NTT Connects SANs in Japan

Buys DWDM equipment from Nortel as managed SAN connectivity services get big in Japan

June 28, 2003

3 Min Read
Network Computing logo

Managed SAN connectivity and business continuity services have recently been growing in popularity in the U.S. and Europe, and now it looks as if theyre about to hit it really big in Japan.

Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) announced today that one of that country’s leading IP solutions providers, NTT Communications Corp., has bought its OPTera Metro 5200 dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) equipment as it attempts to quench enterprise customer demand for SAN extension services (see NTT Picks Nortel for Metro).

Nortel did not disclose the size of the deal or any financial details, and NTT was not available for comment by press time. Nortel's director of marketing for optical storage, Jack Hunt, however, insists it’s a significant deal, and he says NTT has already deployed the DWDM equipment to interconnect a number of sites. The Japanese company is offering managed wavelength services, including Fibre Channel leased lines and point-to-point backbone services for disaster recovery.

NTT's part of a trend, it seems. Up until a few years ago, enterprises had no choice but to lease dark fiber and build and manage these very complex networks themselves. Ever since service providers climbed onboard, however, more and more enterprises are opting to let them take on the complicated task.

“For large corporations that have storage needs like remote disk mirroring and whatever they have to provide business continuity, there are only two ways to do it,” says RHK Inc. analyst Ron Klein. “They can do it themselves, or get someone to do it for them… The outsourced solution tends to be easier to digest… just because they have someone to lean on, and this is complicated stuff.”Although the SAN extension market is still in its infancy, there are already plenty of players fighting for the service providers’ attention. While Nortel accounts for 45 percent of the market, according to a recent IDC report, ADVA AG Optical Networking (Frankfurt: ADV) holds a good chunk of the remaining market share. Other established players, such as Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), and Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) are also edging their way into the ring.

Observers say the greatest potential market growth could lie in Asia, where companies have had far less access to dark fiber (see BT Cranks Up SANs on the MAN and AT&T Puts Hands on SANs).

“Dark fiber has not been available in Asia,” says Brian McCann, chief marketing and strategy officer for ADVA. “High-performance storage networks weren’t possible before, so a lot of these guys were doing tape.” This posed huge problems, he says, pointing out that while mirroring 60 Tbytes of data to a remote data center over DWDM might take five hours, the same transaction would take about five months over a T3 connection.

While he’s not celebrating competitor Nortel’s contract win with NTT, McCann says it’s actually a good thing for the industry. “You need two companies to make and drive a market,” he insists.

— Eugénie Larson, Reporter, Byte and Switch

Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like

More Insights