IBM deal boosts Cisco storage gear

Big Blue has signed a deal to sell a new line of storage networking gear from Cisco Systems, the companies are expected to announce.

IBM has signed a deal to sell a new line of storage networking gear from Cisco Systems, the companies plan to announce Tuesday.

IBM will sell Cisco's MDS 9000 line of high-end switches, which connect storage systems to servers in special-purpose "storage area networks" (SANs) separate from usual computer networks. The deal is a boost for the freshly introduced Cisco products, which take on equipment from rivals better established in the storage networking market.

The Cisco switch, like models from competitors including Brocade Communications, McData and Inrange Technologies, is certified to work with IBM's Enterprise Storage System ("Shark"), its midrange FastT systems and its tape systems.

Most of Cisco's business is tied to networking equipment that uses TCP/IP networking, the technology the Internet uses. But through its acquisition of Andiamo, Cisco obtained high-end networking products that can use the Fibre Channel networking standard used in SANs (storage area networks) .

Cisco's New Venture Group initially set up Andiamo, recruiting Cisco and other employees in 2000. The company acquired Andiamo in August 2002.

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