QLogic's SANBox 5602

Senior technology editor Don MacVittie tests QLogic's 4 Gig SANBox 5602 16 port switch in our Green Bay, Wis., Real-World Labs and finds that despite its enterprise-class features and easy

May 20, 2005

2 Min Read
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I figured QLogic must have done more than simply increase the port speeds--even at 2 gigabits, negotiated speed improved. The vendor insisted it hadn't revamped the internal architecture dramatically. It will be interesting to test other vendors' 4-gigabit switches in the same environment to see if this improvement is global.Simple Setup

The process of getting the QLogic into the FC fabric was simple. I used the serial connection to adjust the management-port settings, then plugged it into the IP network and switch using SANsurfer, QLogic's switch-management software, for advanced configuration options.


• 4-gigabit-enabled• Performance improvements even at 2 gigabits• No direct integration with Netegritys


• Only 16 ports• Not as many bells and whistles as some leading FC switches

QLogic SANbox 5602, contact vendor for pricing. QLogic Corp., (800) 662-4471, (949) 389-6000. www.qlogic.com

Once the management port was configured, the switch was ready to run. Practically out of the box, it gave me connectivity with my storage. There was no zoning information, of course, but the storage, HBAs and LUNs (logical unit numbers) were autodetected, and when I refreshed disk manager in Windows, the LUNs I had lost while disconnecting the 5200s reappeared.

Zoning was easy to configure. QLogic has no less zoning functionality than the competition--all devices are listed in one pane and all zones in another. To add devices to a zone, simply drag and drop.

Port Authority

I wish the SANbox 5602 had more ports. Large SANs require hundreds, if not thousands, and I just can't see linking 200 pizza-box-sized switches to meet that kind of need. To be truly adaptable in bigger environments, switches must be director-class.

QLogic SANsurfer SAN ManagerClick to Enlarge

That said, if your SAN is not a Global 100 monster, the SANbox 5602 is viable--it has all the features you'd expect from an enterprise-class product. The management software is intuitive, and vertically upgrading your smaller or older SANbox switches is easy, assuming they're not so old that you have to recable everything.

Consider this solution if you run a small or midsize SAN, especially a QLogic SAN. My tests showed 80- to 110-Kbps throughput improvement over the SANbox 5200 using a 2-gigabit network--enough to stave off a massive upgrade cycle.

If you're accustomed to bells and whistles from leading-edge vendors, such as FC-IP connectivity and Cisco VLANs, you may find the QLogic switch's simplicity too constraining. But if it's core FC functionality you're after, you'll probably agree that the SANbox 5602 is about as good as they come.

Don MacVittie is a senior technology editor at Network Computing. Write to him at [email protected].

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