Products of the Year 2004:

Storage networking equipment

Gold Award:

Brocade SilkWorm 48000 Director

There are two not necessarily complementary trends tugging at the data center: High-volume transaction processing apps such as ERP and data warehousing are becoming the lifeblood of modern corporations, and the storage fabrics that support those apps are becoming more complex. Complexity plus speed can often add up to disaster. Brocade Communications Systems Inc.'s SilkWorm 48000 Director packs a bunch of technologies specifically designed to manage increased SAN complexity, and to deliver the performance and resiliency critical apps need.

The SilkWorm 48000 Director is a powerful, flexible switch that scales nondisruptively from 32 to as many as 384 concurrently active 4Gb/sec full-duplex ports in a single domain. It supports Fibre Channel routing, Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP) and iSCSI, and is the traffic-routing cop for fabrics capable of supporting thousands of hosts and storage devices. The director supports ultra high-availability requirements with redundant, hot-pluggable components, no single points of failure and nondisruptive software upgrades. Further adding to the SAN's resiliency, the SilkWorm 48000 Director's ports can be dedicated to specific applications with N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV), which supports multiple logical partitions on servers.

The SilkWorm 48000 can integrate with heterogeneous environments, including IBM mainframes and open platforms with multiple OSes such as Windows, Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, AIX and i5/OS. These capabilities make it ideal for managing enterprise storage apps such as backup, remote mirroring and high-availability clustering. Most of our judges agree with one panelist who says the Brocade SilkWorm 48000 Director "covers all the bases eloquently."

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