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Users Cheer Interop Demos

PHOENIX -- Storage Networking World Spring 2003 -- Several multivendor SAN interoperability demonstrations here this week staged by the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) are winning kudos from storage networking users, but these customers also say there's a lot more work the vendors must do on this front.

In a first for the industry, SNIA's multivendor SAN switch interoperability demo showed the systems of all the major vendors' working together in a fully meshed network. The goal is to let storage systems vendors certify -- and support -- heterogeneous SAN fabric configurations (see SNIA Holds Multivendor Demo).

"Absolutely flippin' incredible," says Audrey Harman, technical staff manager for Sprint Corp.'s (NYSE: FON) Computing Systems Technology Lab, about the multivendor switch demo. Harman's group tests and verifies computing technologies, including storage devices, for all of the carrier's divisions. Sprint's lab runs a large heterogeneous SAN environment in its 60,000-square-foot space in Overland Park, Kan.

Participants in the SNIA switch demo included Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Inrange Technologies Corp. (Nasdaq: INRG), McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA), and QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC). Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) did not participate directly, but rebranded versions of its switches were submitted for the demo by EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM). Storage systems were provided by EMC, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), HP, IBM, and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) (see Brocade Snubs Multivendor Demo).

"We should be competing on features and functions, not basic interoperability," says Mark Sorenson, VP and general manager of HP's storage software division.

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