Products of the Year 2006:

Networking equipment

Silver Award:

Brocade DCX Backbone

The Brocade DCX Backbone network switching platform allows administrators to consolidate servers and SAN switches, while increasing application service levels and energy efficiency. One networking category judge calls it an "evolutionary upgrade" for the networking market.

Introduced in January 2008, the DCX Backbone provides 8 Gbps throughput, which allows broader server virtualization, data center consolidation, and energy and overhead cost savings.

Each DCX Backbone operates up to 384 ports. The eight-blade slot features 256 Gbps of throughput, which means the Backbone can deliver up to 3 Tbps of chassis bandwidth. Inter-chassis link ports can connect two DCX Backbones to deliver 6 Tbps of dual-chassis bandwidth. One judge calls it "crazy fast."

It received the highest performance marks in the networking category, with the judges commending it for functionality and ease of use.

Blade slots can be used to provide 10 Gbps FC connectivity, FCIP SAN extension and fabric-based applications; they can also support 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) protocols, which simplifies LAN and SAN server connections.

The DCX Backbone uses less than .5 watts per Gbps, which the company says makes it 10 times more efficient than competitive products.

The network infrastructure environment can be administered with the new Data Center Fabric Manager application, and it's compatible with Brocade's B-Series and M-Series components. Brocade says DCX Backbone pricing begins in the low six figures and varies by configuration, software licensing and support options.

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