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Cisco Fixes on FC Switches

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) today rolled out two midrange switches -- the MDS 9120 and 9140 -- representing the next phase in its assault on the Fibre Channel market (see Cisco Intros MDS 9100 Line).

"We think we've got all the bases covered now," says Tom Harrington, product manager for the MDS 9000. "It's an area that's important for Cisco to be participating in strongly."

The main distinguishing characteristic of both the 20-port 9120 and the 40-port 9140 is that they're fixed-port configurations, designed to provide lower price-per-port than Cisco's director-class 9509 or the modular 9216 midrange switch. Other than being unable to expand their port counts (or provide IP support), the 9100 switches provide exactly the same feature set as the higher-end offerings, according to Cisco.

"The one thing we didn't want to do is shave things down where you could do some things in one fabric and not in another," Harrington says.

However, Cisco wouldn't provide any pricing for the new switches. Not even ranges or ballpark figures. The reason? According to Harrington, Cisco wants to let its OEM partners -- EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) -- set their own pricing (see Cisco Puffs Up Reseller Deals).

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