IBM Introduces Ready-to-Go Optical Networking Solution for S/390 Data Centers

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SOMERS, N.Y - 01 Dec 1999: -- IBM today announced the IBM Fiber Saver, the first and only ready-to-go optical connectivity "solution in a box" designed to provide S/390 customers with fast and more reliable data transfer at a lower price. Fiber Saver is the first offering resulting from an agreement between IBM and Nortel Networks to provide server connectivity solutions based on Nortel's optical networking technology.

IBM Fiber Saver is designed to meet the demands for high-speed network connections and data transfer for customers with multiple IBM servers in different locations. It also is ideal for enterprise customers who need continuous access to data and applications including e-business, business intelligence and disaster recovery solutions. The IBM Fiber Saver package includes configuration planning, an assembled ready-to-go unit and service installation, making it the industry's only prepackaged total solution for high-speed server connectivity. IBM's new package allows customers to drastically reduce installation time from days to as little as four hours, depending on configuration.

"Web-enabled enterprise applications have significantly increased the need for cost-effective high-speed data transfer and backup," said George Walsh, director, Hardware Product Line, IBM S/390 Division. "IBM Fiber Saver provides a cost-effective 'plug and play' solution for S/390 customers with improved data transfer capability to meet the increased demands of e-business applications."

"IBM and Nortel Networks share the same vision regarding the growth, reliability and scalability of the Internet and e-commerce applications," said Don Smith, general manager and vice president, OPTera Solutions, Nortel Networks. "The IBM Fiber Saver is a result of our close relationship, and leverages the strengths of Nortel Networks Dense-Wavelength Division Multiplexing (optical) technology into the enterprise space."

Dramatic Cost Savings
Internet traffic has created a need for increased bandwith at the same time data center customers are facing the challenges of expanding their networks. Laying new fiber can be costly and the limited availability of fiber is a growing problem in metropolitan areas.

The IBM Fiber Saver addresses these problems by simultaneously carrying multiple channels, including ESCON, FICON, ISC, ETR, FDDI, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, OC-3 and OC-12 channels, to interconnect IBM S/390 Enterprise Servers. In addition, cost savings with the IBM Fiber Saver may be significant. Businesses typically spend as much as $150 to $300 per month, per mile, per strand of fiber, with each channel requiring two strands of fiber. The IBM Fiber Saver can decrease this cost by "multiplexing" up to 64 channels of information over only two fiber pairs, offering potential savings of tens of thousands of dollars per month, depending on the number of channels used to connect servers.

IBM Fiber Saver also delivers benefits that other inter-site connection services don't, by providing point-to-point communication as well as the flexibility to connect up to nine locations in a ring.

Businesses with IBM S/390 Enterprise Servers can link multiple sites at distances up to 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) by using the IBM Fiber Saver in a Geographically Dispersed Parallel Sysplex (GDPS) environment. GDPS is a multisite management facility that combines system code and automation with the capabilities of IBM S/390 Parallel Sysplex clustering technology, storage subsystem mirroring and data bases to manage storage, processors and network resources. It is designed to minimize and potentially eliminate the impact of any planned or unplanned system outage. For example, in a recent simulated site disaster at a GDPS customer location, no data loss occurred and the recovery window was reduced from 12 hours to 22 minutes.

In the event of a cut fiber or hardware failure between data centers, the IBM Fiber Saver can switch data traffic to designated "backup" paths almost instantly, thereby maintaining connectivity between server locations.

Shipments of the IBM Fiber Saver will begin December 20, 1999.

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IBM, S/390, IBM Fiber Saver, ESCON, FICON , Parallel Sysplex, GDPS and Geographically Dispersed Parallel Sysplex are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States and other countries.

Nortel Networks is a trademark of Nortel Networks.

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