Cisco Systems has joined with storage systems supplier Network Appliance (NetApp) to develop and market standards-based storage networking infrastructure.
NetApp will package its storage systems to sell with the Cisco MDS 9000 family of directors and switches.
Stuart Gilks, NetApp systems engineering director, told vnunet.com: "Cisco has an equivalent unified storage strategy with fibre channel [FC] and iSCSI in the same chassis."
Eric Sheppard, research manager at analyst IDC, said the deal was a positive move for both companies, with medium-term benefit from integrating iSCSI and FC in the same chassis.
"The way to market San switches has been predominantly through storage suppliers, and in under a year Cisco has managed to partner with the major ones. Cisco's presence presents a challenge to the other vendors," he said.
But regarding the long-term use of FC or iSCSI, Sheppard said: "Historically, multi-protocol products have proved to be interim solutions. Sooner or later the market will decide on a single protocol."
The companies' joint initiatives include technology collaboration, sales and marketing activities, and collaborative support to customers in planning, deploying and optimising the hardware and software.
Database storage, storage consolidation away from direct attached storage, data protection and disaster recovery, archiving, and more advanced areas such as information lifecycle management within storage grids, are also being planned.
Interoperability testing for NetApp's equipment has been completed for Cisco MDS 9500 series directors and MDS 9216 modular fabric switch.
Testing with the MDS 9100 series fabric switches should be completed in January, after which all products will be available.
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