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Cisco, Singapore to Team on Network Storage

Sean Michael Kerner

Cisco plans to team with Singapore's A*Star Data Storage Institute (DSI) to promote an IP-based storage area (SAN) network across the Asia-Pacific region.

DSI is a national research institute established by the Singapore government in 1992 and is ranked among the top six storage research and development centers worldwide.

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco announced the plan Thursday with a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with DSI to create a broad partnership that includes training, collaboration on IP storage information, compatibility testing and the establishment of a DSI-Cisco IP Storage Center in Singapore.

"DSI, being a research institute focused on storage technologies was naturally very interested in seeing how IP could benefit SAN technologies," Cisco spokesman William Oei told internetnews.com. "They started out as a customer. In fact, they were one of our first SAN switch customers in Singapore."

The partnership furthers Cisco's entry into the SAN space, an area that puts the company into even greater competition with vendors like Brocade and McData.

Oei said Cisco remains respectful of the competition.

"However, we prefer to focus on the value that we can bring to customers," he said. "Cisco was the first SAN switch vendor to offer integrated IP storage connectivity in its switch portfolio. This is a key differentiator for Cisco in the market today. By working with organizations such as DSI and educating end-users, Cisco is continuing to press its advantage in this space."

The storage business has been successful for Cisco lately. CEO John Chambers recently reported that the company's storage business "picked up dramatically" in the quarter ended Jan. 31, with more than $30 million in revenues and 540 customers at quarter's end.

According to research cited by Cisco, the SAN switch market is currently worth approximately $1 billion and is expected to grow to between $2-3 billion and US$3 by 2007.

A recent IDC Asia Pacific end-user survey shows SAN adoption is at an early stage. The survey showed that 27 percent of large organizations, 15 percent of small and 15 percent of medium organizations had one or more SANs currently in use. The same survey also showed that almost 32 percent of large and 20 percent of medium-sized organizations are currently investigating or considering a SAN solution.