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Switch Homework Pays Off

CHICAGO - An open mind is key to getting the best Fibre Channel switches for an enterprise, according to stories told by a user panel today at the Storage Decisions conference here.

Three members of the panel recently implemented new switches and went with a different vendor than they originally expected.

Chris Collins, manager of infrastructure planning at international food retailer Ahold USA, late last year started planning to consolidate her company’s SAN to reduce complexity and implement data mirroring from Boston to South Carolina.

She says she had 1,200 Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) ports in edge switches spread over six SANs. She wanted directors at the core and edge, and wasn’t impressed with Brocade’s 64-port Silkworm 12000 directors. But Collins didn’t think she would end up picking Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) over McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA).

“We were reluctant to look at Cisco,” Collins says. “But they surprised us with their commitment to Fibre Channel. They’re a networking company and brought up issues we hadn’t thought of. They just wanted to make sure everything worked together.”

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