Cisco has added to its MDS 9000 storage switch portfolio, launching two products that combine Fibre Channel (FC) protocol for the enterprise with a cheaper connectivity option.
The MDS line comprises three series: 9500 directors, 9200 mid-range and 9100 entry-level switches, with the latest launches in the mid-range market.
The 9216i is a 16-port switch, with 14 of the ports running FC and the others running Gigabit Ethernet. They can be devoted to iSCSI, enabling SCSI data to run over an IP network, or FC over IP (FCIP), which is the protocol used for distance.
The Multiprotocol Services Module is the 9216i as a card that plugs into slots on other MDS switches such as the FC-only 9216 or directors to provide extra FC connectivity plus two Gigabit ports for iSCSI and/or FCIP.
Mark Keepax, business development manager at Dimension Data, Cisco's largest networking reseller in the UK, said: "We draw down switches from one of Cisco's OEM partners - EMC, IBM, Hewlett-Packard or Hitachi Data Systems - with our value-add being professional services."
But Paul Talbut, managing director of storage VAR hps, said buying MDS switches from one of the OEM partners is a barrier. "It's not in their interest to sell to us at a price at which we can build a solution and make money," he said.
Marcus Chambers, Cisco's EMEA storage operations director, argued: "There is enough margin to go around." But he admitted: "We sometimes get involved with OEMs to cut the right deal for the resellers."
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