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Vixel, Gadzoox seek 2GB leadership mantle

Who will cross the finish line first with a 2GB/s open-fabric switch product?

Vixel, Gadzoox seek 2GB leadership mantle
By Alan Earls

While Gadzoox Networks was the first company to announce and demonstrate its 2GB/s open-fabric switch technology, Vixel Corporation appears to have won the race to market. Back in May, at NetWorld + Interop in Las Vegas, Vixel announced the launch of its 9000 Series Fibre Channel fabric switches (the 9100, 9200 and 9300-HA High Availability model). Most importantly, however, Vixel is sticking with the commitment it made at the event to provide general availability for the new switches on June 28, 2001.

Meanwhile, Gadzoox is continuing to test and refine its Slingshot 4218 product. For example, Gadzoox recently announced that the 4281 and IBM's ProFibre Storage Array DF4000J, have passed initial tests that demonstrate interoperability and support for functions such as the new auto-negotiating standard. Gadzoox says that in preliminary tests, the Slingshot open-fabric switch and the ProFibre Storage Array interoperated seamlessly, and quickly auto-negotiated between 1 GB/s and 2 GB/s speeds.

However, the company has yet to offer a date for general delivery. "It appears Gadzoox has slipped in terms of production quality stuff," notes Steve Duplessie, senior analyst at Enterprise Storage Group in Milford, Mass.

But while Vixel may have the edge, Duplessie is not over-excited. "There are some folks who need 2GB/s, but that in and of itself won't make the market explode," he explains. "1GB/s is fine for 90 percent of applications today, where I/O is more important than throughput." Longer term, the distant Holy Grail is a jump to 10 GB/s, he notes

"But," Duplessie adds, "we think that 2GB/s could be a spur for both Gadzoox and Vixel if the OEM finds the need - since Brocade doesn't have it."

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About the author: Alan Earls is a freelance writer in Franklin, MA.

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