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McData Swings Switches Lower

McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA) is delivering the industry's lowest-end Fibre Channel switch with the Sphereon 4300, which provides between four and 12 ports and is priced as low as $550 per port.

To date, such "starter SAN" offerings have been, to put it mildly, nonstarters. QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC), for example, has not had much luck with its own entry-level SAN bundle. But McData believes the timing is right for a low-cost, no-fuss Fibre Channel switch that has the ability to scale with a customer's storage environment.

Mike Tomky, senior product marketing manager for Sphereon, says McData and its storage OEMs have identified a key opportunity for entry-level SANs in small and medium-sized enterprises, which mainly use direct-attached storage (DAS) today.

Specifically, he says customers that are buying midrange storage systems, including the EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) Clariion CX200 and the Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) Thunder 9500 V, are becoming more receptive to deploying SANs (see Report: Midmarket Moving to SANs).

"Everybody is going after the midrange market and scaling down in it," he says.

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