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Cisco Makes SAN Software Friends

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has announced that it is collaborating with all the major storage management software vendors, which are planning to release products supporting its MDS 9000 Fibre Channel switches in 60 to 90 days (see Cisco Outlines Andiamo APIs).

To speed up the adoption of its new Fibre Channel products, Cisco released a software developers kit (SDK) to the storage management community in October 2002. The kit included a set of APIs (application programming interfaces) and a simulator of the switch's behavior for the software developers to test their products on. The official launch of the API-exchange program comes after Cisco executives referred to it at last month's RBC Capital Markets storage networking conference in New York (see Cisco Knocks 'Nerd Knobs').

"The aim was to reduce the overhead for development," says Bill Erdman, director of storage technology alliances at Cisco. "We didn't want our partners to have to build a lab in order to support this product."

The APIs, which Cisco has given away for free, enable basic storage resource management (SRM) functions. These include discovering MDS 9000 switches on a network; performing configuration management, including implementing Fibre Channel zones and virtual SANs (VSANs); and providing topology-aware diagnostics and alert-management via SNMP traps and alerts.

"Advanced functions, such as virtualization, where you take a physical map and show logical partitions, is a second order of complexity and will require additional engineering on our partners' behalf," says Erdman.

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