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Intelligence Sprouts in the Storage Network

It's still too early to tell how the fight for the so-called "intelligent switch" market will pan out, but players are slowly starting to reveal what team they're on.

It's still too early to tell how the fight for the so-called "intelligent switch" market will pan out, but players are slowly starting to reveal what team they're on.

Brocade--which acquired intelligent switch vendor Rhapsody last fall--divulged details last month of a 16-port SilkWorm-friendly Brocade Fabric Application Switch (which under no circumstances is to be referred to as the "FAP," a Brocade spokesperson says). At the same time, Brocade reenumerated the long list of partners that have publicly vowed to support the platform, among them Alacritus, CommVault, FalconStor, Incipient, InterSAN, StoreAge, and Topio.

Hewlett-Packard has also embraced the Brocade platform as the switch upon which it will run its VersaStor virtualization code. Notably absent from Brocade's list of supporters was Veritas, which according to Dave Stevens, a Rhapsody transplant, ported its Volume Manager to the original Rhapsody product as a proof of concept for its Veritas-powered program, which aims to port Veritas software onto intelligent switch devices.

A few weeks prior, Veritas participated in an announcement with start-up Maxxan. Maxxan announced its programmable SAN switch, the MXV320, and a NAS gateway, the SG100 Storage Gateway, which runs the Veritas file system, volume manager and cluster management software.

But according to Brocade's Stevens, "At Rhapsody, the only other switch vendor that we really paid attention to was Andiamo [now Cisco]." So, what's Cisco up to these days? This February, Cisco released APIs into its MDS 9000 switch family that will provide partners such as BMC, CA, Hewlett-Packard, IBM Tivoli, InterSAN, Veritas, and Tek-Tools with management insight into the new switch. According to a Cisco spokesperson, the company will announce products and partnerships related to hosting applications on the switch this quarter.

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