McData finally set with 2GB switches

Nearly six months after announcing intentions to upgrade its family of switches and directors, McData on Wednesday announced the imminent availability of its products at 2GB speeds. The announcement was made Wednesday at Storage Networking Industry Association's (SNIA) biannual Storage Networking World conference and enables McData to catch up to its competitors that already have announced 2GB products.

According to Peter Dougherty, vice president of business development and strategic alliances at McData, all of the company's existing switches and directors can be upgraded to 2GB from 1GB via a new port card. The company's existing ED6064 will be replaced by new a 2GB switches, as will McData's ES3016 and ES3032. McData will disclose more specific information Thursday on pricing, availability, and features.

Additionally, McData announced the ability to do open trunking. Via a software upgrade to the switch's firmware, load balancing can be accomplished between any combination of switch and director connected together. Dougherty explains this is accomplished by changing the routing that occurs, thus optimizing traffic for improved performance. McData also adds that the software allows trunking to occur across McData's competitor's products.

The company also announced Version 3.0 of its SANavigator storage network management software. The new version provides storage administrators with tools to better plan, configure, and manage network elements in a SAN (storage area network). The product's new features include a policy engine that permits administrators to define thresholds in regards to storage capacity and send alerts when thresholds are surpassed.

Also in the new version are improved tools for visualizing and monitoring a network fabric and the ability to export data for reporting functions. SANavigator 3.0 will be available in May.

The new 2GB switches and directors are admittedly still too new and robust for most enterprise's storage needs today, said Dick Search, vice president of marketing and product management at McData. "If the analysts got forecasting wrong, we're not going to try to predict adoption rates," said Search. "We see customers buying 2GB for new applications being deployed in new SANs."

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