It's selling it but it's not recommending it, or something like that; EMC appears to be playing an odd game with the certification of McData's i10000 director. In January, 2005 Chuck Hollis, an EMC VP for platforms marketing, said: "EMC will offer this new technology from McData as the EMC Connectrix ED-10000M backbone director.

An EMC Connectrix data sheet includes the ED-10000M, stating: "The Connectrix M series product line includes the ED-10000M."

Typically EMC announces the 'general availability' of its products. It's done this for a Brocade director but not the McData i10K. In October it announced 'The new Connectrix ED-48000B Fibre Channel enterprise director and the ports-on-demand scalability of the Connectrix DS-220B Fibre Channel storage area network (SAN) switch, based on Brocade technology, are available today.'

So EMC can't be satisfied with the i10K.

But it lists the i10K as an EMC E-Lab-tested product, with a date of March 2005. Lest you think that this is just basic 'connect the wires and see if it works' testing, EMC states: "We conduct the industry's most comprehensive testing, and we stand by everything we qualify—no disclaimers, no exceptions. Only networked storage connectivity products that have passed our most rigorous testing are eligible to carry the "EMC E-Lab Tested" logo."

No disclaimers, no exceptions.... well, except that McData thinks that EMC hasn't really fulfilled its promise to ship it as the ED-10000M backbone director.

This reluctance by EMC is harming McData. Commenting on the preliminary third quarter fiscal year 2005 results, John Kelley, McData's chairman, president and CEO, said, "We experienced a shortfall related to products and services primarily in North America, and to a lesser extent in Europe, ... Also impacting revenue and earnings during the quarter was lower than expected sales of our Intrepid 10000 director product. We attribute the lower than expected sales to more pronounced seasonality at the high-end of the market and to the competitive environment. In addition, while our largest storage OEM, EMC, continues to ship the Intrepid 10000 to customers, they have not yet announced general availability (GA) of the product."

EMC brands and ships Cisco SAN networking gear and Cisco resells EMC NAS gear. EMC brands and ships Brocade switches and directors. Both Hitachi Data Systems and IBM have certified the i10K.

Why is there this disconnect with McData and the i10K?

What is quite, quite odd, is that Kelley appears not to know why EMC is demurring at making the ED-10000M generally available. This indicates that all may not be rosy in the EMC McData relationship area. When a supplier blames a major channel customer for slow sales of a product because of a delayed general availability then we are entitled, I think, to wonder exactly what is going on.