Sun to offer 2G bit/sec. SAN support

Sun Microsystems Inc. announced a storage-area network (SAN) suite of hardware and software products that support 2G bit/sec. Fibre Channel networks, doubling the data transfer rates of its current SANs.

Sun’s StorEdge Open SAN Architecture is a multivendor environment that includes a new Sun StorEdge 2G bit/sec. 16-port switch and support for San Jose-based Brocade Communications Systems Inc.’s 16-port, 2G bit/sec. switch. The StorEdge architecture also supports Brocade’s Model 12000 64-port director-class switch and McData Corp.’s Intrepid 6064 director switch.

Sun had previously supported two 1G bit/sec. switches on its storage networks. Its SAN can now support up to 64 2G bit/sec. switches.

Sun also announced the availability of single- and dual-port 2G bit/sec. host bus adapters.

Sun’s announcement follows similar 2G bit/sec. Fibre Channel-enabled products released earlier this year by Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM.

With its new products, Sun said it’s now able to support Linux, Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 operating systems. It will continue to support HP’s HP/UX Unix system and IBM’s AIX-based servers.

Working off its relationship with Brampton, Ontario-based Nortel Networks Ltd., Sun’s SAN is also able to use dense-wave division multiplexing technology to send Fibre Channel packets over distances of up to 80 kilometres. According to Art Beckman, product line manager for SANs at Sun, distances exceeding 80 kilometres aren’t recommended due to the breakdown of data packets.

“The focus on this architecture was doing scalability from the workgroup to the data centre,” Beckman said.

Jamie Gruener, a storage networking analyst at The Yankee Group in Boston, said most significant about Sun’s announcement is its new software suite that’s “executing against its road map of products that extends storage-network management and storage resource management.”

Sun announced a number of new software products and upgrades for storage network management, including its Sun StorEdge Diagnostic Expert software and enhanced versions of the Sun StorEdge Resource Management and Availability Suites.

Beckman said the diagnostic software gives storage administrators a topology view that also “tells you what it thinks the problems are and recommends what actions to take.”