McData is acquiring Nishan Systems and Sanera Systems for $83m (£53) and $102m (£65m), respectively, so it can move from offering just Fibre Channel directors to offering storage over IP and expand its port count from a maximum of 140 to 246.
Mike Gustafson, senior vice-president of worldwide marketing at McData, said there will be "opportunities" for campus consolidation, but he added that there are no immediate plans to cut staff or locations. Nishan has 101 employees while Sanera has 91.
Gustafson said McData also paid $6m (£3.8m) for 15% of Aarohi Communications, so it can use the company's software and processors to enable data replication from its directors.
Sanera previewed its 256-port DS10000 Datacenter-Class Director in April. Besides the additional port counts, a key piece of technology offered by Sanera is dynamic partitioning, or the ability to carve up a switch into sectors with separate service levels for different applications, Gustafson said.
As for Nishan, it makes multiprotocol switches that transport block-level data over Ethernet using the Internet SCSI and Internet Fibre Channel Protocol standards.
Nishan's switches encapsulate Fibre Channel and SCSI data packets with IP headers for transport over Ethernet, allowing companies to either connect remote storage-area networks (San) through tunnelling or many small servers to Sans for backup.
The Fibre Channel over IP protocol is in McData's product plans, and McData expects to begin offering the additional features to customers sometime in the second quarter of 2004.
Gustafson said McData will bring the added technologies under one management platform that will include every product in its line, offering customers seamless integration of their storage networks with complete compatibility with existing and future products.
"We are excited about this new offering because it will afford companies like us a tremendous amount of scalability and manageability for large, enterprise storage networks," Kevin Shine, director of storage services at Verizon said.
Tom Buiocchi, director of product marketing at McData rival Brocade Communication Systems, said McData is playing catch-up with its competitors, including Cisco Systems.
"This is a well-known progression in technology and a well-known road map that the other two of us [Brocade and Cisco] have been offering for some time now," Buiocchi said.
Lucas Mearian writes for Computerworld