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Cisco Knocks 'Nerd Knobs'

NEW YORK -- Driving the complexity out of deploying storage networks will be a key part of Cisco Systems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: CSCO) SAN strategy, executed through partnerships with select storage management software companies, Cisco executives said today at the RBC Capital Markets conference.

BMC Software Inc. (NYSE: BMC), IBM Tivoli, EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), and Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS) are expected to be among the top-of-the-list companies to ship software that will support Cisco's MDS 9000 storage switches and directors, company officials say (see IBM Tells Cisco: 'Let's Go!').

"The MDS 9000 series is an open architecture, and access to the APIs are available to select partners to fully manage the product line," says Soni Jiandani, VP of marketing in Cisco's storage technology group. "Every variable that can be controlled in this platform has been opened up." In addition, she said, "we don't force customers to use 'nerd knobs' at the get go." [Ed. note: Unless, of course, they like it like that!]

BMC will go into beta this quarter with a module for its Patrol for Storage Networking (PSN) product, a component of its Patrol Storage Manager software, that will support and manage the MDS switches. PSN already supports Inrange Technologies Corp. (Nasdaq: INRG), Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), and McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA) products.

"Would we normally do this for a piece of hardware with no market share today? The answer is no," says Dan Hoffmann, director of enterprise storage management at BMC. "Cisco is a little different -- no one is going to ignore them."

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