EMC Intros SME SAN Switch

Unveils a scaled-down, 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel SAN switch

November 30, 2005

2 Min Read
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EMC today announced a 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel switch targeted at firms with small-to-medium sized SANs -- and large wallets. (See EMC Adds Low-Cost Connectrix.)

Based on technology from Cisco, the MDS-9020 has half the port density of EMCs other MDS switches but double the throughput, EMC claims. (See Cisco Gears Up Storage Channel and Cisco Doubles SAN Sales.) The 20-port switch offers up to 4 Gbit/s of throughput per port and an aggregate bandwidth of 160 Gbit/s full duplex.

EMC execs say the switch should suit mid-sized firms looking to adopt ILM by shifting older data onto cheaper forms of storage media -- or tiers -- as its importance decreases. Switches running at 4 Gbit/s are viewed as a way to speed up the connection of multiple 2-Gbit/s fabrics in a tiered setup. (See Four-Gig FC Smites IP and B&S Insider Heralds 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel.)

The pitch appeals to at least one potential customer. ”Yes, we would consider this,” says Jon Latorella, CEO of LocatePLUS Holdings Corp., a firm that aggregates data for government agencies. He says improved throughput at 4 Gbit/s could prove invaluable for shifting data around the firm’s various storage systems.

At the heart of the LocatePLUS operation is a 250-terabyte database, which contains information used by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for the agency's anti-terrorism efforts. Moving this data quickly is high on Latorella's agenda. Currently, LocatePLUS is seeing its data volumes rise dramatically. “As the data continues to grow, having more robust switches would enable us to move data much faster from one storage array to another,” he explains.But Latorella thinks the MDS-9020’s list price, which starts at $10,800, could be a sticking point. “It’s a little bit high,” he says. “But that’s the list price, so there may be some room for movement.”

An IT manager at a West Coast entertainment company, who asked not to be named, admitted that the MDS-9020 is beyond his firm’s means, stating, “We don’t have a budget for that.”

It's also not clear how many SMB firms (like Latorella's) that are clamoring for 4-Gbit/s technology. Despite plenty of vendor hype, users at the recent Storage Networking World conference in Orlando were split on its merits. Some voiced concerns about the performance limits of their current 2-Gbit/s deployments, but others felt that existing 2-Gbit/s technologies are sufficient. (See 4-Gig Fans Fawn.)

The Connectrix MDS-9020 is available immediately from EMC and its Velocity Channel Partners.

— James Rogers, Senior Editor, Byte and SwitchOrganizations mentioned in this article:

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