McData buddies up with EMC and IBM for SAN router

When it comes to storage-area network connectivity, most of us realize that some form of switching technology can be useful. And when it comes to selling into the SAN marketplace, switch vendors recognize that alliances with major SAN storage providers can also deliver value.

Over the past week or so, the major switch vendors continued to line up storage suppliers - once just technology partners - as sales partners.

It was a busy week for McData. The company buddied up with EMC to sell its Eclipse 2640 SAN Router. By adding McData's 2640 SAN Router to its Connectrix family of switches and directors, EMC gains a device that enables long-haul traffic over Fibre Channel, iSCSI and iFCP protocols. The McData device allows managers to take data residing on Fibre Channel devices and distribute it over existing IP networks to both local and distant users.

McData also cut a deal with IBM. IBM will now carry McData's flagship Intrepid 10000 Backbone Director (the i10K). The i10K, you may recall, is the productization of technology that McData got with its acquisition of start-up Sanera toward the end of 2003. Now McData is rolling out the product for sites that need bulletproof 10G-bit/sec core switching functions.

IBM will also market McData's Eclipse 2640 SAN Router, the same box that EMC picked up. This combination of Tier 1 and Tier 3 switches should be seen as another building block in Big Blue's strategy, adding as it does layers of tiered switching services along with the company's tiered storage.

It is worth noting that McData will soon have a second director-class switch, the UMD device that it will pick up upon completion of its acquisition of CNT. The UMD is the director that CNT picked up from its own InRange acquisition and, like the i10K, moves data at high speeds. The i10K is more scalable however, and while McData is sure to provide for its UMD customers as long as is necessary, it is clear that McData is placing its bets for the future on the i10K.

Next time, we'll take a look at what Cisco is doing.

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