McDATA to Enhance Switch Software

McDATA has asked EMC to write software for its switch platform to simplify management of complex storage area networks (SANs) .

EMC’s virtualization and data migration applications will improve the ability of McDATA’s Intelligent Switch Platform to route information across diverse infrastructure in storage area network islands.

The expansion of the companies’ partnership will help McDATA offer its partners – original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and independent software vendors – a more complete storage platform that includes hardware, open application programming interfaces (APIs) , and software developer kits. Financial terms of the partnership between McDATA and EMC were not disclosed.

McDATA competes with Brocade Communications Systems , Cisco Systems , and MaXXan Systems to craft intelligent switches. The devices provision such services as backup, restoration, virtualization, and data replication as network functions on top of the switch.

Rather than having multiple servers and software for each task, the network could take care of it all with such a product, eliminating extra infrastructure and management costs. The Broomfield, Colo.-based company hopes tabbing EMC to write and port software to its switches will validate its products to partners.

EMC spokesman Dave Farmer says the move is part of the Hopkinton, Mass.-based systems vendor’s continuing strategy to create software that drives intelligence across entire infrastructures, including arrays for data preservation, servers for application functions, and the network over which data is delivered.

“Customers want to see their IT world as one unified environment. So our point of view is to distribute intelligence but unify and centralize management,” Farmer told “That gives you the best of all possible worlds and results in a solution that can scale and yet mask complexity as it grows.”

Virtualization is important at the fabric level to make the management of a SAN easier by zeroing in on descriptions of storage, server, and network functionality.

By adding virtualization software to McDATA switches, details about data location, storage devices, and capacity are presented via the applications, making it easier for customers to assign storage to the appropriate device or network area.

In addition to basic virtualization and presentation capabilities, intelligent switch platforms will provide a foundation for new services, such as data mobility and dynamic routing, McDATA said in a statement.

Story courtesy of

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Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor and a senior writer for covering IT leadership, the CIO role, and digital transformation.

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