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The Cisco Hammer

It turns out Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has been keeping a tight lid on its secret weapons as it stages its first attack on the Fibre Channel market.

We got a sneak preview of Cisco's MDS 9509 director-class Fibre Channel switch, courtesy of Reliant Energy, a Houston-based energy company (see Cisco Beta Site: 'We Love It!').

Reliant's networking engineers sang the praises of the Cisco product, which is supposedly still on track to ship before the end of 2002. "I personally think Cisco is going to change the face of SAN switching," says Barry Brazil, enterprise SAN architect at Reliant. [Ed. note: Gee, kinda like Michael Jackson!]

Normally, one finds this kind of messianic enthusiasm among, say, Scientologists. It's not every day you hear someone so jazzed about a SAN switch.

To be sure, Reliant is just one count 'em, one – beta customer. Cisco claims it's delivered more than 70 MDS 9500 switches to partners and 12 beta sites, but for now Reliant is the only one we've managed to hunt down.

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