McData has produced a new 10Gbit/s link for its directors that it says will removes limits on SAN size.

Large storage networks comprise groups of switches connecting to groups of servers and groups of storage devices. These switches connect to directors in the heart of the SAN fabric like spokes in a wheel connecting to a hub. Such inter-switch-links (ISLs) are used to carry consolidated data across the SAN fabric. They are also used to interconnect separate SAN islands to form a larger fabric.

SANs are now converting from 2Gbit/s to 4Gbit/s Fibre Channel links. The ISLs need to have a higher bandwidth than general ports because they consolidate the traffic from individual switch ports. By adding its Intrepid 6000 XPM 10Gbit/s blade to its directors, McData SANs can now use a single 10Gbit/s ISL instead of having to group together, for example, five 2Gbit/s ports.

The result: ports released for general use and a SAN size limiting factor removed.

It also reduces the number of cables needed for ISLs and longer distance and metro and campus connectivity. This means lowered management and leased fibre costs. Customers an either purchase a McData Intrepid director with XPM blades installed, or, non-disruptively, upgrade their 2Gbit/s Intrepid 6064 and 6140 director platforms to 10Gbit/s.

This is the only 10Gbit/s connection facility for directors available on the market. McData partners, such as HDS, IBM and Sun will offer it after appropriate testing as will McDATA's other channel partners. No pricing has been supplied.