Making a choice

With much in common, including pricing (see "The high cost of high-end switches," below), the most important director selection criteria are which platform fits best into your existing infrastructure and which vendor's strategy aligns more closely with your roadmap.

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The high cost of high-end switches

Platform

Price

Brocade DCX Backbone with eight 48-port 8 Gbps blades and full redundant configuration

$628,000

Cisco MDS 9513 with eight 48-port 8 Gbps blades and full redundant configuration

$593,000

Brocade DCX-4S with four 48-port 8 Gbps blades and full redundant configuration

$328,000

Cisco MDS 9506 with four 48-port 8 Gbps and full redundant configuration

$320,000

(List prices provided by Brocade/Cisco reseller)

"We chose Brocade directors mainly because we already had McData and Brocade departmental switches and our staff was familiar with managing them. The DCX performance was icing on the cake," said Michael Kilmer, primary storage administrator at Daktronics Inc., a leading manufacturer of large format display systems in Brookings, S.D.

"The fact that we are an all-Cisco shop as well as the VSAN feature were the main reasons we went with the MDS 9500 platform," explained Colleen Rhode, systems analyst at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C.

For Keith E. Moore, director of technology services at Bellevue, Wash.-based Applied Discovery Inc., a division of LexisNexis, scalability and features were the decisive factors for selecting Brocade. "One of the reasons Applied Discovery chose Brocade is that Brocade is known to handle heavy traffic while sustaining wire speed. Our Cisco FC network consistently had performance issues under heavy load," Moore said.

This was first published in June 2009

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