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Cisco Implants IP in SANs

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has at last pulled the pieces together on its storage-over-IP strategy, rolling out a multitiered approach to bridging Fibre Channel SAN islands to the IP mainland (see Cisco Extends SANs Over IP).

Cisco's new SAN extension options include a Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP) adapter for its 7200 and 7400 routers and a new version of its SN 5428 router that supports FCIP. The company is also taking this opportunity to rehype the IP module for its Fibre Channel switch family, which it originally announced last summer.

"Anywhere you can provide IP, you can now connect your SANs," says Ed Chapman, senior director of product marketing in Cisco's storage networking technologies group.

Of course, Cisco goes into this expecting to dominate the market for IP-based networking technologies of all stripes. And it now may have put together a broader and deeper storage-over-IP story than anyone else in the industry. CNT (Nasdaq: CMNT) and Nishan Systems Inc. are two vendors that should be concerned with Cisco's increasing encroachment on their territory

The FCIP port adapter for Cisco's 7200 and 7400 series routers uses a TCP/IP offload engine chip supplied by Adaptec Inc. (Nasdaq: ADPT). This module, with a list price of $10,000, is designed to let customers interconnect their multiple Fibre Channel SANs over long distances via FCIP, an encapsulation protocol developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The single-port adapter module is able to support up to OC3 (155-Mbit/s) links, Cisco claims.

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