God Goes Down to the Crossroads

Will Crossroads' multiprotocol storage router go the same way as the 'God boxes' of networking?

August 10, 2001

2 Min Read
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Crossroads Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CRDS) took the wraps off an ambitious multiprotocol storage router this week.

Its Storage Router 8000 product supports Fibre Channel, iSCSI, and Infiniband networks, plus whatever else comes along,” says Rich Lautzenheiser, VP of marketing at Crossroads.

The question is whether by trying to cram so many features into the device, Crossroads has built a "God box" (networking parlance for a device that supports many functions, but pays a performance penalty in doing so).

The optical networking industry saw a spate of God-box announcements last year -- none of which met with much success (see God is Dead). Alidian Networks Inc., Astral Point Communications Inc., Geyser Networks Inc., and Mayan Networks Inc. each got in a bit of a mess trying to offer multiprotocol devices, and most of them are now struggling to stay afloat.

So will this approach fare bettter in the storage networking market? Crossroads certainly thinks so."The storage market is different," Lautzenheiser insists. “Many of our OEMs are demanding a fixed configuration system that can connect FC and iSCSI networks to tape libraries, spanning the two networks with one product.” He adds that the product is modular and capable of supporting "all other protocols" as well.

Currently 80 to 90 percent of the company’s revenue comes from selling routers that connect SCSI tape libraries to Fibre Channel SANs. “But with the 8000 we’re entering the multiprotocol stage now and connecting into other networks,” says Lautzenheiser.

Crossroads isn't alone in finding religion. Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ), Chaparral Inc., Vicom Systems Inc., Pathlight (now ADIC), and 3ware Inc. are also offering multiprotocol, all-singing, all-dancing routers.

Crossroads appears to have plenty of experience under its belt. The company has been in the storage business for about seven years and went public two years ago. It turned over $33 million in revenue last year and expects to hit just north of $40 million this year. It reports its third-quarter results on August 21 and expects no big changes to this target.

— Jo Maitland, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch http://www.byteandswitch.com

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