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CNT Waits for SAN Tide to Rise: Page 3 of 3

On the partner side, CNT dances with a wide range of storage hardware vendors, including IBM, Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ), and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HWP). But in May CNT announced an expanded relationship with EMC, which Morin says is a natural, given EMC's presence in the market.

"We consider ourselves vendor-neutral, but the level of the relationship is somewhat based on the market share [of the partner]," Morin says. The latest EMC deal focuses on providing support for data mirroring over IP links, a market segment that Morin says is poised to grow rapidly.

"All the analyst firms say that Fibre Channel will still be strong for two or three years, but that SAN over IP is going to take off by 2005. I think it's only natural that if [users] want to go across the enterprise, or across the wide area, they're going to want to connect over IP."

Going forward, CNT is going to focus primarily on storage networking, which Morin calls "the engine of growth" for CNT. Though the company also has a separate division, called Propelis, that sells and supports enterprise business-integration software, Morin says CNT will most likely sell the division off sometime soon, instead of preparing it for an IPO as originally planned.

- Paul Kapustka, Editor at Large, Light Reading