McData Gets Small With Fibre Channel Switch

Sphereon 4300 is McData's smallest-ever Fibre Channel switch, scaling down to just four ports.

McData Corp. this fall will ship its smallest-ever Fibre Channel switch, scaling down to just four ports.

The new switch, Sphereon 4300, will scale in four-port increments up to 12 ports, and will include the SANpilot management software, said Doug Rainbolt, vice president of switch products, in Broomfield, Colo.

At 12 ports, the switch will cost "very close to the competitive eight-port pricing," he said, alluding to the roughly $4,600 SilkWorm 3200 series from San Jose, Calif.-based Brocade Communications Systems Inc.

Officials did not say what a four-port version will cost or when it will have iSCSI options.

Small-scale storage area networks will probably attach to Windows servers and will be used for applications such as messaging and file serving, Rainbolt noted. But even though McDatas products are traditionally geared for large, multivendor SANs, "the technology is very extensible up and down," he said.

McDatas high-end SANavigator management software, however, is not. Instead, McData will include the older and simpler SANpilot software. "SANpilots really designed for one or two switches, to support the small installations," Rainbolt said.

Separately, McData now has completed the common code base between SANavigator and Enterprise Fabric Connectivity Manager, which is software for OEM partners to include. SANavigator now has EFCMs discovery features, while EFCM users can now also use SANavigator add-on modules, officials said.