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HP Opens Doors to CASA

Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) says that while it has worked closely with Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) on the next version of its virtualization appliance, it has plans to work with intelligent switches from multiple vendors, including Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO).

HP has geared the next iteration of its Continuous Access Storage Appliance (CASA), which provides replication and data migration for heterogeneous storage environments, around Brocade's SilkWorm Fabric Application Platform (which for simplicity's sake will hereafter be referred to as "the Rhapsody switch"). CASA Version 6, due out in Q4, will connect the PC-based appliance to a 16-port Rhapsody switch to accelerate I/O functions (see HP, IBM Make Virtual Motions).

Brocade acquired Rhapsody Networks last fall in part because the startup had already made decent headway at major OEMs, such as HP and EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) (see Brocade Loads Code, Signs EMC, HP Picks Rhapsody, and Brocade Reupholsters Rhapsody).

But in an interview with Byte and Switch this week at Storage Networking World in Phoenix, Mark Sorenson, VP and general manager of HP's storage software division, noted that its work with Brocade on the Rhapsody switch is not an exclusive arrangement.

"Yeah, the Rhapsody deal is strategic for us, but why would you do this with only one vendor?" he says. "Frankly, we're going to let the customers decide which is best for that."

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