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Storage-area nets kick into gear

Storage-area nets kick into gear

EMC has announced software to boost storage-area networking (SAN) security as well as support for several SAN hubs. And networking giant 3Com announced its entry into the SAN fray with a product line due early next year.

Analysts said the news supports projections for a booming SAN market. "We forecast that 37 per cent of external server storage sold in 2002 will be in a storage network," said Robert Gray, an analyst at IDC.

A SAN is like a back-end LAN that connects servers or clients with shared storage devices. Users can build SANs with other interfaces, such as Escon, but Fibre Channel is generally favoured due to improved maximum distances and transfer rates (10km and 100MBps respectively).

Volume Logix

EMC's new software, called Volume Logix, mediates access to storage volumes in shared subsystems. It is targeted at Windows NT storage networks because NT servers lack secure volume sharing.

With Volume Logix, EMC officials said users can connect multiple NT servers to a single port on an EMC Symmetrix array, via a hub, without the worry of overwrites. Fibre Channel hubs now supported by Symmetrix include those sold by Hewlett-Packard, Compaq Computer, Dell Computer and Siemens.

Thomas Lahive, an analyst at Dataquest in Massachusetts, said EMC's Volume Logix announcement is the first of its kind among the major disk array suppliers. "It will make EMC's penetration of the NT-based SAN market much easier," he said.

3Com said it plans to release both a Fibre Channel hub and a server host adapter in the first quarter of next year. Developed through partnerships with Fibre Channel veterans such as Gadzoox Networks, the products will start 3Com's new StorageConnect line.


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