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Coraid And Arista Partner On High-Performance Ethernet SAN

Presaging a future data center with converged networking and storage, storage vendor Coraid and data switching vendor Arista Networks announced this week that they are partnering to deliver high-performance Ethernet storage area networking that the companies say could offer a five to eight times price/performance advantage over legacy storage systems, and at the same time make it easier to deploy virtualization and the cloud. The companies are doing this in two steps: first, by certifying that their products work with each other's and, second, through deeper product integration in the future.

Coraid is an Ethernet SAN vendor whose Coraid EtherDrive competes with vendors such as Network Appliance and EMC, says Carl Wright, VP of sales for the Redwood City, Calif., company. The company's Ethernet-based storage products are faster than similar storage products that use Fibre Channel technology and cheaper than the iSCSI interface that some other products use, he says.

In comparison, Arista Networks is an Ethernet infrastructure vendor that has built 10-gig racks and 24- and 48-port products and is introducing data center switching products, says Douglas Gourlay, VP of marketing for the Santa Clara, Calif., company. It has also brought out a modular platform and is introducing data center switching products, he says.

The advantage of merging the two companies' architectures is that users will be able to leverage an already-built Ethernet infrastructure, meaning that storage would be reduced to largely an operational expense, Gourlay says. In addition, the combination of the two companies' systems results in a level of performance that pushes 10Bytes per second--a speed that typically breaks users' infrastructure if it was simply a network intended to support e-mail, he says. The real-time requirements of storage, as well as its use of large file sizes, offers the potential to drive change.

"Coraid and Arista share a perspective on where data centers are heading--and it will be a highly virtualized, flexible, dynamic and low-unit-cost world," says Mark Peters, senior analyst for Enterprise Strategy Group "Much of this has been delivered, as far as the compute platforms and applications go, but there's plenty of room for improvement in networking and storage. In this partnership, Coraid brings a new approach to simplified yet powerful storage, while Arista is the fast, fluid connectivity that meshes that together. Today, this combination represents a sneak preview into the sort of infrastructure that will be the main feature."

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