Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) this week is announcing that it will formally support mixed-vendor Fibre Channel fabrics.
Initially, HP will support interoperability between Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) and McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA) equipment. The company expects to add Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) into the mix by January. HP resells Fibre Channel switches from all three.
"What we're promoting is standards-based interoperability. We will not support reverse-engineered interoperability," says Edgardo Lopez, product marketing manager for SAN integration at HP.
But for that reason, any proprietary features -- such as Brocade's Secure OS or Cisco's Virtual SANs -- will not work between different vendors' switches in HP's certified configurations. Switches must be set into "interop mode," communicating with each other via FC-SW-2, the industry standard for Fibre Channel.
"Interoperability continues to be more of a journey than a destination," says Lopez.