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Cisco's Secret SAN Strategies Revealed

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is
planning a two-pronged assault on the storage area network (SAN) market.

The forthcoming campaign represents Ciscos most significant new
direction
since it spent billions to smash its way into the optical networking
market
by acquiring Cerent and Monterey back in 1999. And it could be bad news
for
Brocade Communications Systems Inc.

(Nasdaq: BRCD), the current SAN market leader.

Stage one of the Cisco SAN campaign kicks off next month when the
company
plans to announce the SN 5420 Storage Router, Light Reading has
learned. The device comes courtesy of Cisco’s acquistion of
NuSpeed Internet Systems in September 2000. It has two ports, which are implemented by cobbling together a gigabit Ethernet

Intel adapter and a QLogic Fibre Channel card, and will run the
iSCSI
(SCSI over IP) protocol.

However, it appears that Cisco’s first SAN announcement is little more than a
feint -– a stopgap until Cisco can bring its heavy weapons into play.
Those
are currently under development at a stealth-mode startup called Andiamo Systems Inc., which is
controlled
by Cisco.

Andiamo is ostensibly an independent startup equipment vendor -- one
that is
still operating in stealth mode. In fact, Light Reading has
learned
that it is a “spin-in” operation. In other words, Cisco has set it up
with
the express intention of acquiring it –- amidst suitable fanfare –- once
it
has completed product development.