McData is due to release the first fruit of its acquisition of Nishan Systems later today. The Eclipse 1620 is a gateway device, connecting heterogeneous Fibre Channel and iSCSI storage networks either locally or over IP links.

Like Nishan's products, it uses iFCP (internet Fibre Channel protocol) which links SAN devices selectively. By comparison, the alternative FCIP technology used by vendors such as Cisco, Lucent and CNT creates tunnels between networks.

Using iFCP allows SANs to be linked over a public IP network with fault isolation, according to Mark Stratton, McData's director of marketing solutions and alliances. A fault on one SAN will propagate to the others over an FCIP tunnel, but not via iFCP, he says.

"The 1620 is a kind of shadow switch," he adds. "It can make remote devices look local and then provision them by setting up sessions between devices, whereas tunnelling masks that by passing all traffic."

"You can also use it as an iSCSI gateway - it does iSNS and domain discovery. The goal there is to propagate storage consolidation to lower cost servers. The name of the game is to efficiently aggregate more servers so it gets cheaper overall."

The next task is to qualify the device with replication software such as Truecopy and SRDF, he says.

Stratton would not confirm pricing for the Eclipse 1620, but says it should not be too far from the Nishan 3300 device at $30,000 each, or $150,000 for a complete SAN disaster recovery or business continuity solution.

He confirms that the integration of Nishan into McData is well underway, with Nishan's office lease expiring soon and its employees moving in with McData's SANavigator software group.

"The Nishan brand has gone - everything is labelled McData now, but it's the same technology, dropped straight into the McData range," he adds.