McData Hits Remote Control

Switch vendor will OEM products from Riverbed and FalconStor for remote management

March 14, 2006

4 Min Read
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McData launched its anticipated push on remote offices today, unveiling a package of hardware, software, and services for handling data outside of data centers. (See McData Chases Remote Users.)

As expected, McData will use Riverbed's Steelhead wide-area file services (WAFS) appliances as the linchpin of its remote strategy. (See McData & Riverbed: A Rumored Pair.) It also will OEM FalconStor replication software and offer services and extension products it picked up by acquiring CNT Networks last year. (See McData Bags CNT for $235M.)

McData will rebrand Riverbed's product as its SpectraNet WAN Data Services Accelerator platform and sell FalconStor's IPStor software as SpectraNet Replicator for Exchange.

McData will also package its Eclipse and UltraNet extension products, WAN monitoring and management, and professional services as part of what it is calling its ROC (remote office consolidation) initiative.

McData CEO John Kelley says he thinks the Exchange replication product will be more popular at first, but he expects enterprise customers to quickly move to optimize network traffic so they can manage data in remote offices. "The proliferation of remote offices has created opportunities and problems," Kelley says. "They can't control data at the edge."McData is hardly the first to recognize the need for managing remote data or replicating Exchange. Its switch rivals, Brocade and Cisco, already have products targeted at remote offices that compete with Riverbed.

Cisco got into WAFS through acquisitions of Actona and FineGround. (See Cisco Acts on Actona and Cisco Chomps FineGround.) Brocade got its foot in the door through an investment and OEM deal with Tacit Networks last year and plans to integrate technology it acquired from NuView last week into its remote file services platform. (See Brocade Invests in Tacit and Brocade Bags NuView.)

Besides Brocade and Cisco, Juniper Networks and startups Availl, Certeon, DiskSites, Expand, Orbital Data, Packeteer, Signiant, and Silver Peak are all selling WAFS and WAN optimization. Riverbed and Tacit continue to sell their products directly as well.

There's also been an influx of Exchange replication products with EMC, Engenio, IBM, NSI Software. Also, CDP vendors Asempra, Atempo, Mimosa, Kashya, and TimeSpring Software all are offering replication integrated with Exchange. (See IBM Expands 4-Gbit/s & Backup and IDC: Replication Growing Fastest.)

McData's challenge is to convince people they need to buy these products from a Fibre Channel switch vendor.Anthony Ercolino, VP of data center operations for supply chain automation firm TradeCard Inc., is a McData customer whose firm uses service provider Internap for sites in Asia and other areas where connectivity is an issue. He was unaware that McData planned to offer optimization products but says he's willing to keep his options open.

"Optimizing connectivity is always a concern. It's something we always keep in mind," Ercolino says.

Eric Nichols, CIO at manufacturing firm Solutia, says he sees a nice fit between Fibre Channel switches and WAFS. Unfortunately for McData, he's already using Riverbed to optimize network traffic at ten of his company's sites.

"I can see how the products go hand in hand. You create one big SAN network, throw a Riverbed device in front of it, and optimize the entire SAN," says Nichols, who has eliminated about ten T1 lines from his company's sites by using Steelhead appliances.

McData faces other sales challenges. Products from Riverbed and FalconStor are hardly exclusive to McData. Hewlett-Packard uses Riverbed software in a product it sells as the StorageWorks Enterprise File Service (EFS) WAN Accelerator. (See HP Plans HW/SW Upgrades and HP Upgrade Features OEM Crowd.)FalconStor sells its software through several storage vendors, including EMC, Sun, and IBM, and it has had a busy week adding partners. Sources say FalconStor's software will be used on the entry-level NAS device that Intel announced last week, and Hong Kong-based Huawei-3Com Technology said Friday it will use FalconStor's IPStor for its iSCSI storage systems. (See Intel Protects Small Biz Data and FalconStor Teams With Huawei-3Com.)

Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • Asempra Technologies

  • Availl Inc.

  • Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD)

  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)

  • DiskSites Inc.

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Expand Networks Inc.

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Kashya Inc.

  • McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA)

  • Mimosa Systems Inc.

  • NSI Software Inc.

  • Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR)

  • Orbital Data Corp.

  • Packeteer Inc. (Nasdaq: PKTR)

  • Riverbed Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: RVBD)

  • Signiant Corp.

  • Silver Peak Systems Inc.

  • Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW)

  • Storactive Inc.

  • TimeSpring Software Corp.

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