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Smackdown Time at SAN Soiree: Page 3 of 4

Whether or not those standards are exactly the same, however, is still a matter of conjecture. While the panelists agreed that IP will make inroads into storage deployments, EMC's Swatik says IP won't replace technologies like Fibre Channel anytime soon.

"It's going to take time for IP to evolve," Swatik says. "We've been doing Fibre Channel since 1997, and it already worked. iSCSI doesn't work yet, so it's going to take some time before we see products."

That means there's going to be more protocol confusion, not less, in the immediate future, in Swatik's view, a problem he contends EMC is better qualified than others to handle:

"The interoperability problem is only going to get worse before it gets better. Things are going to get more complex before they get simpler, and that's where spending $2 billion on R&D, like we have, is going to pay dividends."

Sounds like the fight might just be starting.