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Cisco Plants Storage Virtualization Flag

Cisco Systems Inc. added to its virtualization arsenal Thursday with a new module that builds on the emerging Fabric Application Interface Standard, and coupled it with agreements with a host of third parties who will either OEM the module or build application software for it.

The new switch module, the Cisco MDS 9000, is intended to help vendors and customers address storage provisioning, data migration, backup and recovery, disk capacity usage, and storage management costs, Cisco said.

The Fabric Application Interface Standard (FAIS) is an open API delivering storage functions, such as virtualization and RAID, through a switch or appliance that sits between the application and data processor devices. Brocade, EMC and McData also plan to push virtualization through switch architectures.

The Cisco technologies that power Intelligent Fabric Applications are available through the new Cisco MDS 9000 Storage Services Module and the Cisco MDS 9000 SAN-OS 2.1 software release. The Cisco MDS 9000 storage services module is a 32-port Fibre Channel line card that works with Cisco's MDS 9500 series directors and the 9200 series fabric switches. In tandem, new switch software, SAN-OS 2.1, includes features designed to work with third-party storage software.

In that vein, Cisco said EMC and Veritas will be among the first vendors to offer network-hosted storage applications built onto the module. For example, EMC will offer its Storage Router virtualization appliance, which includes software specifically built to take advantage of intelligent SAN switches. The two vendors are demonstrating the capabilities this week at the CeBIT tradeshow in Hanover, Germany.

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