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VP Details McData Software Makeover

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA) may finally have landed a grip on a software strategy that works -- at least, that's what its VP of software platform services, Jonathan Buckley, claimed in an interview with Byte and Switch at the Storage World Conference/ASNP Summit here this week.

Buckley says McData's agreement to OEM its SANavigator management package to Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP), announced Tuesday, is a milestone, since it validates McData's efforts to fit in with other storage management wares, rather than being an overarching framework (see NetApp Integrates McData).

"We've changed the focus of what we have and how to market it," Buckley says. "One year ago, we were dead set on buying or licensing an amorphous, stacked 'single pane' strategy." But the company rethought its goal of making SANavigator a kind of management framework when developers reflected on how that model failed for IP management systems. Now, McData plans to stick with what it does best -- fabric management -- and integrate its wares with those of other vendors.

Buckley says more OEM deals will follow -- possibly with vendors of SAN management products that have a broader scope. McData is also looking to an August release of a developer toolkit that supports the Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S) designed by the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) -- a move that's been in the works for a while (see SMI-S Slogs Along).

According to Buckley, McData's efforts to find its place in the SAN management software hierarchy could open "new dialogues" with partners that previously eschewed SANavigator as competitive with their own management wares -- an oblique reference to McData's clashes with resale partner EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) over selling SANavigator, which EMC perceived as competitive with its ControlCenter product.

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