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Qualified Response

5:40 PM -- If you had March 8, 2006, in the EMC-McData i10K qualification pool, you win. (See EMC Qualifies McData Director.)

The long saga of McData's attempt to get its flagship backbone director qualified finally ended today when EMC quietly sent out a news release introducing the EMC Connectrix ED-10000M backbone director, which is what EMC calls the i10K. The news came nearly 13 months after McData sent the director for qualification. (See McData Announces Intrepid i10K.)

McData will probably be happy to refer to the switch by its Connectrix name, or any other name besides its own. By now, CEO John Kelley has to be tired of the questions about when his top OEM customer would finally qualify the director. You can expect Kelley to joyfully address the issue Thursday when McData reports its quarterly earnings, after more than a year of having to hem and haw and guess (incorrectly) when the switch would be available through the EMC brand. (See McData Takes a Direct Hit and McData Still Waiting for Upswing.)

Neither EMC nor McData ever shed much light on the cause of the delay in qualifying the director, but clearly there were glitches along the way. The director didn't function in high heat early on, and customers found it hard to install because it is a different architecture than other McData directors. McData insisted for months that the problems were fixed, and Hitachi Data Systems and IBM qualified the switch long ago. (See Hitachi Ships McData Director and IBM Qualifies McData Switches.)

There is at least one believer. Today's release establishes Enterprise Rent-A-Car as the answer to a future storage trivia question: Who was the first EMC-branded customer of McData's i10K?

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