Working its way downmarket, Cisco Systems Inc has begun OEMing a low-end SAN switch from QLogic Corp.
The box is a 20-port 4Gbit Fibre Channel device, which will be branded as the Cisco MDS 9020. Cisco already sells 20-port FC switches of that size, but has made little headway at this end of the market because of its high prices.
QLogic’s gear usually carries prices of around $200 per port. Although Qlogic and Cisco will both see lower margins on the OEM’ed gear, the deal will still increase Cisco’s – and indirectly QLogic’s – market share at the expense of McData Corp and Brocade Communications Systems Inc.
QLogic’s standalone switches are all stacking switches that incorporate a 10Gbit backplane which allows multiple switches to be linked together without needing to use any of the front end 4Gbit ports. The box that Cisco is OEM’ing will not incorporate this technology.