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Will EMC Bag Cisco's Cat?

EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) may enter into an agreement with Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) that would allow the storage vendor to resell co-branded versions of Cisco's Catalyst Ethernet switches for iSCSI-based SANs, a source tells Byte and Switch.

According to a source close to EMC, who did not want to be identified, Cisco approached the Hopkinton, Mass., storage player and offered it the option to sell co-branded Ethernet gear -- if EMC agreed to push sales of Cisco's MDS 9000 family of Fibre Channel switches, a market that Cisco is attempting to penetrate very aggressively. EMC is the industry's top supplier of SAN-attached storage and storage networking gear, according to research firm IDC.

"Cisco said, 'If you guys give us 30 percent of the Fibre Channel business, we'll let you co-label the Catalyst 6000,' " our source says. The proposed deal for EMC to resell the Ethernet switches could be announced next month, the source adds.

Though such a co-branding deal would be highly unusual for Cisco, the two companies have already inked such an agreement for the MDS switches. EMC is selling those as co-branded EMC/Cisco equipment, in an arrangement similar to the one EMC has with Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) (see EMC, Cisco Do the Deed).

"Cisco's doing a lot of unusual things now to gain market share in the SAN space," says the source (see Cisco Misses SAN Sales Target and Cisco SAN Sales: Ramping Hard?).

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