Crossroads, 3ware Unveil Low-Cost Storage Switches

Crossroads Systems and 3ware introduce low-cost storage switches that are designed to make networked storage more affordable.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

August 7, 2001

2 Min Read

The benefits of networked storage are becoming well-known. But providing fast access to data stored anywhere in a company can be costly. Two vendors Tuesday introduced low-cost storage switches designed to make networked storage more affordable.

Startup 3ware Inc. has signed the 50th customer for its storage switches. The vendor's Palisade 100 and Palisade 400 switches move data across an IP network using the iSCSI specification, a standard still being finalized by the Internet Engineering Task Force.

Brian Haymore, a senior system engineer at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and a Palisade customer, knows that he's taking a chance by using an unfinished standard, but says the IP storage switch lets him use existing expertise and infrastructure for the storage network. The alternative is a costly Fibre Channel network that's foreign to most network administrators.

The university used Fibre Channel storage area networks from two vendors, but they were expensive and didn't work well, Haymore says. Instead, the school now is installing a SAN based on two Advanced Micro Devices Inc. two-way servers, with a list price of $3,000 each, and eight Palisade 400 switches, each priced at $2,400. "We'll have a Web server so the professors can collaborate on projects outside these grounds," Haymore says. "We expect to have a 10-terabyte SAN within a year, and we'll add Palisade switches as we need them."

While 3ware provides an alternative to Fibre Channel SANs, Crossroads Systems Inc. is helping customers integrate disparate infrastructures. The vendor Tuesday unveiled the Crossroads 8000 switch, which lets customers transfer data between Fibre Channel, IP, and Infiniband networks. The switch, with a base price of $18,500, will also let users easily back up data from Fibre Channel SANs to tape libraries, which was difficult in the past.

International Data Corp. analyst Robert Amatruda says Crossroads' multiprotocol switch could help clear up the "alphabet soup of connectivity" resulting from various storage networking protocols. It also should help manage a SAN. Says Amatruda, "Administrators should be able to ascertain how every component on the SAN is doing."

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