Not confusing at all. Don't think of the switch as being an active part of the data path. Think of it as a piece of wire. The data path goes through the storage wiring into the server and from there back through the wiring onto tape.
Serverless backup has the concept of data movers that make disk to tape transfers that do not travel through the server. However, serverless backup is still pretty much a fairy tale and requires a great deal of synchronization between host file systems and the backup system - including the data mover. The data mover can reside almost anywhere - including a switch. Someday...
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This was first published in October 2001