Gadzoox to ship chassis-based FC switch
By Dave Simpson
This month, Gadzoox Networks announced a Fibre Channel switch that comes in a chassis enclosure, a format that is common in the general networking market but unique in Fibre Channel storage switches. This design is in contrast to "fixed-configuration" switches that have a set number of ports. Gadzoox is shipping the Capellix switch to OEMs and partners, but general availability is not expected until this fall.
The chassis supports up to three plug-in modules (PIMs) that allow users to add ports and mix and match GBIC, optical, or copper connectors. The switch can scale from 6 to 34 ports (using small form factor ports) on the PIMs, as opposed to on the backplane. PIMs can also be used to add application-specific SAN services and data services. Other features of the Capellix switch include a non-blocking architecture, 28Gbps bandwidth on the backplane (vs. 8Gbps for some low-end switches), and a switching latency of less than two microseconds, according to company officials.
Joel Warford, director of product marketing at Gadzoox, claims that unlike "backbone fabric" switches, the Capellix switch does not require reconfiguration of disk arrays, controllers, host bus adapters, or software drivers.
"Capellix doesn`t force an infrastructure change," says James Staten, an analyst with Dataquest, a market research firm in San Jose. "It should be attractive to IT managers who want to move to switch technology but do not want to leave their existing FC-AL products behind."
Capellix switches are expected to range from $625 to $1,200 per port, depending on port count. A high-availability chassis option will be available for an extra $2,500. The switches, as well as Gadzoox`s Denali switches and Gibraltar Fibre Channel hubs, can be managed with the Ventana SAN Manager GUI software.