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3Com Corporation (Nasdaq:COMS), Santa Clara, Calif., has announced its entry into the storage area networking (SAN) market. The move is a strategic initiative for 3Com that introduces the StorageConnect(tm) Fibre Channel line of SAN products, creates alliances with key storage equipment and application vendors and launches hardware and software compatibility programs.

SAN: Explosive Growth Expected

Several factors, including explosive growth of enterprise data, limitations in current storage architectures and escalating storage management costs, are driving many organizations to evaluate more flexible networked storage environments such as Fibre Channel storage area networks.

"3Com has been instrumental in the development of the local area networking (LAN) industry and has demonstrated the expertise and leadership necessary to deliver interoperable network components in early markets," said Doug Spreng, senior vice president of 3Com's Client Access Business Unit. "As the first major networking company in the storage area networks market, 3Com will help lead storage networking through the early marketplace towards open, standards-based interconnectivity where it is broadly available to the mainstream customer."

A SAN is a dedicated network connecting servers and storage peripherals that improves data availability, cost of ownership and server performance. A SAN consists of server adapters, hubs and switches, and network and storage management tools. SANs combine the flexibility, manageability and scalability of networks with the high bandwidth and reliability of storage I/O. The Fibre Channel SAN market is expected to be a $1.5 billion (US) market by the year 2002, according to 3Com internal analysis.

3Com Announces StorageConnect Product Plans

3Com's SAN products will be sold under a new brand, 3Com StorageConnect. Initial products are expected to be available in early 1999. In order to encourage market adoption of Fibre Channel SANs, 3Com will deliver its StorageConnect products as part of pre-tested, interoperable configurations that create SAN solutions satisfying specific business needs.

Integration Alliances Drive Compatibility

As a first key step in delivering compatibility and developing tested SAN solutions with the 3Com line of StorageConnect Fibre Channel products, 3Com has forged integration alliances with three storage industry leaders: the CLARiiON Advanced Storage Division of Data General Corporation, Legato Systems, Inc, and MTI Technology Corporation.


3Com and CLARiiON are acting jointly to develop, test, and qualify an interoperable, High Availability SAN solution that addresses the pressing need for continuous access to mission critical data. The 3Com and CLARiiON RAID solution will include a combination of high-availability software and advanced management tools, as well as highly-scalable RAID arrays.

The result will provide customers with a flexible storage architecture that meets their immediate needs for continuous data availability, and also scales easily for future growth. Key components of this solution include highly-scalable CLARiiON(R) FC5000 Series full Fibre Channel arrays, Navisphere(tm) Storage Management Software, and Application Transparent Failover(tm) (ATF) high-availability software.

Legato Systems and MTI

3Com, Legato Systems and MTI will address one of the biggest challenges IT managers face today, backing-up mission-critical data without affecting network traffic or access to resources. The three vendors will produce an interoperable LAN-Free Backup solution using SANs. 3Com will contribute StorageConnect Fibre Channel adapters, hubs and network management tools. MTI provides industry-leading RAID arrays and tape libraries. And Legato Systems delivers its advanced data protection applications: Legato NetWorker and SmartMedia.

Additionally, 3Com and MTI will collaborate to deliver an interoperable Data Consolidation SAN solution that includes MTI's StorageWare JBOD and Gladiator RAID. The 3Com and MTI Data Consolidation SAN solution will result in a modular, high-performance, highly-available and scalable data storage solution, that allows safe capacity sharing for multiple open system servers.

StorageConnect Compatibility and Solutions Programs

To support its solutions-based approach to the SAN market, 3Com is formalizing two compatibility programs: the StorageConnect(tm) Compatibility Program and the StorageConnect(tm) Solutions Program. The StorageConnect Compatibility Program will assure customers of robust hardware interoperability between 3Com StorageConnect products and participants' storage products.

The StorageConnect Solutions Program addresses the need for the integration of SAN topologies with SAN-enabling storage management software. Under the StorageConnect Solutions Program, 3Com will work with Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) to integrate and test solutions that address immediate customer problems. CLARiiON, Legato Systems and MTI Technology are the first participants in the 3Com StorageConnect Compatibility and Solutions Programs.

3Com's SAN Roadmap Addresses Shift in Customer Server and Storage Architectures

To achieve SAN leadership, 3Com is embarking on a four-phase strategy fostering migration to SAN architectures and integrating SANs into enterprise network infrastructures. The 3Com SAN strategy addresses the fundamental change in how server-attached storage environments are viewed.

1. Infrastructure and Alliances - Phase one of 3Com's strategy is the launch of its line of Fibre Channel networking products for Microsoft NT, UNIX and Novell NetWare, including Fiber Channel adapters, hubs and switches. In addition, 3Com is launching the StorageConnect Compatibility Program and Solutions Program, described above, in conjunction with industry-leading storage equipment and application vendors. (See related Integrated Alliance announcements made today with CLARiiON, Legato and MTI.)

2. Transcend(R) Tools for SAN - In phase two, 3Com will integrate its 3Com Transcend(R) network management tools and techniques into the 3Com StorageConnect line of Fibre Channel products thereby enabling centralized, enterprise-wide management of both LAN and SAN infrastructures and lowering administrative costs.

3. LAN/WAN/SAN Integration - Phase three scales SAN connectivity to 3Com WAN and LAN backbones, extending the benefits of Storage Area Networks across campus distances and to remote sites for applications such as disaster recovery.

4. Advanced SAN Services - Phase four brings policy-based networking to storage systems in order to provide for services such as security, traffic management and fault management in SANs. This phase will also allow offloading the server from disk-intensive traffic using intelligent SAN services.

About 3Com

3Com Corporation enables individuals and organizations worldwide to stay more connected by communicating and sharing information and resources anytime, anywhere. As one of the world's preeminent suppliers of data, voice and video communications technology, 3Com has delivered networking solutions to nearly 200 million customers worldwide. The company provides large enterprise, small and medium enterprise, carriers and network service providers, and consumers with comprehensive, innovative information access products and system solutions for building intelligent, reliable and high performance local and wide area networks. For further information on Storage Area Networks, visit 3Com's World Wide Web site at

For more information, call 408/326-1742.
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Publication:LAN Product News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 1998

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