EMC extends storage through fibre

Storage vendor EMC Corp. hopes to raise awareness of an approaching boom in bandwidth by addressing the convergence of optical and storage networking in the enterprise, according to Jim Rothnie, senior vice president of product management for the Hopkinton, Mass.-based storage giant.

“There is this huge bandwidth explosion due to optical fibre and the physical mechanisms for networking,” Rothnie said. “The over-all carry capacity for fibre has just exploded, and that has made for the first time a direct connection between the fibre links and storage.”

Rothnie said that by directly linking storage to optical networks, the enterprise can extend the reach of SANs to provide faster access to data and more efficient mirroring and backup capabilities.

“The rapid deployment of optic fibre is creating so much bandwidth that we ought to be thinking about the right way to deploy storage where bandwidth is infinite and inexpensive,” Rothnie said.

Key to the convergence of optical and storage networks are multiplexing switches, devices that route all incoming data traffic onto an optical network. An example of such a switch was announced in May by San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco Systems Inc., with its Metro 1500 Series Metropolitan Area Network Dense-Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) platform.

The 1500 lets enterprises connect their LANs to the MAN (Metropolitan Area Network), no matter what protocol is used. It supports 32 wavelengths per fibre, which maximizes use of the pipe, Cisco officials said.

According to Cahners In-Stat Group, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based industry research firm, the networking equipment market, which hit US$11.8 billion in midyear, is expected to reach US$50 billion by 2001.