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McDATA Joins Low-Cost Switch Fray

Responding to recent low-cost offerings from rival Brocade , McDATA has unveiled its next generation switch-on-a-chip (SOC).

The Broomfield, Colo.-based firm says the SOC, a result of the company's partnership with IBM, "will significantly lower the total cost of ownership for both first-time and enterprise-class storage networking customers."

The advanced switch-on-a-chip technology will be integrated into McDATA's current line of four to 24-port Sphereon 4000 switches in the second quarter.

Nancy Marrone-Hurley, senior analyst at Enterprise Storage Group, says the low-cost ASIC "will help drive down the cost of their low-end and mid-range switches, which helps them remain compatible in price with Brocade and others."

Marrone-Hurley told Enterprise Storage Forum that the chip "has been in development for over a year. They are very dedicated to driving down costs in order to make SANs more affordable."

The result, Marrone-Hurley says, is a "complete solution that includes software and lowers the per-port costs."

McDATA says its Sphereon fabric switches all come with standard features such as fully integrated SANpilot browser-based management software, HotCAT online code activation for non-disruptive upgrades, forward and backward compatibility, and pay-as-you-grow scalability with FlexPort technology.

"Customers are demanding simplicity, flexibility, investment protection, and equipment that grows with their needs," states Peter Dougherty, McDATA's VP of switch platforms. "Features like our exclusive FlexPort technology and our renowned HotCAT technology enable the ability to scale seamlessly."

"McDATA's rapid market share gains in the fabric switch market are a testament to the fact that our solutions work effectively in any size storage network, delivering proven reliability and data availability to a TCO-conscious market," Dougherty continues.

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