Eight companies, lead by Nishan Systems, played a role in making a storage network that was able to transmit data from Newark, N.J., to Sunnyvale, Calif., at speeds of 2.5 gigabits per second using Internet protocol (IP), the language used to carry information on the Internet.
"This sort of test is helpful in laying to rest some doubts that IP storage technologies really work," said Jamie Gruener, senior analyst for the Yankee Group. "The conception has been that IP storage degrades in performance over long distances, and what we're seeing is that it's possible to do it."
Storage networks primarily use the Fibre Channel protocol, which is fast and reliable but expensive and complex to build. The drawbacks have led several companies to work on replacing Fibre Channel with IP to make storage cheaper and capable of working better over long distances.
IBM, Dell Computer, and Hitachi Data Systems contributed the storage units--the computers that actually house the data--for the project, and Dell also pitched in with servers, computers that transmit stored information across a network.
Nishan, Intel, and Qlogic provided connectivity switches and adapters for the network, and the data was sent over the national telecom network of Qwest Communications International.
The demonstration started in July, and lab tests were carried out throughout August, according to Gary Orenstein, Nishan's director of marketing, who added that the project was done to show professionals in the storage and IT industries what could be accomplished using IP technology.
The collaboration was named the Promontory Project, after the location where the east-west segments of the transcontinental railroad were joined at Promontory, Utah, in 1869.