According to industry publication "Byte and Switch," Cisco Systems and Network Appliance (NetApp) are codeveloping a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device. "Byte and Switch" sources said that the two companies are in the early stages of developing a NAS blade for Cisco's MDS 9500 series of Fibre Channel switches. Cisco's strategy for becoming a bigger player in the storage market has been to partner with other companies. Last summer, Cisco announced plans to acquire storage networking company Andiamo Systems to increase its product offerings.
Cisco and NetApp's collaboration would include developing a file services card for the MDS 9500 chassis-based switches to provide access to back-end storage through NFS and Common Internet File System (CIFS) protocols. The product isn't expected to be available until the end of 2003 and will be licensed to third parties, rather than sold directly by Cisco. According to an industry observer quoted by "Byte and Switch," the partnership "would be consistent with Cisco's statement that they would not enter the NAS market 'directly.' That doesn't rule out a partnership blade."