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Wisdom of Smart Switch Questioned

MaXXan Systems Inc., looking to distinguish itself in a competitive switch market by offering advanced software capabilities, says its intelligent switches now include an upgraded version of virtualization and management software from FalconStor Software Inc. (Nasdaq: FALC).

MaXXan's new software, IPStor 4.0, provides its storage appliance and blade server with virtualization and real-time data migration capabilities -- to go with the basic mirroring and replication the vendor previously offered as part of its gear.

But at least one analyst questions whether giving its intelligent switch more brain capability is the smartest thing for MaXXan to do.

[The] software is from a company that has been in existence a long time and is a known company, so that’s good,” says analyst Steve Berg of Punk Ziegel & Co.

“But I’m not convinced end users want all the software to reside on the switch."

For Berg, putting so much software on a switch raises concerns about the potential security and performance impact of having too many of the storage network's vital resources in one place. Software does a fairly decent job on network servers, he suggests.

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