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McData's Ready for Rollout

McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA) is finally ready to quit the talking stage and start the selling stage of its long-awaited new "product-refresh" campaign.

McData is expected to announce at least one OEM qualification early next week for its Intrepid 10000 backbone director (a.k.a. the Intrepid 10K or i10K) and the Eclipse 2640 SAN router it announced last October (see McData Extends Router Family and McData Goes on Offensive).

The Intrepid 10K is the first product to emanate from McData's $102 million purchase of Sanera in October 2003 (see McData Completes Sanera Acquisition). McData envisions it as a backbone director that can be used to connect and manage other directors. Its features include:

  • More ports: At 256 ports, up from 140 ports in McDatas largest current director, the Intrepid 10K will be one of the two or three largest FC directors ever. Computer Network Technology Corp. (CNT)'s (Nasdaq: CMNT) UltraNet Multiservice Director (UMD) scales up to 256 ports now, while Cisco Systems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: CSCO) directors max at 224 ports and Brocade Communications Systems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: BRCD) at 128 ports, though Brocade plans a 256-port switch this year (see CNT Stakes Claim on New Director). Startup MaXXan Systems Inc. has a switch that goes up to 512 ports (see MaXXan Intros Intelligent SAN Switch ).
  • Support for 10-Gbit/s Inter-Switch Link (ISL) blades for extending SANs over distances of 1,200 miles.
  • Dynamic partitioning from Sanera that allows users to partition the director into four separate 32-port switches. Dynamic partitioning is McData’s answer to Cisco’s Virtual SAN (VSAN) and CNT's virtual domains features.

McData isn’t saying who will be shipping the new director first, but sources say IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) will announce qualification next week, with EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)
and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) set to follow soon.

McData is also expected to receive OEM qualification for the Eclipse 2640 16-port multiprotocol SAN router it announced last September. Based in part on technology acquired with McData's $83 million purchase of Nishan Systems last September, the switch is an upgrade over the four-port Eclipse 1620 McData released in October 2003 (see McData Closes Nishan Acquisition). The 2640 supports switches from Brocade, Cisco, and QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC).

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