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Cisco Ups Multivendor Support

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) today announced it will offer Fibre Channel Network Address Translation (FC NAT), a technique for enabling routing of data between SANs from different vendors (see Cisco Consolidates Across Fabrics).

Cisco will make FC NAT available in its MDS 9000 SAN-OS 2.1 software, which is being qualified by storage vendors and should be available next month. Ciscos support of FC NAT means its MDS switches can manage other vendors’ switches connected to the MDS.

Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) and McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA) already offer FC NAT in their multiprotocol routers (see When a Router's Not a Router).

FC NAT translates domain addresses between SAN devices, allowing switches from different vendors’ SANs to communicate. Without FC NAT, the addresses must be changed manually, a time-consuming process that often requires rebuilding driver files.

Now that the big three switch vendors support FC NAT, SAN islands can be connected into one big happy SAN, right? Not exactly. Issues remain over how effectively switches work with FC NAT, and the vendors differ in their views about how important it is to share resources among disparate SANs.

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