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Cisco Takes On Storage

Cisco has had a few years to work its magic in the storage market, so when we got the opportunity to speak with Jackie Ross, VP of marketing, and Rajeev Bhardwaj, senior product manager in the Cisco storage group, we asked them some hard questions about the issues paramount in the storage industry.

Not surprisingly, Cisco comes across as rather proud of its achievements to date--it's been growing storage-switch market share at a rate that should be making Brocade, McData and QLogic take notice. The company also has managed a reasonably steady stream of enhancements to its storage-switch gear that it clearly hopes will generate growth quarter over quarter.

But we wanted to know how Cisco plans to address the big questions that confront storage managers today--competition to expensive Fibre Channel and SCSI gear from a new breed of low-cost SAN and NAS products based on Windows Storage Server or iSCSI; the iSCSI versus FC debate; and the challenges of making disparate architectures play nicely together. Coming at the market tangentially are blade servers and increasing storage speeds. Our questions hit on all these issues, and also delved into Cisco's plans and how customer feedback impacts its direction.

Our overall takeaway from Bhardwaj and Ross: Cisco is addressing all these issues from the perspective of giving users choice.

To make certain we all understand the issues, here's some background:

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