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Storage Decisions Being the competent vendors that they are, Cisco, Network Appliance and EMC all made good use of the Storage Decisions conference being held here this week and rolled out new gear.

Cisco rounded out its still young MDS 9000 family of Fibre Channel switches with the addition of two new products. The Cisco MDS 9216i fabric switch and the Cisco MDS 9000 Multiprotocol Services Module fit into the SAN (storage area network) expansion category, meaning they let customers add support for new networking protocols. In this case, Cisco has delivered products that can use either Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP) or Internet Small Computer Systems Interface (iSCSI). The products have 14 Fibre Channel ports and two gigabit Ethernet ports and will be available at the start of the fourth quarter.

Along with the new hardware, Cisco also upgraded its switch operating system - SAN-OS 2.0. Most notably, the latest software should boost the performance of tape backups being done with FCIP via some nifty I/O acceleration technology. In addition, Cisco is now supporting hardware-based IPSec encryption over both FCIP and iSCSI and has upped Fibre Channel buffer-to-buffer credits from 255 per port to 3,500 per port, which should help admins performing long distance operations over Fibre Channel. The new OS will also ship at the start of the fourth quarter.

NetApp focused on the software side of the house too with the release of a product called LockVault. This software is aimed at both the disaster recovery and data backup markets.

The software basically gives customers a way to store, index and recover unstructured data. It's designed to help companies meet regulatory requirements for both finding files and assuring auditors that the files have not been altered since they were stored. This product is similar to existing software from the likes of EMC, HP and Veritas and more information on LockVault is available here.

EMC came out with a two specialized new applications for PeopleSoft and Microsoft customers.

EMC announced that its DatabaseXtender software will now work with PeopleSoft's financial, HR and supply chain products. The DatabaseXtender software monitors what types of data are regularly being used and moves inactive files to less expensive storage boxes as needed. This frees up the high-performing, more expensive kit to crunch key jobs.

For Microsoft Exchange Server users, EMC has rolled out the Express Solution for E-Mail product. This is the first in a series of "Express" systems EMC plans to roll out with each being a hardware and software bundle.

In this case, customers can pick up the EMC kit to help them consolidate thousands upon thousands of e-mail messages down onto a single box. The total Express Solution for E-mail bundle includes a Clarrion server, Legato's EmailXtender Archive Edition software, EMC Replication Manager and EMC Exchange Accelerator Service. ®

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