Eight storage vendors have formed a new alliance aimed at fostering
greater enterprise adoption of 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) and greater
interoperability among switch, adapter and storage system products.
Leading the 10 Gigabit Ethernet Storage Alliance is Nimbus Data Systems,
which makes multiprotocol IP storage products. The remaining seven vendors
include Arastra, Force10 Networks, Fujitsu, Fulcrum Microsystems, Mellanox
Technologies (NASDAQ: MLNX), Neterion and NetXen.
“We’re rallying to bring all the pieces of the 10GbE storage puzzle
together,” Thomas Isakovich, Nimbus founder and CEO, told
Providing better interoperability is clearly a winning strategy for both
customers and vendors. So is boosting customer awareness of a technology
that is coming into its own. Today’s $2 billion market is expected to more
than double to $4.4 billion in just two years, according to research firm
Dell ‘Oro Group.
“10 Gibabit Ethernet technologies have been around for awhile, and it
appears that enterprise customers may finally be coming around,” Charles
King, principal analyst, Pund-IT, told InternetNews.com, adding that
storage and server consolidation are driving the need for more robust
“10GbE offers businesses significantly enhanced performance at a
fraction of the cost of traditional Fibre Channel solutions,” King
explained. “This is nothing new, but with the market for 10GbE heating up,
the Alliance could help its members better compete against networking
behemoths like Cisco Systems,” he said.
Alliance members believe the cost benefits and higher performance will
start swaying today’s prevalent use of Fibre Channel toward 10GbE. The
group claims the infrastructure cost of 10GbE is 30 to 75 percent less than
that of 4Gb/sec Fibre Channel.
But cost is just one reason 10GbE is gaining ground. The pipe can reduce
storage infrastructure costs and let enterprises combine block and
file-level services into one network while boosting bandwidth and
supporting current protocols such as iSCSI (define)
and emerging protocols like Fibre Channel over Ethernet.
Force10 Networks, which has forged close channel relationships with
Nimbus, joined the Alliance effort to foster and support the growing iSCSI
movement. The vendor is also championing the evolution
of a 100GbE standard expected by 2010.
The Alliance roster, while still growing, is clearly absent some
big-name storage players, including Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) and NetApp
(NASDAQ: NTAP). EMC (NYSE: EMC) and Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD) are also out of
Alliance leaders note it’s just the start of the grassroots effort and
expect more vendors to join as it takes shape.
“This ‘the Alliance’ is about giving people choices; it’s about the
story of iSCSI and how it can help enterprises,” Stephen Garrison, Force10
vice president of marketing, told InternetNews.com.
Garrison said the Alliance provides customers proof that Force10
Networks switches and Nimbus storage systems are interoperable and provide
the infrastructure needed to consolidate and gain greater efficiency of
“Interoperability of the ecosystem is what customers want, and that’s
the focus of this Alliance,” he said. “Partners in this have proven they
have tested plug-and-play solutions, which is what customers want.”