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FCIA Blasts Spirent Test

In an unusual move, the Fibre Channel Industry Association (FCIA) has released a statement criticizing Spirent Communications' positioning of its high-scale SAN switch test as a "misguided marketing attempt."

Spirent last week unveiled its Storage Routing Test (SRT), which is designed to simulate up to 239 Fibre Channel switches in a single fabric -- the first test of its kind in the industry. According to an industry source, the test was actually developed by Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), which subsequently licensed it to Spirent. Spirent is selling the SRT software module for its SmartBits testing platform for $40,000 (see Spirent: FC Switches Fail to Scale and Source: Cisco Licensed Test to Spirent).

In describing its preliminary testing of Fibre Channel equipment with the SRT, Brian Mason, Spirent's product manager for storage solutions, said: "We've found major scaleability concerns with all of the NEMs [network equipment manufacturers]."

The Spirent announcement clearly punched the FCIA's hot buttons. In a statement sent to Byte and Switch yesterday, the association calls Spirent's SRT an "artificial test scenario" that doesn't apparently serve any purpose except to generate sales for Spirent.

"Spirent states that their artificial test scenario is displaying a real-world problem that is rampant in the Fibre Channel industry," the FCIA says in its statement. "But more likely, it looks as if they're simply trying to persuade test labs to buy Spirent products to see this problem for themselves."

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