EMC & McData Get Smart

EMC to develop software for McData's intelligent switches, following deals with Cisco, Brocade

March 10, 2004

2 Min Read
Network Computing logo

EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) today said it would develop and port software for McData Corp.'s (Nasdaq: MCDTA) intelligent switch platform, nearly a year after announcing plans to do the same for Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) switches.

EMC declared its intention to develop software for Brocades Rhapsody switches last March and to do the same on Cisco’s Andiamo switches in April (see EMC OEMs Brocade's Rhapsody Switch and EMC, Cisco Do the Deed).

What took so long to follow with McData?

Insiders say the delay had nothing to do with any real or perceived problems between McData and EMC, its former parent and the company that provides most of its business (see EMC Playing Hardball With McData?). It was a simple technology issue.

“A year ago, McData didn’t have their plans for intelligent switches,” says Chris Gahagan, EMC’s senior VP of storage infrastructure software. “This is the technology they acquired from Aarohi.”Like Cisco and Brocade, McData had to acquire technology for intelligent switches -- which build functionality such as backup, restore, virtualization, and data replication directly into the server. McData got it by investing $6 million into Aarohi Inc. for its FabricStream technology last August (see Aarohi Announces Funding... Again and McData Signs Deal With Aarohi).

The late start didn’t cost McData, considering none of the switch vendors will ship their first-generation intelligent switches until the end of this year or early next.

“If you talk to Cisco, Brocade, and McData, they’re still vague as to when they’ll be available,” Gahagan says. “I would say we’re still a couple of quarters away from having the switches. Then we’ll have to take time to certify them. We’re probably about three or four quarters away from shipping them to customers.”

Why does it take so long? This is complicated stuff, says McData’s VP of operations Peter Dougherty. “Now the major onus is on the software developers such as EMC, Veritas, and others to embed storage provisioning capabilities," he says. "I think we’ll see early deployments late this year, with more adoptions throughout ’05.”

Veritas has yet to announce plans to develop and port software for McData’s switches, but Dougherty calls the EMC announcement “the first of many.”— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like

More Insights