Vendors Share a SANdwich

Brocade, Compaq, Emulex, IBM, JNI, and QLogic have announced a jointly developed, end-to-end Storage Area Network (SAN) solution, registered under the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) Supported Solutions Forum, that extends multi-vendor interoperability and support for SAN customers.

The open SAN solution qualified by the six companies consists of heterogeneous Compaq, IBM and other server platforms connected to a Compaq StorageWorks or an IBM Enterprise Storage Server using Brocade SilkWorm fabric switches. The StorageWorks and IBM storage subsystems operate on separate data zones sharing a common fabric within the SAN, and are connected to the server via Emulex LightPulse, JNI FibreStar, and QLogic SANblade Host Bus Adapters (HBAs). The SAN design features a redundant fabric enabling a fault tolerant network with dual path and HBA fail-over capabilities, intended to provide the flexibility, reliability, and high availability that customers require. Simultaneous data backup and recovery capabilities are supported with IBM’s Tivoli Storage Manager. There are also some third-party offerings.

The new multi-vendor SAN solution is the first to be accepted and approved by the Supported Solutions Forum (SSF), under its new submission and registration guidelines. To be included in the SSF registry, a solution must meet specific criteria, such as offering customers a choice of products that are jointly supported by the vendors that supply the configuration’s components. The SSF is a subgroup that was created within the SNIA to promote customer adoption of storage networking solutions by enabling vendors to work together in qualifying jointly supported storage network solutions. Building on the original concept to provide industry-standard storage networking solutions, announced by SNIA in June 2001, the new SSF SAN solution is a jointly qualified, collaborative effort by the six companies to create a SAN that is optimized for back-up and high availability applications. Brocade, Compaq, Emulex, IBM, JNI, and QLogic have all signed agreements intended to simplify cooperative support in heterogeneous storage networking environments. The new solution is available to customers now.

SSF storage networking solutions are designed to be open, standards-based storage networks that provide tested and cooperatively supported interoperability for products supplied by multiple vendors. Intended benefits include increased flexibility for networked storage infrastructures, reduced costs from sharing network-wide backup resources, greater investment protection and maximized value of storage networking technology. With this latest SAN solution, storage networking customers are better able to deploy heterogeneous SANs to store, access, manage, and secure business critical data.

The products comprising the tested solution are available in several slightly varied configurations from the respective participating vendors, thus allowing customers to choose the configuration that best meets their storage networking requirements, while still providing a consistent set of functionality. Furthermore, the tested solution contains software that features the ability for separate data zones within the SAN to share a single back-up tape library, delivering on the SNIA’s commitment to promote supported solutions with additional vendors and components, to increase the level of component interoperability, and to integrate storage applications, such as LAN-free back-up and high availability.

Related article: Playing Together Well in the SANdbox

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