Brocade broadens outlook to midsize businesses

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Corporate storage vendor Brocade is following the lead of rivals such as Acer and HP, attempting to sell more stock into medium-size businesses with up to 25 servers.

Corporate storage vendor Brocade is following the lead of rivals such as Acer and HP, attempting to sell more stock into medium-size businesses with up to 25 servers.

Jay Kidd, a US-based vice-president and CTO at Brocade Communications, said the company was making more products aimed at enterprises and SMBs. However, the actual targets were businesses with at least 100 or 150 staff rather than smaller companies, he said.

'By SMB, I mean companies that have more than about 25 devices, including servers [rather than clients],' Kidd said.

Traditionally, SAN has been seen as an enterprise-grade offering. However, other storage vendors, such as Acer, have in recent years announced their intentions to sell SAN technology to smaller companies.

'We are now moving to a broader set of customers. [Previously] SAN was too bulky and expensive,' Kidd said.

He said that switching costs had come down and SANs were now simpler to deploy. Customers didn't need to have high-level experience on board to get a system working, Kidd claimed.

Brocade has added a multi-protocol router and multi-protocol SAN routing services for fibre channel, FCIP tunnelling and iSCSI gateways. The company claims its SilkWorm multi-protocol router is the first open, intelligent switching platform for hosting multi-protocol routing services and storage management applications in SANs.

Various services can be integrated into a central platform, a feature that Brocade claimed gave more flexibility. The services help with SAN island consolidation and multiple network extension.

'It's a challenge to tie all those elements together,' Kidd said. 'Any server can see any piece of storage capacity. There's nobody out there who has produced a device that links fibre channel to storage networks.'

He said that SANs had been linked over IP networks but not fibre channel to SAN.

'We are working with our storage OEM partners ... and then moving with our local channel partners all over the world,' Kidd said.

Graham Schultz, partner manager at Brocade in Australia, said that Brocade only used one distributor in Australia -– storage VAD Lynx Technology –- and had no plans to add others. The new products would be available immediately through Lynx, he said.

Brocade has also added eight-port and 16-port SAN switches –- SilkWorm 3250 and 3850 –- which should better suit smaller organisations. Both switches could be upgraded and used as building blocks in larger networks, the company said.

The vendor has also added a data centre-class switch –- the SilkWorm 24000 Director. It is a bladed box supporting up to 128 2Gb/s full duplex ports, and fibre channel or FICON protocols. IP protocols can be supported by adding blades, the company said.

 

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