Coriolis Bursts Into SANs

The startup is about to announce a partnership with Crossroads Systems targeting storage service providers

February 1, 2001

2 Min Read
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Next Monday (February 5) Coriolis Networks Inc. and Crossroads Systems Inc. plan to announce a partnership that aims to help carriers reduce their costs when offering storage services to corporate customers.

Under the deal, the companies will offer a package of Corioliss Sonet multiservice provisioning platform, called Optiflow, and Crossroads’ SAN (storage area network) gateway, called the 7100.

The combination, according to Coriolis, will enable service providers to make much more efficient use of their infrastructure and thus cut costs. It will also help them respond quickly to customer requirements, giving them a further competitive advantage in a market that looks set to boom (see Storage Networks Supernova).

This is by no means the first example of an optical equipment vendor teaming up with or acquiring a company specializing in SAN gear (see Brocade, ONI, Partner on SANs, MANs and Adva Gives Its DWDM More Carrier Appeal for instance). But this deal is different on a couple of counts, according to Greg Wortman, Coriolis's vice president for marketing.

First and foremost, Coriolis’s platform is particularly well suited for carrying the bursty traffic found on SANs. This typically consists of block read or write commands, while the rest of the time there's zilch. "If you have a gigabit pipe from one SAN to another, in the world of Sonet you have to tie up an entire OC48 [2.5 Gbit/s] of bandwidth to allow for this," says Wortman. Optiflow sets up and tears down connections on demand, only tying up bandwidth when there’s traffic to carry. It can do this in a more granular way than other multiservice provisioning platforms, according to Wortman. It assigns bandwidth to circuits in half-megabit increments. Other vendors in this space, like Appian Communications and Geyser Networks Inc., carve up capacity in 1.5-Mbit/s chunks.

OptiFlow also prioritizes different types of traffic, and makes use of otherwise empty protection circuits in Sonet rings to further increase bandwidth efficiency.

Crossroads' 7100 is an ideal accompaniment to Coriolis’s platform, according to Wortman, mainly because it’s small and simple. It’s the size of a pizza box and has only two ports -- one Fibre Channel for connecting the SAN, and one Sonet for connecting Optiflow.

Wortman says other partnerships often aim on linking optical gear with much more complicated and expensive SAN switches. “That's like shooting a rabbit with an elephant gun," he contends.

Coriolis is demonstrating its Optiflow platform at the Comnet show in Washington this week, at booth number 4302 (see Coriolis to Demo OptiFlow Network). -- Pauline Rigby, senior editor, Light Reading

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