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More Money for Maranti

Just when you thought competition couldn't get fiercer in the SAN switch market, along comes a startup with hopes of stirring things up even more.

Maranti Networks, based in San Jose, Calif., just scored $26 million in a third financing round, bringing its total funding to date to $57 million. The company's plan is to crack the director switch market dominated by McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA)
and Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD),
where Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is also gaining a share (see Cisco Storage Growing Up).

Hang on. Can the market really take another player? After all, pricing pressures and a tight market are proving tough for even the dominant suppliers (see Brocade Shaves Heads and McData McDownsized).

New Maranti CEO Debbie Miller is hopeful. She has just replaced cofounder Kuldeep Sandhu, who remains with the company as chief strategy officer. She says Maranti's CoreSTOR switches include virtualization, replication, mirroring, and snapshot capabilities built into the software, giving them an edge over competitors that don't have all these integrated features.

So far, it seems Marantis closest competitor, from a technology standpoint, is Cisco’s MDS 9000 switches that run with IBM Corp.'s (NYSE: IBM) SAN Volume Controller software (see Cisco & IBM Serve Virtual Combo). Brocade and McData also have intelligent switch capabilities and won’t be far behind.

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