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Cisco acquires storage switch maker Andiamo

Networking giant Cisco Systems is jumping into the fibre channel storage area network market with the acquisition of Andiamo Systems.

Cisco already owns part of Andiamo, which produces storage switches that use intelligence about stored application data to grant prioritised access to that data.

Cisco will begin selling the range of multilayer intelligent storage switches developed by Andiamo under the brand name Cisco MDS 9000, before the purchase of the company is finalised.

Pricing for the Cisco MDS 9000 line of storage switches will begin at $30,000 (£19,600) and they will be sold through partners, said Cisco's chief development officer, Mario Mazzola.

"Cisco will follow its existing sales model. We will leverage pragmatically strong partnerships," Mazzola said.

Cisco, also headquartered in San Jose, has been moving to increase its presence in the SAN market over the past year through investments in startup companies such as Andiamo and the storage-virtualisation vendor StoreAge Networking Technologies.

Cisco has released its own storage products, including the SN 5420 storage router for transporting data over IP (Internet Protocol) using the iSCSI (Internet Small Computer System Interface) protocol, and a storage switch that supports Fibre Channel, SCSI and Gigabit Ethernet.

The company, which will compete against Brocade Communications Systems and McData, is aiming its MDS 9000 line of storage switches at the financial services markets, pharmaceutical companies and manufacturing companies.

"We believe we are providing basic characteristics of SAN switches that our competitors are already providing but that we will also have the ability to extend the acceleration of the technology," Mazzola said.

The Cisco MDS switches, which feature 16 to 768 ports, compared with the eight to 128 port range held by competing switches, are being tested with a "number of partners", Mazzola said, though he declined to name any of the partners.

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