Pledging that it will be more aggressive in the storage market, switch vendor McData today launched its SME-focused 4300 fabric switch.
The firm has also widened its relationship with Bell Microproducts by signing a worldwide distribution agreement.
Many analysts consider this a catalyst for McData to crack the SME sector and a boost for resellers that want to get into SANs.
McData's new 4300 is a cut-down version of its 4500 but ships with most of the same technology, such as Flexport, HotCat (software upgrades) and SanPilot management software.
The main difference is cost, which is yet to be announced, and its four-, eight- and 12-port flavours. Also it will not have as many field-replaceable parts as the 4500.
The 4300 is being pitched as a reseller play because McData bundles pay-as-you-grow features, such as Flexport technology.
This allows customers to switch on more ports and use features as and when they need them via a software key, rather than needing to upgrade.
Mike Gusthafsen, senior vice-president, worldwide marketing, at McData, said: "The 4500 was built from the ground up to address a market that we didn't compete in at all.
"We built the product specifically for the mid-range section for those that want simplicity and the right cost, but also flexibility."
But Bell's wider relationship with McData will not faze rival Brocade, said Fergus Campbell, SAN product development manager at Bell's UK arm Ideal, which also supplies Brocade.
"Both have each other in their sights at the moment, but there is Cisco, a 100lb gorilla, just around the corner. That's the big threat," Campbell said.
Paul Trowbridge, regional marketing manager at Brocade, said he was glad McData had "finally got its mid-range offering sorted out".
But he claimed that Brocade had taken market share away from McData's high-end Director offering in Europe. Trowbridge added he was confident Brocade would take more market share in the high end than McData would take in the low end.
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