GOLD: Brocade SilkWorm 3200 & Storage magazine editors

The Brocade Silkworm 3200 got the gold because it's an excellent switch for companies starting to move from direct-attached storage (DAS) to entry-level SANs. The eight-port SilkWorm 3200 is priced right (around $1,000 a port) and offers the performance (2Gb/s) that meets the requirements of a small SAN.

The 3200 supports Windows NT/2000, Linux, and Unix server clustering applications. It replaces legacy hub or loop switch devices, provides a highly scalable backend for NAS devices and serves as a stepping stone to enterprise-wide SAN deployment. It's the right-sized switch for implementing departmental and workgroup SANs. As one industry analyst put it, "Products such as the SilkWorm 3200 move the [SAN] entry price point toward the equivalent points of Ethernet networks."

The SilkWorm 3200's low port count doesn't mean cut-rate features, either. Quite the contrary, it includes:

  • Automatic sensing and speed matching between 1Gb/s and 2Gb/s on a port-by-port basis;
  • Brocade management utilities like WebTools and Fabric Manager simplify switch management;
  • The ability to upgrade to a full fabric through a non-disruptive software license key;
  • Features such as Inter-Switch Link (ISL) trunking, frame filtering and hardware-enforced zoning offer a high degree of SAN security;
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