CNT will next week announce the first fruits of its merger with Inrange, in the shape of a 256-port Fibre Channel/FICON director with integrated metropolitan and wide area network (MAN/WAN) capabilities.

The device is an update of Inrange's FC/9000 director that includes an FCIP blade. FCIP is the protocol which CNT uses to interconnect Fibre Channel SANs over IP networks, and adding it to the FC/9000 means that SANs can be linked without the need for separate WAN bridges, such as CNT's Ultranet.

"The migration to SANs also means a keen need for MANs and dark fibre, and for WANs," said Tom Hudson, CNT's CEO. The FC/9000 already included MAN capability, he said.

He added that CNT will continue to offer Ultranet as a way of linking other vendors' SAN products over WANs, though he admitted that the Inrange deal will affect the amount of business CNT does with competitors such as McDATA.

"The Inrange acquisition makes us one of the largest storage providers in the world," Hudson said. "We are now the only company with both a 256-port director and WAN products."