center resources with business priorities. For more information visit us at http://www.sandial.com.