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Report: Switch Is Best for Virtualization

Despite claims to the contrary, the intelligent SAN switch is the natural host for a range of services, including virtualization, data replication, and mirroring, according to the latest report from the Byte and Switch Insider subscription research service.

The SAN switch is the only place from which services can run backwards and forwards in a storage network, the report states. In contrast, putting virtualization features on servers addresses the front-end of a SAN, where applications are delivered to end users, while putting them in storage arrays restricts them to the back end. Switch services also scale better and can overcome limitations of incompatible server operating systems and multivendor storage arrays, the report says.

The entry into the storage market of the networking giant Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has added another, less technical, spur to adopt switch-based virtualization. Cisco has introduced serious price competition for SAN switch vendors, which are now eager to augment their wares with new capabilities.

Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) and McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA) have signed up partners great and small to port applications to their switches and thereby enhance their appeal. MaXXan Systems Inc. is adding ISV software to its NAS appliances as well as SAN switches.

StoreAge Networking Technologies Ltd. and FalconStor Software Inc. (Nasdaq: FALC) have been among those most eager to port their applications to switches, and EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) has hooked up with a slew of partners, besides saying it's developing virtualization software for its own gear.

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