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Cisco offers Fiber Channel line card for 454 platform

Posted: 15 Sep 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:cisco systems? 15454 multiservice provisioning platform? cerent? sl-series? interface card?

Cisco Systems Inc.'s ubiquitous 15454 Multiservice Provisioning Platform is looking more like the all-purpose box its initial developers, Cerent Corp., wanted it to be.

After adding a dense wave division multiplexing front-end to the 454 at Supercomm, Cisco came to the National Fiber Optic Engineering Conference with line cards for the Sonet-plus access systems that support 1Gb and 2Gb Fiber Channel connections for storage support.

Scott Messenger, director of product management for the Cisco 454 system, said Cerent founders envisioned the ONS 15454 platform doing more than terminating Sonet traffic. Once Cisco acquired Cerent, it forced the 454 to walk before it could run. This approach works well in the current downturn because it allows carriers to start with Sonet add-drop multiplexing, then experiment with added functions for a provisioning platform, Messenger said.

The new SL-series interface cards use gigabit interface converter modules to place four Fiber Channel ports on a single card, allowing a 454 to be populated with as many as 40 Fiber Channel interfaces. Cisco is making wide use of GBIC components, though it is also using the SFP fiber module in several designs.

Cisco is proposing a variety of distributed storage-management tasks for the 454, such as controlling clusters of localized storage based on Catalyst switches and iSCSI systems. It also could be used in a cable-TV headend for distributed management, allowing a multisystem operator to enter the managed storage business for the first time.

Some cable operators also are bringing resilient packet ring topologies into this mix. Cisco announced a contract here with Cogeco Cable Canada Inc., in which the 15454 with Ethernet and IP switching, will be used to perform Ethernet switching over Sonet.

Interest in storage applications has increased significantly since the Sept. 11 terror attacks and the August 2003 Northeast blackout, Messenger said. This is because more enterprises recognize the necessity of efficient disaster recovery by distributing storage management across a metropolitan or regional carrier network.

Upgrading the 454 platform also is timed to respond to Nortel Networks Inc.'s summer rollouts of OpTera systems based on Ethernet storage over Sonet. Marco Pagani, president of Nortel's Optical Ethernet group, said "it's uncanny how Cisco has found religion after dismissing Fibre Channel as superfluous."

Messenger said Cisco will confirm the openness of its storage solutions by submitting to carrier certification programs and using standard Sonet for carrying data.

Nortel's Pagani said proof that Cisco is supporting open standards will come as both companies deal with existing server and storage specialists like Sun, IBM, EMC and McData.

"The data center elements will dominate storage networking from the inside out," Pagani said. "Those of us adding storage from the network side must link in an extremely tight fashion with storage partners. We are already forming those partnerships, and it will be interesting to see if Cisco can do the same."

- Loring Wirbel

EE Times





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