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Cisco Gets Set

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) moved two steps forward in its Fibre Channel switch onslaught, as Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) announced its qualification of the MDS 9000 family and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) set a March general availability date for the switches.

IBM on Tuesday announced that it will start offering Cisco's MDS 9000, beginning with the MDS 9509 director and 9216 fabric switch, on March 21, 2003 in the U.S. In early January, IBM announced its intention to resell the Andiamo switches (see IBM Tells Cisco: 'Let's Go!').

But if the pricing IBM disclosed is any indication, Cisco -- as usual -- is charging a serious premium over its competitors for FC fabric switches. According to Big Blue, this is how it breaks down:

Table 1: IBM List Prices of Cisco's Andiamo Switches

Model IBM Part No. Price Configuration Price Per Port
MDS 9216 2062-D01 $52,263 1 16-port line card $3,266
MDS 9509 2062-D07 $189,372 2 16-port line cards $5,918
MDS 9509 2062-T07 $229,050 2 16-port line cards $7,158
Source: IBM Corp.

That puts the starting price for a 16-port MDS 9216, which is expandable up to 48 ports, at $3,266 per port -- well above that of FC fabric switches from Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) or McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA). IBM sells Brocade's 16-port SilkWorm 3800 (rebranded as the IBM 2109-F16) for $33,770, or about $2,100 per port. Other switches in this category are even lower: McData's Sphereon 4500, in a 16-port configuration, carries a list price of $15,000 (see McData Lowers Boom on Brocade).

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