Dear Byte and Switch...

Dear Byte and Switch... Meet our newest columnist, who's unafraid to sink his teeth into the truth

January 10, 2003

4 Min Read
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Greetings. I am Bob, the Byte and Switch Beaver. As you may have guessed, I am a storage networking expert.

The folks at Byte and Switch asked me to write a regular [ed. note: or irregular] industry insider's Q&A column to answer your burning questions about life and love in the SAN. I can also give you pointers on home brewing or snowboarding if you are into that stuff. Send email to me at [email protected]. You should know Bob the Beaver is expected to be the most widely read column of all time.

OK. A little more about me: I live in New York City, so don't mess with me. Yeah, seriously. Also, I usually smell really bad and I'm a Mets fan.

Enough chit-chat already. Let's get to your questions.

Dear Bob the Beaver,I keep hearing that there have been bugs cropping up in Cisco Systems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: CSCO) MDS 9000 switches. What's going on?

Andy Ammo

Dear Andy,

Sounds basically like competitive FUD. Look, there are always going to be some issues with a beta product, especially a first-generation one. This is precisely why they put 'em through the beta cycle in the first place. The real question is how serious the bugs are. As far as I know, there have not been any yank-it-out-it's-killing-me problems with the Cisco gear. That doesn't mean a showstopper doesn't exist, but I'd be pretty surprised if there were any serious glitches at this point (see IBM Tells Cisco: 'Let's Go!' and Cisco Beta Site: 'We Love It!').

Check this out, though: I hear that Cisco's IT people have been testing the Andiamo switch internally (yeah, as they often do with their own products). Now that the MDS 9000 code is "final," Cisco apparently is moving a small part of its Andiamo SAN into production. Hmmmmmm. Why not the whole thing? Guess you gotta eat your own dog chow in small bites.Dear Bob the Beaver,

Is it true Banderacom Inc., the InfiniBand chip startup, is ditching its plans for this market and going with RDMA over TCP/IP?

— InfiniFinished

Dear InfiniFinished,

Could be, could be. I hear those rustlings too, and let's face it: The InfiniBand market ain't going nowhere fast. Stay tuned on this one. I'll do some burrowing and get back to ya.Dear Bob the Beaver,

What's McData Corp.'s (Nasdaq: MCDTA) virtualization strategy?

— McMan

Dear Mack,

It's nonexistent. McData's gonna need one, and soon, if it wants to keep up with Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), which is acquiring Rhapsody Networks, and Cisco, which has Andiamo Systems Inc. However, one industry consultant tells me that what's more important than so-called virtualization services in the near term is inter-SAN connectivity -- and here, he says, an eye-catching target for McData would be SANcastle Technologies Inc. Buying SANcastle would instantly give them an answer to Cisco's Virtual SAN technology and Brocade's i-Switch, although I'd add that Brocade now says it may not deliver the i-Switch until 2004 (see Cisco's VSANs: Hype or Innovation? and SANcastle Retreats to FC Kingdom).Dear Bob the Beaver,

What's the deal with the red-white-and-blue/American eagle motif on the home page of Compellent Technologies Inc.?

— Jingo Bells

Dear Jingo,

Seriously, what's up with this? The stealth-mode storage software startup, started by the guys who founded XIOtech Corp., seems to have worked itself into some kind of patriotic hoo-ha (see XIOtech Founders Back in Business). I don't know what Compellent's working on, exactly, but its slogan is "Ultimate Data Storage Freedom." Ohhhhhhh, I get it. Real cute. But as a castor canadensis I really don't like eagles or any other birds of prey. (Don't care much for banderacoms either, to speak the truth. Nasty little critters. Larcenous.)By the way, I hear that former Nishan Systems Inc. marketing dude Gary Orenstein recently joined the Compellent crew as VP of marketing. Best o' luck to ya, Gary! P.S. Get a parka.

Dear Bob the Beaver,

What wine goes best with a turkey potpie?

— Judd Nelson

Dear Judd,White, probably a not-too-buttery Chardonnay. However, I think most potpies go down easiest with a vanilla malted milkshake.

That's all for now. Smell you later, people.

Figure 1:

Bob the Beaver

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