HP to resell Cisco's switches

Hewlett-Packard has become the second major vendor to officially announce that it will resell Cisco Systems' new line of Fibre Channel switches. Although the announcement is no surprise to industry watchers, it's nevertheless a major milestone in Cisco's planned entry into the storage-area network (SAN) marketplace.

In addition to HP's announcement Wednesday of its memorandum of understanding with Cisco, the company said it will introduce several new or enhanced products, including arrays, switches and software.

Only a week ago, IBM announced that it would begin reselling Cisco's new Fibre Channel MDS 9216 switch and the MDS 9509 director -- a larger, fully redundant switch -- as soon as it has finished testing them with its products.

HP said it will test Cisco's Multilayer DataCenter Switch (MDS) 9000 family switches during the first half of this year before offering them to customers. Cisco's storage switches and directors came from the company's buyout of Andiamo Systems in April 2001. The switches offer 1G or 2G bit/sec. data transfer rates and up to 48 ports on the MDS 9216 switch and 256 ports on the 9509 director.

HP also said it has beefed up two of its entry-level and midrange StorageWorks virtual arrays. The company installed new, faster 146GB drives in its VA7110 array, bringing the midrange appliance to a maximum of 6.5TB, six times the capacity and performance of its predecessor, the VA7100.

The company said it has also doubled the storage capacity of its modular, entry-level StorageWorks MSA1000 array to 6TB, which has 80% better performance due to the larger, faster 146GB disk drives.

The MSA1000 offers the option of migrating drives, including the associated data, directly out of HP ProLiant servers, part of HP's Enterprise Network Storage Architecture-extended strategy to enable management of heterogeneous storage with open, modular network storage.

"This array continues to meet customer needs for the easiest and lowest-cost [direct-attached storage]-to-SAN transition," said Howard Elias, senior vice president and general manager of HP Network Storage Solutions.

HP also announced that it would begin reselling a McData switch and director under its StorageWorks program. The StorageWorks Director 2/140 is a 140-port, fully redundant enterprise-class switch, and the StorageWorks Edge Switch 2/24 is a building block for small SANs or can be used as an edge-placed switch for data centers.

The Edge Switch 2/24 provides nondisruptive port expansion in a flexible "pay as you grow" format, said HP. It delivers 2G bit/sec. throughput in eight-, 16- or 24-port configurations.

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