McData on Tuesday announced its Intrepid i10K Backbone Director, a 256-port director targeted at Global 500 enterprises that want to consolidate multiple storage networks and manage them as a single SAN. The company also announced it is acquiring Computer Network Technology (CNT), a provider of enterprise storage networking services, for US$235 million.
The Intrepid i10K Backbone Director is designed for the consolidation of storage networks using intelligent routing. It has 256 ports, multiple network protocols, and hard-partitioning capabilities. The new switch uses DS10000 switch technology that the company acquired with the US$102 million purchase of Sanera in 2003.
McData is pushing the idea of tiered networks using the i10K as a backbone switch, meaning companies can use current McData Intrepid 6000 series directors with 64 ports and low-end 24-port Sphereon switches and then manage those using the i10K. The i10K supports multiple protocols, including iSCSI, Fibre Channel, and Ficon connectivity. It also supports Layer 2 network switching.
"This is an important announcement not only for McData but for the storage networking industry as a whole," said Nancy Hurley, an analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group. "When McData acquired the foundational technology for the i10K in 2003, it purchased technology that would be the basis of next-generation SANs. McData had the foresight to see the storage market following an evolutionary pattern similar to the networking/telecom industry -- moving toward the need to create tiered storage networks -- and the need for a new class of director -- a backbone director -- capable of supporting these tiered networks," she said.
The i10K can also be used for disaster recovery, with the 10Gbps links used to replicate data between datacenters.
The i10K will ship soon. The company did not release a price for the product.
McData's acquisition of CNT is also related to the company's plans for tired networking infrastructures.
"We believe this acquisition furthers our Global Enterprise Data Center strategy of delivering a broadened tiered network infrastructure to our customers and partners that provides access to information anytime, anywhere," said John Kelley, chairman, president, and CEO at McData, in a release.
The combination should deliver greater value to customers, OEMs and partners by offering complete networking capability solutions across the Storage Area Networks (SANs), Metro Area Network (MANs), and Wide Area Network (WANs), according to the company.