BY DAVE SIMPSON
This month, Pirus Networks came partially out of stealth mode by officially launching itself and sketching plans for a switch that can handle a variety of protocols and I/O traffic, including Ethernet, IP storage, Fibre Channel, and iSCSI. The Acton, MA, start-up was formed in late 1999 and has raised $18.2 million in funding.
Pirus officials provided scant details on their "carrier-class" IP storage networking switch, which is due by year-end, but analysts say the company may have a few advantages in the increasingly crowded IP storage field. On the communications front, Pirus will compete to varying degrees with vendors such as Cisco, Computer Network Technology (CNT), Entrada, FalconStor, Lucent, Nishan Systems, SAN Valley, and SANcastle.
But analysts say Pirus may differentiate its products in a number of areas, including a high port count, the ability to handle file-level NFS/CIFS network-attached storage (NAS) traffic as well as block-level storage traffic, and storage-centric applications such as replication and NAS/SAN virtualization.
"The switch allows you to converge a storage infrastructure so you don't have separate NAS and SAN [storage area network] pools, which will lower total cost of ownership," says Ken Kutzer, director of product marketing at Pirus.
The PSX-1000 "Storage Utility Switch" is based on a six-slot chassis with two system slots and four I/O slots for storage and/or network cards in any combination. All cards will be hot-swappable. The architecture uses a non-blocking switch fabric design implemented largely in programmable logic. Beta units are due within the next two months.
A virtualization engine will allow for Secure Virtual Storage Domains with configuration and traffic reports by domain. However, Pirus officials admit that, in the first implementation, their virtualization functionality will not be on par with vendors that specialize in storage virtualization.
Initially, Pirus will target OEMs and service providers.