Networking titans build out SAN, MAN wares

Networking titans build out SAN, MAN wares

Network vendors are pushing the envelope with hardware tuned for backup, larger networks, and wireless security, as evidenced by new wares from Cisco, Foundry, and Juniper.

Cisco last week announced updates to its storage-virtualization products, which aid IT departments in storage provisioning, data migration/replication, backup/recovery, disk-capacity utilization, and reducing storage-management costs. Cisco's new offerings use the FAIS (Fabric Application Interface Standard), which enables network-based volume management, remote replication, and continuous data-protection offerings from third-party storage software vendors.

The Cisco technologies that enable these applications are available through the new Cisco MDS 9000 Storage Services Module and the Cisco MDS 9000 SAN-OS 2.1 software release. One key feature of Cisco's new offerings is serverless backup.

"Cisco is pushing ahead on putting intelligence into the network," said Stephanie Balaouras, a senior analyst at The Yankee Group. "Serverless backup will catch on quickly, because that remains the No. 1 most time-consuming operation for enterprises."

Cisco is not alone in pushing serverless backup. McData (Profile, Products, Articles) has made its intentions clear with its purchase of storage-networking provider CNT earlier this year. The serverless backup functions will work with EMC's (Profile, Products, Articles) storage router, which the storage company plans to introduce later this year.

Increased speed and intelligence are also factors in Foundry Networks' announcement this week of its NetIron line, which is designed for the delivery of the next generation of broadband Internet access and VPN services. The new product, available now starting at US$24,995, features a nonblocking distributed switch architecture, wire-speed multiservice network processors, and granular traffic-management controls. It is designed for metro and regional service providers, Internet service providers, large enterprises, universities, and government organizations.

"Ethernet, VPNs, and converged IP network services are the growth services of the future. Service providers must ready their networks to deliver these services or risk losing this profitable business to alternative providers," said Bobby Johnson, Foundry's chairman and CEO. "Our NetIron multiservice routers present an edge-to-core solution that is a fraction of the cost of current solutions and will help to accelerate the deployment of this vital infrastructure," he said.

Networking vendors are also continuing to offer new products for the remote office. Juniper Networks (Profile, Products, Articles) last week announced it is extending its NetScreen-5GT, a remote-office router, to wireless environments. The new product combines a security gateway with wireless security via the new Wireless Security Zones and a broad set of wireless-specific authentication and privacy mechanisms to enable provisioning of appropriate levels of access for different users.

"This year we're going to see more network products with intelligent features that allow IT to take advantage of the network," Yankee's Balaouras said.

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