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More 10-Gig Ethernet SANs Planned

Suppliers say the ship's in sight for 10-Gbit/s Ethernet SAN gear. And at least two maintain it will clear the horizon by the first half of 2006.

Here's a rundown:

  • Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) targets the first quarter of 2006 as the starting date for widespread IP SAN adoption. That's when servers based on their new line of multifunction Ethernet-compatible controllers will start to appear. The Gigabit-Ethernet controllers were announced early in March (see Broadcom Intros Ethernet Controller). By making it easy for servers to link to iSCSI SANs, they will fuel widespread IP SAN adoption, Broadcom says. Six to nine months later, the vendor says there will be a burst of 10-Gbit/s Ethernet SAN activity -- though spokespeople aren't saying yet when Broadcom will offer a 10-Gbit/s version of its wares.
  • EqualLogic Inc. plans the rollout of a 10-Gbit/s IP SAN array by the second half of 2006. That date coincides with a point when the volume of data in most organizations will outgrow Gigabit-Ethernet transports, says marketing VP John Joseph. Specifically, as users move from having about 5 to over 50 Tbytes of data, they'll need pipes faster than 1 Gbit/s to move storage traffic over 3 to 4 percent of those pipes. Joseph says EqualLogic will be ready with iSCSI arrays to meet demand. "A lot of people are planning on [10-Gbit/s Ethernet SANs]," he says.
  • Intransa Inc. plans to demonstrate a prototype 10-Gbit/s Ethernet SAN array at the Storage Networking World tradeshow next month, and a spokeswoman says it will be followed by a product "this year."

Is this just more hype? After all, these aren't the first 10-Gbit/s Ethernet SAN plans to surface. iVivity Inc. recently unveiled a chipset for 10-Gbit/s appliances, including SAN gear (see iVivity to Show Off 10-GigE MAC). And Neterion Inc. and a few others have announced 10-Gbit/s adapters for use in faster SANs (see 10-GigE Hits Express Lane).

So far, though, timelines have been sketchy for both IP SANs in general and 10-Gbit/s Ethernet ones in particular.

Broadcom's director of storage products Shriraj Gaglani is confident that will change. "IP SANs have been talked about and hyped for many years, but are still a fringe technology," he says. "The first quarter of 2006 will radically change that."

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