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Mark Lewis: Page 4 of 15

Byte and Switch: What do you see as the biggest interoperability issues facing the storage networking industry today?

Lewis: I think the largest issue we face is building in a true process and methodology to validate the operation of large, heterogeneous SANs. What you have in this environment is lots of configurations that you couldn't possibly test. We need ways of developing testing to validate those. Storage is going through the same growing pains as when we first adopted networking. Obviously, no one could build a NIC or a router today and test it on the Internet. With these large heterogeneous storage networks, you have different people's components, so we're working a lot on standardization and test planning to be able to assure customers that a large storage array added into a SAN is going to operate properly.

Byte and Switch: Do you maintain other vendors' servers in your labs for ongoing interoperability testing? And if so, which vendors?

Lewis: Absolutely. I walked through the lab here in Colorado Springs this morning; we probably have over 100 Sun servers, for example, just in this one building. So we maintain not just some Sun servers, but one of almost every model.

With the open SAN environment, we're starting to build more of our competitors' products into those SANs to make sure that we don't have any interoperability issues there. That means buying EMC Symmetrix, IBM Sharks, and other products to put in our labs for our own interoperability testing.