SNW: Day One

Show kicks off, attendance up, and here's our pick of key announcements

October 23, 2001

5 Min Read
Network Computing logo

ORLANDO, Fla. - The organizers of the Storage Networking World show were stunned by the turnout today. They had originally expected it to be good, given the buzz in this market. Then the events of September 11 took hold, and many companies cut back their travel plans.

“We had several sponsors drop out at the last minute, and the registration tailed off after September 11,” said Ronald Milton, VP and general manager of strategic programs for ComputerWorld, the organizers of the show. He said they were expecting 750 people, but by lunch time today 1,500 had registered, with more still to come.

Incidentally, the Byte and Switch team were part of the “overspill crowd” that got kicked into another hotel down the road. (Thanks, Ron!)

Here are the highlights from Monday:

  • Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) appears to be getting its act together on the iSCSI front after an initial reluctance to embrace the new technology (see Agilent Stands Firm on Fibre Channel). This week it will announce an iSCSI developers kit, including software and a PCI card, for customers preparing to migrate their networks from Fibre Channel to iSCSI. “We now have a well-defined iSCSI strategy but will continue to lead in the Fibre Channel market,” said Dan Parkman, communications manager at Agilent. In the first quarter 2002, Agilent plans to release a 1-Gbit/s iSCSI controller.

  • Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) announced a 2-Gbit/s Fibre Channel switch for enterprise use. (see Brocade Ponders 2-Gbit/s Test).

  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) spokespeople told Byte and Switch that “there will be no show-stopper announcements from us at SNW” -- which is a little disappointing, given the huge fanfare Cisco made entering the market over six months ago. It did announce three organizations that are “evaluating” its SN 5420 storage router: Komatsu America International Company -- the North American subsidiary of Komatsu Ltd., a manufacturer of heavy machinery and electronics; the University of Houston-Downtown; and Data Peer Inc., a managed data and storage service provider based in New York. In addition, it announced an upgrade to the 5420 firmware, which now plugs in to tape libraries.

  • Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) unveiled a NAS server running the “Windows powered for NAS” operating system from Microsoft Corp (Nasdaq: MSFT). The server, affectionately referred to as the StorageWorks NAS Executor E700, will be released in December at a “significantly lower cost” than the Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) NAS devices, Compaq said. Compaq was unable to provide precise numbers, however. Compaq also took the wraps off a new storage array, the Enterprise Virtual Array, that supports 17 terabytes of storage and includes an embedded “early version” of its VersaStor virtualization technology. (It can only virtualize Compaq storage, though.) The standalone SAN-wide VersaStor product is not expected until the second quarter 2002.

  • Hitachi Data Systems rolled out its HiCommand software framework, a Web-based user interface for controlling its arrays. It has certified InterSAN’s software to perform virtualization across its storage products and may eventually resell this software. Through new, unannounced partnerships, HDS plans to extend its virtualization capabilities to managing other vendors' storage within a year. However, a company spokesperson who requested anonymity told Byte and Switch that EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) is not on this list. “There has to be a level of maturity happen there first… We need their APIs as well as vice-versa,” he says. But EMC is not prepared to hand over the goods. They are "paying lip service to the open API movement." Meanwhile, SANpoint control software from Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS) and Highground SRM software from Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) have also been certified to work with HiCommand.

  • McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDT) announced a partnership with Cisco and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) to certify iSCSI-to-Fibre Channel bridging technology. Using McData’s 3000 series switches, Cisco’s SN5420 storage router, and IBM’s shark storage array, customers can get access to block-level SCSI networks via Fibre Channel SANs. This news adds an interesting twist to Cisco’s alleged relationship with Brocade, as the two firms are supposed to be jointly working on FC blades for Cisco’s Catalyst 6000 switches. The consensus among analysts is that this deal is truly washed up.

  • After months of hype, Nishan Systems Inc. has finally announced it is ready to ship its 16-port multiprotocol SAN switch. The device supports Fibre Channel, gigabit Ethernet, IFCP, FCIP, and iSCSI. Nishan claims to have two or three large financial institutions testing the box, which is priced at $33,000. “We have an eight-month lead on protocol support and $50 million left in the bank from our investors,” says a company spokesperson. Now all the little upstart needs is customers.

  • SANcastle Technologies, a gigabit Ethernet to Fibre Channel translation switch maker, is expected to announce its first two reseller agreements any day now. The likely partners are Inrange Technologies Corp. and gigabit Ethernet switch-maker Anritsu, which SanCastle has been in tests with for a while. The startup is also working on a 16-port version of its switch and is in the middle of closing a third round of funding, expected to be around $30 million. CIBC World Markets will be the lead on the round, which is still open to industry investors, SanCastle officials said.

  • FC switch-maker Vixel Corp. (Nasdaq: VIXL)unveiled version 3.5 of its SANInsite device management software, which now supports all the major FC switch vendors' products -- not just its own. For the first time, customers will be able to purchase the software without having to buy a Vixel switch, the company said. Analysts noted that it has taken Vixel a year to do this and that the move is really the only way it can go, given its piddling marketshare. In other words, it has no choice but to manage everyone else’s switches.

    — Jo Maitland, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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

You May Also Like

More Insights