MaXXan Plans Midrange Muster

Intelligent switch vendor aims a bit lower in the SAN hierarchy

March 4, 2005

2 Min Read
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MaXXan Systems Inc. is readying a new, smaller version of its intelligent SAN switch for the midrange market. And sources say it may give the company's storage services platform a broader reach.

The new MaXXan system is reportedly dubbed the MXV250 and will be considerably smaller than the vendor's MXV500, which supports from 16 to 256 ports in one chassis. One source, who asked not to be named but claims familiarity with the new product, says it will have 16 to 64 ports and four slots, capable of integrating MaXXan's service modules, which include a Windows-based NAS gateway, a disaster-recovery application card based on software from FalconStor Software Inc. (Nasdaq: FALC), and several other cards.

MaXXan VP of marketing, Ravi Chalaka, won't confirm these details, but he acknowledges there will be private demos for resellers at upcoming trade shows and conferences, followed by an official announcement sometime in April.

Chalaka agrees the midrange is the fastest-growing storage networking market. "You can get into many smaller SAN environments and it's easier for resellers to manage," he says of midrange gear.

MaXXan's news is interesting on several counts. First, it shows the growing strength of the midrange segment, which has become this year's version of last year's small-to-medium-sized business (SMB) market mania. According to International Data Corp, revenues for SAN products priced in the rangeof $15,000 to $150,000 per device is growing faster than costlier high-end systems and is a more significant slice of the market than lower-end "SMB" gear. MaXXan clearly wants its share of the pie.Though MaXXan claims 60 customers, at least one analyst thinks it may do better in the midrange segment, where its particular combination of features could get more exposure. "MaXXan functions as a switch, but they have more of a niche with other capabilities," says Greg Shulz of Evaluator Group. The combination of iSCSI-to-FC switching, NAS capabilities, volume pooling and LUN aggregation, and virtual tape appeal to midrange or departmental users, he says, ones who may not be tied into a bigger vendor and are looking to pair an application platform with SAN switching.

MaXXan could use any chance to leverage fresh business. After all, it's coming up against the major SAN switch players, including Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), and McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA).

So far, MaXXan has been resilient, despite the demise of several like-minded startups. With $29 million in new funding (bringing its total to over $100 million, see MaXXan Intros Intelligent SAN Switch ), the company has sufficient resources to explore opportunities. And MaXXan's not shrinking from doing so. Indeed, plans are reportedly underway (but unconfirmed by Chalaka) for an out-of-band product that migh compete more directly with the nascent storage router from EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC).

Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

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