It looks as though thousands of seminars, articles and impassioned pleas may have become worthless with the announcement that McData and Network Appliance have partnered to help companies run mixed NAS and SAN storage systems.

All it took was a tough time in the market and suddenly, as if by magic, the ideal system was born: interoperable products for both storage area networks (SANs) and network-attached storage (NASs).

This means existing systems can be run together and the full variety of storage equipment can be attached wherever it’s needed. This will be cheaper for companies over time and provide welcome new business for struggling storage companies.

This means you will be able to back-up information on one storage system by running it through the other, depending on what you fancy. So, a central point for storage with all the added security and control that represents. Plus, of course, life becomes easier for sysadmins, resources and money are saved by removing any duplication in the existing system.

Here’s what the top men had to say about it in their press release.

Mike Gustafson, McData vice president: "McDATA's multi-capable storage networking solutions help companies reduce their management costs, provide growth-ready infrastructure flexibility and ensure data availability. Combine those benefits with the NetApp partnership to add value and drive cost savings through this joint solution and customers have compelling reasons to unify their storage networks."

Mark Santora, NetApp vice president: "Network Appliance pioneered unified storage with the introduction of our FAS900 systems in October of 2002, and we are pleased that partners such as McData and customers have embraced our approach so enthusiastically."

Meanwhile McData also plans to bring out ‘fast-path’ technology in its switches by the second half of 2004, according to storage expert and Techworld contributor Brian Betts. Rather than processing traffic on a server, McData’s new switches will allow data to go straight through the switch, increasing data transmission speeds.