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Sun Lights QLogic 'Un-Director'

PHOENIX -- Storage Networking World Spring 2003 -- Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) will resell QLogic Corp.'s (Nasdaq: QLGC) new 64-port Fibre Channel fabric switch, which is almost (but not quite) an enterprise-class director, QLogic executives say.

QLogic says its modular 2-Gbit/s SANbox2-64 has many of the features of a higher-priced SAN director but for substantially less -- around $1,000 per port. The device is designed to let customers implement bigger FC fabrics without having to use lower-port-count switches in configurations that consume numerous precious ports as interswitch links (ISLs), says Frank Berry, VP of marketing at QLogic (see QLogic Intros 64-Port FC Edge Switch).

"Most people building large meshed fabrics don't like having to take up a $2,000 port as an ISL," he says.

QLogic can credibly claim to have the largest FC fabric switch on the market. But is bigger necessarily better? Mike Gustafson, senior VP of marketing at McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA), says if a customer really wants to put 64 ports at the edge, the best way to do that is to hook two 32-port switches together via an ISL. "It's a better solution because it's nonblocking," he says. QLogic, though, claims its SANbox2-64 is a nonblocking switch.

Next year, McData plans to release a 32-port version of the Sphereon 4500, which currently only provides up to 24, Gustafson says; previously, McData had indicated that 48- and 64-port Sphereon switches were on the roadmap (see McData Packs in the Ports).

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