Adaptec, Dell, Hitachi, IBM, Intel, Nishan Systems, QLogic, and Qwest participated in the Promontory Project, named after the Promontory Summit, where workers completed the nation's first transcontinental railroad link. The companies began work on the 10-Gbps storage network in July and started carrying traffic on the network early this month, participants said. The network isn't carrying customer traffic yet, but the demonstration proves that IP-based storage networks can be built across great distances using extremely fast long-haul transmission circuits that carry data in the more cost-efficient IP format, they said.
The network stretches from Newark, N.J., to Sunnyvale, Calif., and consists of four 2.5-Gbps tied together at both ends on Cisco 12000-series routers, according to the companies. "This is the first 10-Gigabit transcontinental IP storage network," says Randy Fardal VP of marketing at Nishan Systems, the vendor that organized the demonstration. Nishan makes storage-networking products for IP and Ethernet networks, partly from its own proprietary technology.
The demonstration shows that "it's possible to interconnect data centers with IP over extended distances," says Meta Group analyst Carl Greiner. The technology used in the demonstration isn't robust enough yet for corporate use, although it could be ready in about a year, Greiner says. When it is, the ability to operate storage networks using IP and high-speed data networks spanning great distances will give companies more flexibility in locations for data centers used for backup or data recovery, Greiner says.