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This article is part of the Storage magazine issue of Vol. 8 Num. 4 June 2009
Director-class switches have been used to maintain performance in large storage networks for years, but soon they'll act as the hubs that unify data center networks. By Jacob Gsoedl Fibre Channel (FC) as a technology has been relatively static over the past 10 years, and FC switch innovation has been incremental -- from bandwidth support and additional features to increased resilience and availability -- culminating in the high-end FC director platform. Aside from a few failed incursions by vendors like QLogic Corp. and others, Brocade Communications Systems Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. now almost exclusively own the high-end Fibre Channel switch and director market. With their top-of-the-line platforms (the Brocade DCX Backbone and Cisco's MDS 9500 Multilayer Director Series), they duel for customers who require a combination of high FC performance and high availability. Features and suitability for existing infrastructure have typically been the primary director selection criteria. Enhancements related to Fibre Channel over ...