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Report: SAN Routing Hype Won't Help

With standards still years from ratification, the storage routing market is a muddle of proprietary technologies and misinformation, according to the latest Byte and Switch Insider, this publication's paid subscription research service.

Yet the technology promises to solve points so painful to customers that they're willing to wade through lots of hype if it means eventually finding a solution. And some vendors, mindful that confusion doesn't make traction, are starting to sacrifice marketspeak to potential opportunities.

The report, "Storage Routing Unmasked," says the proliferation of storage networking has forced customers to find ways to make sense of numerous "SAN islands" that have cropped up in their organizations. SAN routing -- a misnomer, since it doesn't connote the same kind of function that takes place in IP routers -- alleviates some trouble by allowing interconnected SANs to share resources while keeping segments to manageable size.

There are just a handful of devices that really do this. Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), LightSand Communications Corp., and McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA) currently lead the market. Others claim similar functionality, but in fact perform different functions.

As a result, the "SAN routing market" includes SAN routers, SAN extension equipment, bridges/multiprotocol switches, and application-enhanced switches.

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