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Hitachi backs Cisco storage gear

Hitachi Data Systems tentatively agrees to sell Cisco Systems' newest line of high-end switches--potentially giving some momentum to the products.

Hitachi Data Systems has tentatively agreed to sell Cisco Systems' newest line of high-end switches.

The Hitachi subsidiary said Tuesday that it has completed hardware interoperability testing between its storage products and Cisco MDS 9509 Multilayer Director, Cisco's MDS 9216 Multilayer Fabric Switch, and other related modules. Cisco's MDS 9000 high-end switches are designed to connect storage systems to servers in special-purpose storage area networks (SANs) that are separate from computer networks.

This deal, as well as one IBM recently signed with Cisco, potentially gives some momentum to the new Cisco products, which are designed to compete with those from rivals already established in the storage networking market.

Hitachi said it signed a nonbinding letter of intent to resell and support the Cisco MDS 9000 line of products as part of its portfolio of SAN switches. When the terms of the agreement are final, Hitachi said it will service and support the MDS 9000 line for its customers.

Storage makers are increasingly building systems to handle the data storage needs of large companies over their computer networks. Earlier this month, EMC unveiled its Symmetrix Direct Matrix Architecture system, which is designed to give companies access to data more quickly than previous Symmetrix products.