By Heidi Biggar
Last month, McData introduced the FabricReady Partner program and a new FabricPak Solution, with the goal of accelerating adoption of storage area networks (SANs). Known for its data-center-class Fibre Channel Dir-ectors and switches, the company says these announcements tie in with its long-term plans to compete in the NT consolidation market.
"We're extending our presence from high-end data centers into the NT arena," says Jeff Vogel, vice president of marketing and systems integration at McData. According to IDC (www.idc.com), the total Fibre Chan-nel market is expected to hit $2.4 billion by 2002, with a CAGR of 67% and 66% in low-end and midrange markets, respectively.
The purpose of the FabricReady Partner program is twofold: to ensure application-level compatibility and to provide tested, interoperable SAN configurations. "We're seeing a lot of plug-and-play interoperability, but companies are looking for end-to-end solutions," says Vogel. Product qualification takes place at McData's systems integration lab in Broomfield, CO, into which the company has pumped some $5.5 million just in interoperability testing.
The program also includes professional and educational services, as well as FabricReady Services in the form of FabricPaks. Most recently, McData teamed with Veritas Software to bring a LAN-free backup and tape consolidation package to market. The FabricPak combines Veritas' Netbackup 3.2 and Shared Storage Option with a SAN infrastructure. McData also offers a FabricPak for NT and Sun storage consolidation.
Current endorsees of the FabricReady Partner program include Agilent Tech-nologies, Chaparral Networks, Comp-arex, Emulex, Hitachi Data Systems, JNI, Pathlight Technology, Sterling Software, and Veritas Software.
FabricReady services and packages are available through various channels, including VARs and systems integrators. As part of its overall indirect sales strategy, McData last month also signed up IBM to resell its Enterprise ED-5000 Director.