Switch Hits

Switch Hits McData tables Sanera bid. Who's buying Cisco's gear? And were Brocade and McD talking merger?

June 5, 2003

5 Min Read
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My tiny beaver ears are positively aflame from the barrage of rumors and innuendo about what's going down in the SAN switching space. As usual, the scuttlebutt I hear from a rather motley bunch of woodland creatures is impossible to officially verify, so take it for what it is. Kinda like hot dogs from a New York street vendor. Anyway, keep flickin' the moist gristle my way at [email protected]. And check out my previous columns, chock-full of unusual and hilarious items (see Live and Let Die, Scratch My Back, and Dear Byte and Switch...).

Dear Bob the Beaver,

Any update on the deal McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA) was negotiating for high-end SAN switch startup Sanera Systems Inc.? [See Is McData Lowballing Sanera? and Sources: McData to Buy Sanera.]


Dear Mac,Well, my sources indicate that the deal is "officially" off for now, though apparently McData is still keeping its options open. But what this means in the short term is that Sanera needs more funding, because, according to insiders, it has less than $3 million in the bank. Sanera is said to be expecting a $10 million loan from somewhere, but nobody knows exactly who somewhere is. Sanera, founded in August 2000, has pulled in $65.3 million to date (see Sanera Turns On the Juice).

Meanwhile, McData is supposedly now also "looking at" Maranti Networks, another high-scale/intelligent SAN switch outfit that has been keeping to itself but is getting ready for a summer launch. Then I heard from a buddy who says that McData is "a lot – and I mean a lot – farther along on their 'smart switch' than most people realize, and that's why McData was not willing to pay much for Sanera." Sounds like there are more potential outcomes in play here than a love match between a badger and a newt!

Dear Bob the Beaver,

Why don't Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) and McData just get past their egos and merge to fend off Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)?

— Suck It UpDear Sucker,

Believe it or not, my furry friends say the two archrivals have considered this possibility. "Brocade and McData actually danced a little while exploring a merger (initiated by Brocade), but that was kiboshed by McData," writes a West Coast pal.

Meanwhile, there's some silly chatter on Wall Street that Cisco has been sniffing around McData. Ridiculous, you say? Maybe. But supposedly, a couple of supporting data points here are that McData tabled its discussions with Sanera and that it also withdrew from bidding for the storage management software unit of BMC Software Inc. (NYSE: BMC), which McData was said to be interested in to augment its SANavigator business. EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), incidentally, is the leading contender to take those assets off BMC's hands (see Will EMC Salvage BMC Unit?).

Dear Bob the Beaver,

I heard Boeing is replacing several Brocade SilkWorm 12000s with McData gear. Yes?— Flyboy

Dear Fly,

First of all, big-big-big companies like Boeing often have several different SANs. There's not just one. The second thing is, apparently some division of Boeing is replacing its 12000s – not with McData but with Cisco MDS 9509s.

I ran this tidbit by a guy I know in Boeing's IT department. He says he's keeping his Brocade 12000s, thank you very much, but he was aware that another group was looking to go with Cisco, which he thought was a bad idea: "I advised them against Cisco because the staff is all trained on Brocade – and why retrain them?" I'll try to keep my paws on top of this one.

Dear Bob the Beaver,Cisco says it sold $10 million worth of Fibre Channel switches last quarter. Who bought 'em? [See Cisco Reports $10M SAN Sales.]

— Andy Ammo

Dear Andy,

Cisco has announced a couple of customers so far (see Hutchison-Priceline Picks Cisco SAN, University Buys Cisco FC Switch, and VRT Picks Cisco SAN). And Byte and Switch has managed to figure out that Reliant Energy has purchased and deployed several MDS 9509s already (see Cisco Beta Site: 'We Love It!').

But supposedly, a portion of that $10 million in sales was from other switch vendors buying stuff for their labs. One of my chums says that Brocade, for one, accounted for $1.2 million of that! Not sure I believe the amount, but Brocade has confirmed that it purchased several Cisco SAN switches via IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM).This friend of mine also says he heard a bunch of the other revenue was "kinda phoney baloney" designed to show traction – he says that Cisco bundled Fibre Channel switches with sales of IP products to large accounts that weren't actually interested in using the Andiamo stuff in their production environments. This is probably just FUD... but, maybe not.

Dear Bob the Beaver,

Who was your pick to win the Miss Universe 2003 pageant in Panama this week?

— Manuel Noriega

Dear Manny,Miss Japan, Miyako Miyazaki. She has got it goin' on – and she's a master of Japanese calligraphy. Hot stuff. But the fix was in for the 6-foot-1 Miss Dominican Republic, Amelia Vega. I heard that Donald Trump, who co-owns the Miss Universe empire (true!), has this thing for tall women... Go figyuh!

Figure 1:

Bob the Beaver

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