XIOtech Becomes Cisco SAN Channel Partner

The SAN array vendor also introduced the Magnitude 3D Edge, an entry-level version of its Magnitude 3D array. The Magnitude 3D Edge is aimed at departments, first-time SAN buyers and disaster recovery sites.

With the Cisco agreement XIOtech, of Eden Prairie, Minn., joins EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi Data Systems and IBM as providers of Cisco's storage switches to the channel.

Unlike most vendors, Cisco does not have a solution provider program for its storage sales. Instead the company relies on its OSM, or OEM storage manufacturer partners, to generate sales through their own direct and indirect channels.

Rebel Brown, executive vice president of strategy and corporate development at XIOtech, said Cisco had planned to concentrate its sales on its four original partners. "But our own sales reps and their sales reps work together so often they asked us to join their program," she said.

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XIOtech sells via direct sales, solution providers and OEMs, said Brown. The company plans to bring the Cisco switches to its channel partners, as well as target Cisco's network switch solution providers with its Magnitude arrays, she said.

Brown claimed XIOtech's arrays are lower priced and easier to install than arrays from Cisco's other OSM partners, giving the company an advantage when working with Cisco's SAN switches.

"Others can try to work with Cisco partners," she said. "But someone who has not done storage before will find it hard to work with [EMC's] Clariion or similar arrays. I can train them quicker with the Magnitude 3D Edge. Also, the other OSMs target the big VARs. We can target VARs without the expertise, and help Cisco increase its market."

The company's new Magnitude 3D Edge array starts with a capacity less than 200 Gbytes, but can scale to four nodes and up to 128 Tbytes of data, allowing the SAN to grow as the customer grows, said Brown.

The array is designed to be run by an IT generalist or Microsoft Exchange administrator, who can be trained in less than one day, Brown said. "You don't need a storage specialist or a PhD from EMC," she said.

The Magnitude 3D Edge includes dynamic virtual linking, which allows one array at a remote site to be used as a disaster recovery unit for another. With such an arrangement, the remote site can be up and running within a few minutes of the primary array failing, said Brown. "I can't call it non-stop," she said. "It probably takes five minutes to fail over to the remote site. But that's better than five hours or more [for other vendors' arrays]."

Entry-level list price for the Magnitude 3D Edge with 500 Gbytes of capacity, one controller, and capability to be clustered with multiple units, is less than $50,000. It is expected to ship by the end of the month.