By Sonia R. Lelii
This month, CNT began a rollout of its next generation of director-class storage networking switches.
The UltraNet Multi-service Director (UMD) is based on CNT's UltraScale architecture, which will allow users to expand the device to support 512 non-blocking ports. The directors support 1Gbps, 2Gbps, 4Gbps, and, eventually, 10Gbps speeds. They initially support Fibre Channel and FICON and in the future will support iSCSI and FCIP.
An active-active architecture allows the directors to operate continuously during fail-over, which can take place at the director or port level. The directors are also designed to integrate a variety of services, including security, WAN/MAN extensions, SAN segmentation, and storage services such as virtualization and management.
The UMD directors come with a variety of storage services, including the ability to host applications like volume management, virtualization, replication, and policy-based management.
CNT will stagger the rollout of UMD models. The first model, the UMD-16, began shipping this month and supports up to 256 non-blocking ports (FICON or Fibre Channel). Additional models will include the UMD-2 for departmental and remote data centers; UMD-7 for mid-sized businesses or small data centers; and UMD-32 for service providers or large companies. The 32-port UMD-2 will be available in the first half of next year. The 112-port UMD-7 is due in the second half of 2005, and the 512-port UMD-32 in 2006.
Marc Staimer, president of Dragon Slayer Consulting, says CNT's high-density UMD switches will compete head-on with directors from Cisco and McData, but adds that "ultimately, the functions on switches aren't that different. The vendor with the best vision and ability to execute on that vision will be the leader."