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Switching startup recruits pre-product launch partners

Maranti Networks on Tuesday launched a partner program as part of an effort to build allies in preparation for the launch of its "intelligent" switching platform next month. The company said it has already signed 17 vendors to its Assured Storage Partner Program.

In preparation for its long-awaited product launch this summer, San Jose, Calif.-based startup Maranti Networks Inc. yesterday announced a program that allows storage vendors to test and certify its new switching technology.

Seventeen storage vendors are already participating in the Maranti Assured Storage Partner Program. The program allows the vendors to work with Maranti on issues such as certification and interoperability in heterogeneous environments and to deliver network-based storage services, said Harish Nayak, Maranti Networks' co-founder and vice president of marketing.

"We're announcing this partner program to build momentum for our product launch,'' said Nayak, who predicted that his company's first product will be introduced to the market in late July or early August. "This partner program is to help deliver applications over the storage network to the marketplace."

Companies that have signed on to the partner program include Alacritech Inc., AppIQ Inc., BakBone Software Corp., CommVault Systems Inc., Computer Associates International Inc., CreekPath Systems Inc., Emulex Corp., InterSAN, JNI Corp., Legato Systems Inc., LSI Logic Storage Systems Inc., Microsoft Corp., QLogic Corp., Quantum Corp., Storability Software Inc., Spectra Logic Corp., and XIOtech Corp. Maranti said that these partners produce a range of storage technology, including host bus adapters (HBAs), storage management software, arrays, routers, and tape libraries.

Maranti is promising that its storage switching product will enable intelligent storage processing on the storage network, instead of in the array or host system, without compromising the performance, availability or scalability of the network.

Mike Fisch, senior analyst for Wellesley, Mass.-based Clipper Group Inc., said that, while Maranti fits into the general trend of putting intelligence on the network, the company has distinguished itself.

"Maranti [has] a purpose-built platform for delivering storage as a service with different tiers or levels of quality," Fisch said. "Some competitors are software only and run on standard servers, and others offer purpose-built hardware with distributed, per-port processing, but they don't integrate a full suite of software for delivering storage [quality of service]. I think it's the combination of both that sets Maranti apart."

Another expert, Nancy Marrone, a senior analyst with Enterprise Storage Group Inc., in Milford, Mass., agrees that Maranti's offering is different than that of the other switch vendors.

"They have an incredible amount of intelligence at each port, which enables a number of capabilities that the other vendors do not have," Marrone said. "It is true that that the other vendors essentially have a server integrated into their switch, and the level of integration varies with each vendor."

Marrone said Maranti's competitors, like Brocade Communications Systems Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and Sanera Systems Inc., do not yet offer the same level of integration as Maranti.

"The bottom line [is] Maranti will prove to have the smartest switch on the market," Marrone said.

During the last two years, Maranti has also joined partner programs hosted by several storage vendors. Maranti has participated in EMC's Developers Program, Hitachi Data Systems' TrueNorth Developers Program and the LSI Logic Developer Partners Program. Maranti is also part of Veritas Software Corp.'s Enabled Program.

Maranti said it would work with Assured Storage Partner Program partners to create open, standards-based storage solutions. By joining the program, Maranti's partners gain access to technical documents, APIs, products and resources to assist in the development of integrated, mutually interoperable storage hardware and software configurations.

Let us know what you think about the story. E-mailKevin Komiega, News Writer

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