by DAVE SIMPSON
Aiming to get a foothold in the nascent market for communications gear that enables companies to link storage area networks (SANs) over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, Entrada Networks plans to ship in the next quarter a transport router dubbed Silverline. Initially, the router will support Fibre Channel, Gigabit Ethernet, and WAN interfaces such as T3, ATM, and OC-3. The router comes in a fixed configuration with two Fibre Channel ports (with E_Port support), two Gigabit Ethernet ports, and two WAN ports.
Entrada's router will compete to varying degrees with products from Cisco, Computer Network Technology (CNT), Lucent, NetConvergence, Nishan Systems, Pathlight, and SAN Valley.
Despite potential competition, analysts expect Entrada to find a spot in the IP storage market. "Entrada offers a relatively low-cost product for mid-range storage-over-IP users," says Steve Duplessie, an analyst with the Enterprise Storage Group. "OEMs will benefit from the flexibility of having Ethernet, Fibre Channel, and WAN connections, which will satisfy most initial market requirements."
Entrada's Silverline transport routers tunnel Fibre Channel traffic over IP networks.
San Diego-based Entrada demonstrated the routers at last month's Comdex show and began beta shipments to a handful of OEMs this month. The company plans to target OEMs that sell such products as switches/directors, disk array subsystems, and networking equipment, as well as storage integrators. The router will be available in a standalone configuration or as an add-in "blade" that could be integrated into devices such as Fibre Channel directors.
Eventually, Entrada plans to add support for SONET, OC-12, OC-48, iSCSI, and other emerging communications technologies.
The SAN transport routers use tunneling technology to carry Fibre Channel over IP. The technology will eventually be compatible with the Internet Protocol Fibre Channel standard under development in the Internet Engineering Task Force.
Expected applications for SAN-over-IP include data replication, backup, disaster recovery, and data distribution.
For more information, see "Lucent, Vixel deliver FC over IP," p. 1.