EMC, Cisco Connect in 4-Gig Deal

EMC has added Cisco’s low-cost MDS-9020 4-gigabit per second Fibre Channel switch as the latest offering in its Connectrix line.

EMC OEMs switches from the major storage switch vendors — Cisco, Brocade and McData — for its Connectrix line. The new offering will be sold as the EMC Connectrix MDS-9020 Fabric Switch, and at a starting price of $10,800, is aimed at simplifying the deployment and management of storage area networks (SANs) for mid-size enterprises.

EMC also resells entry-level 4-gig switches from McData (the Connectrix DS-4400M) and Brocade (the Connectrix DS-220B).

EMC spokesman Rick Lacroix said demand for 4-gig products is “on the rise.”

“What we are finding is that the demand is driven largely by product availability,” Lacroix told Enterprise Storage Forum. “The switch vendors are moving toward 4-gig configurations with their newer products. Customers are buying the 4-gig switches because they are the newest technology and it gives them future bandwidth capacity.”

Cisco’s relationship with EMC has been a profitable one. Goldman Sachs estimates that Cisco accounted for as much as half of EMC’s Connectrix switch sales in the most recent quarter, as Cisco continues to make inroads against Brocade and McData. EMC reported a 45 percent jump in Connectrix port shipments in its most recent quarter. Cisco said its storage sales doubled in the quarter ending in October, but at around $100 million in the quarter, storage is still a very small part of Cisco’s business.

McData, meanwhile, has run into a few snags with its former parent, beginning with price concessions two years ago. EMC has yet to qualify McData’s high-end director, the Intrepid i10K.

Lacroix said that “while the McData Intrepid 10000 is currently undergoing testing, we have been conducting limited shipments to customers and providing them with support. This product will be generally available as part of the Connectrix family when testing is complete. Beyond stating that the Intrepid 10000 is undergoing testing, we will not comment further on any specifics.”

The 20-port MDS-9020 offers full non-blocking 4-Gbps Fibre Channel performance combined with built-in management capabilities that let mid-size enterprises deploy an intelligent SAN to consolidate and protect data and move it among storage tiers based on business requirements.

“The Connectrix MDS-9020 delivers capabilities previously only found in higher-end switches,” said Marty Lans, EMC’s director of storage network marketing. “We’ve worked closely with Cisco to qualify the Connectrix MDS- 9020 through rigorous EMC E-Lab testing. The end result is a high-performing, cost-effective switch that gives mid-size enterprise customers a simple way to consolidate their information onto fewer storage systems for better management, protection and availability.”

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for Time.com, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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