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Perry Ellis

Fashion designer Perry Ellis International deployed a single-vendor SAN -- supplied exclusively by Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) -- in order to avoid the interoperability headaches of multivendor storage networks, according to one its top IT executives (see HP Outfits Perry Ellis With SAN).

Ronen Lapidot, director of networks and telecommunications at Miami-based Perry Ellis, says the company picked HP-branded Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) Fibre Channel switches for its new SAN running Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) database software, because it was confident they would work with the servers and storage from HP.

"I've had some experience with multivendor SANs, and it's not a pretty story," he says. "This time, I insisted on getting everything from a single vendor."

While he wouldn't say which vendors have presented such problems, Perry Ellis's previous database infrastructure ran on Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) servers and storage. Without naming names, Lapidot says he has encountered significant "interoperability and stability issues" in the past with multivendor SANs that have required drilling down to the driver level to resolve.

Perry Ellis's perspective vividly illustrates that getting Fibre Channel products from different vendors to work together remains a pain point for customers. The industry, through the efforts of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), has been trying to improve SAN interoperability. For example, several companies staged a multivendor switch demonstration at the Storage Networking World conference this spring (which Brocade sat out, incidentally) (see Users Cheer Interop Demos).

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