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Sun to offer 2G bit/sec SAN support

Sun Microsystems has announced a storage area network (SAN) suite of hardware and software products that support 2Gbit/sec fibre channel networks, doubling the data transfer rates of its existing SANs.

Sun's StorEdge Open SAN Architecture is a multi-vendor environment that includes a new Sun StorEdge 2Gbit/sec 16-port switch and support for Brocade Communications Systems's 16-port, 2Gbit/sec switch.

The StorEdge architecture also supports Brocade's Model 12000 64-port director-class switch and McData's Intrepid 6064 director switch.

Sun had previously supported two 1Gbit/sec switches on its storage networks. Its SAN can now support up to 64 2Gbit/sec switches.

Sun also announced the availability of single and dual-port 2Gbit/sec host bus adapters.

Sun's announcement follows similar 2Gbit/sec, Fibre Channel-enabled products released earlier this year by EMC, Hewlett-Packard and IBM.

With its new products, Sun said it is now able to support Linux, Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 operating systems. It will continue to support HP's HP/UX Unix system and IBM's AIX-based servers.

Working off its relationship with Nortel Networks, Sun's SAN is also able to use dense-wave division multiplexing technology to send fibre channel packets over distances of up to 80km. According to Art Beckman, product line manager for SANs at Sun, distances exceeding 80km are not recommended because of the breakdown of data packets.

"The focus on this architecture was doing scalability from the workgroup to the data centre," Beckman said.

Jamie Gruener, a storage networking analyst at The Yankee Group, said that what was most significant about Sun's announcement is its new software suite that is "executing against its road map of products that extends storage-network management and storage resource management".

Sun announced a number of new software products and upgrades for storage network management, including its Sun StorEdge Diagnostic Expert software and enhanced versions of the Sun StorEdge Resource Management and Availability Suites.

Beckman said the diagnostic software gives storage administrators a topology view that also "tells you what it thinks the problems are and recommends what actions to take".

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