Cisco aggregates SAN traffic over DWDM

Cisco Systems Inc. wants businesses to aggregate storage network traffic and other services over the same wide-area fiber connections, and sees itself moving increasingly into the video post-processing market, a vast consumer of bandwidth.

The company announced two enhancements to its ONS 15530 Multiservice Aggregation Platform here at the CeBIT trade show Wednesday, with the aim of combining SAN (storage area network) traffic with other services such as Gigabit Ethernet over a single optical fiber link using DWDM (Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing). DWDM systems transmit multiple signals simultaneously down a single optical fiber by transmitting each one on a different wavelength, or colour, of light.

“With a DWDM platform like this, we are able to put storage and other applications across a single fiber ring,” said Geraint Anderson, vice-president of optical and PTT marketing for Cisco in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, at a news conference here.

The Eight-port Fibre Channel/Gigabit Ethernet Aggregation Card can be used to combine up to eight Fibre Channel, FICON (fiber connectivity) or Gigabit Ethernet signals on a single 10G-bps (bits per second) wavelength in a DWDM system, while the 2.5G bps ITU Trunk Card can be used to combine multiple ESCON (enterprise system connection), Fibre Channel, FICON or Gigabit Ethernet services over a single ITU (International Telecommunication Union) wavelength, the company said in a statement.

Where such services are carried between sites over a MAN (metropolitan area network) fiber ring, the 2.5G-bps ITU Trunk Card can be used to add or drop a few services on the fiber at each site, the statement said.

The trunk card is available now through Cisco’s reseller channels worldwide, while the eight-port card will be available for ordering later this month, and deliverable in April, according to Cisco spokesman Marc Musgrove. Pricing is set by the resellers, he said.

Cisco also named two companies that have used its equipment to aggregate storage networking and other services over a single fiber connection.

German utility company Mainova AG, in Frankfurt am Main, is using the ONS 15540 Extended Services Platform to multiplex several Fibre Channel storage connections with LAN traffic over a single fiber, linking different campus sites to remote data centers, providing back-up and simplifying the task of data recovery in the event of a disaster, Cisco said.

Another Cisco customer, the Flemish public broadcasting company Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroep (VRT) in Brussels, is using Cisco’s MDS family of SAN switches to integrate storage network traffic with an existing IP (Internet Protocol) data network over fiber, Cisco said.

VRT’s move is a sign of changing times in the broadcasting industry. Although many video processing companies in the broadcasting industry have been pushing digital video around high-speed data networks for some years now, they have not always used IP — but that could change.

“We think most (video) post-production will go IP-based,” said Mark de Simone, vice president of technology solutions and corporate marketing for Cisco in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Digital video will play a greater part in Cisco’s future too, de Simone predicted. “We see video as a major driver for our company,” he said.