April 17, 2001 Lucent Technologies (www.lucent.com) recently demonstrated a new technology that enables a single device to cost-effectively provide high-speed interconnection of storage area networks over regional and long-distance backbones.
Lucent OptiStar EdgeSwitch can now cost-effectively deliver Fibre Channel to data centers and storage facilities that are separated by great distances. This will provide carriers and enterprises with a cost-effective way to offer such critical storage applications as data backup, disaster recovery, data replication, storage hosting, and storage trading over existing carrier networks. The technology, known as Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP), is a standards-based technology co-authored by Lucent Technologies and leading storage networking vendors.
Fibre Channel is the predominant storage networking protocol used in today's storage area networks (SANs), and offers the reliability, speed, and minimal delay required for block-level storage transport. The Lucent OptiStar EdgeSwitch provides SANs with a direct optical link to metropolitan and wide area networks (WANs) based on Internet Protocol (IP). By adding the FCIP capability to the switch, Lucent has solved a critical problem that has limited efforts to achieve effective storage networking over distance: extending Fibre Channel-based SANs to optical IP networks while supporting existing Fibre Channel infrastructure and performance levels.
The OptiStar EdgeSwitch uses FCIP technology to place Fibre Channel data into IP packets, allowing both block- and file-level storage traffic to be routed over the IP WANs along with IP data traffic. This approach makes it possible to share a high-capacity WAN link for both IP storage and data traffic, as well as to use standard IP routing for full multi-point storage connectivity. Carriers and enterprises can now leverage existing SAN infrastructure, protect their investments, and allow servers and storage devices to communicate across long-distance routes.