IBM, Cisco jointly offer storage solutions

IBM Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. recently announced an agreement to jointly offer open storage networking solutions.

The deal expands on a previous alliance between the two companies and enables IBM to offer Cisco’s MDS 9000 line of high-end SAN (storage area network) switches for storage networks, including the Cisco MDS 9509 Multilayer Director, Cisco MDS 9216 Multilayer Fabric Switch, and allied modules.

The agreement allows Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM to reach new customers including those in telecommunications and firms involved in fibre channel and IP storage area networks, said Roland Hagan, marketing president for IBM Systems Group storage products division.

IBM’s strategy is to offer a wide range of storage networking solutions, Hagan continued. The deal highlights both companies’ efforts to tap into the nascent data intensive computing space.

According to Brantz Myers, national enterprise marketing manager for Cisco in Toronto, the deal offers mid- to large-sized Canadian companies access to secure, scalable and highly available remote storage at new price points.

“In the past, for example, where a bank that wanted to build a remote data centre with remote storage in a event of a (disaster)…you want a remote mirrored facility,” Myers said, adding that this type of infrastructure has traditionally been cost-prohibitive to most organizations.

“The cost of having remote storage (is) very high,” Myers said.

Next-generation multilayer switches largely solve that issue. “You get the cost-effectiveness that in the past was unavailable without costs associated with dedicated fibre and point-to-point,” Myers said.

“This switch brings the storage network to (dedicated fibre and point-to-point) networks and then the service providers can provide the appropriate network to carry that network traffic to remote sites,” he said.

The Cisco switch, like models from competitors including Brocade

Communications, McData and Inrange Technologies, is authorized to work with

IBM’s family of disk and tape storage products, including Enterprise Storage System (known as “Shark”), its midrange FastT systems and Tivoli Storage Area Network Manager.

Most of Cisco’s business is tied to networking equipment that uses TCP/IP

networking, the same technology that underlies the Internet. But through its acquisition of Andiamo last August, Cisco obtained high-end networking products that can use the Fibre Channel networking standard used in SANs.

Cisco’s New Venture Group initially set up Andiamo, recruiting Cisco and

other employees in 2000.

The offerings are tentatively slated for release by the end of March, Myers said.

– with files from IDG News Service