Cisco and Spirent representatives declined to comment for this article.
The test, which Spirent calls the Storage Routing Test (SRT), is designed to emulate as many as 239 Fibre Channel switches. That's the theoretical maximum number of FC switches allowed by the industry's Fibre Channel specification, which is maintained by the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS). The SRT runs as a software module on Spirent's SmartBits testing platform.
Spirent officially launched the SRT on Wednesday and expects to make it available to customers later this month. In an interview earlier this week, Brian Mason, product manager for storage solutions at Spirent, said that, based on the company's testing using SRT, it has found "major scaleability concerns with all of the NEMs," or network equipment manufacturers. Mason told Byte and Switch that none of the vendors could actually support SAN fabrics with 239 switches (see Spirent: FC Switches Fail to Scale).
The company later clarified its statements to say certain manufacturers could, in fact, support SAN fabrics with more than 200 switches, though it wouldn't name them.