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McData Hops on QLogic Blades

McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA) is taking a shortcut into the blade switch arena through an expanded partnership with QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC).

McData and QLogic have signed an exclusive deal to develop an embedded Fibre Channel switch for blade servers (see McData, QLogic Partner on Blades). The first switch is scheduled to go to OEMs for qualification this quarter, and McData and QLogic are hoping for general availability in the first quarter of next year.

The arrangement is the latest in an ongoing relationship. Last August, McData and QLogic announced interoperability between QLogic blade switches and McData switches and directors (see McData, QLogic Cross Blades).

With the new deal, QLogic supplies the embedded switch, McData adds management software, and the companies co-develop the firmware. The idea is to help McData make up valuable time against rival Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) in the blade switch market, while QLogic expands its embedded switch channel.

Up to now, Brocade and QLogic have been the major switch players in the blade server space. Brocade has OEM deals with IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)
and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) and hopes to cash in on a market it expects to hit $162 million by 2006 (see Brocade Outlines Market Plans, IBM, Brocade Tie SAN Knot, and Brocade & HP: Blade Brothers).

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