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Brocade IP storage switching adds Ethernet support

Brocade goes deeper into IP storage switching, adding Ethernet support to its FC extension switch and management to its VDX 6740.

Brocade continued to build out its IP storage portfolio, adding Ethernet support to its Fibre Channel-based 7840 extension switch and software management to the Brocade IP storage VDX 6740 switch that EMC resells.

The company made its first move into IP storage in February when it launched the VDX 6740 storage switch as part of the company's Ethernet platform. EMC sells the VDX 6740 under the Connectrix brand that EMC uses for its switching products. The VDX 6740 is available for EMC NAS and iSCSI storage platforms, including VMAX, VNX, Isilon and XtremIO.

The Brocade VDX 6740 switch is also supported by EMC Connectrix Manager Converged Network Edition and EMC Storage Analytics.

The Brocade Network Advisor provides network visibility across all storage networks that include IP and Fibre Channel.

"They have come to realize that [Fibre Channel] is not where the future lies," Ashish Nadkarni, IDC's research director with the storage practice, said of Brocade. "They have to diversify. They have put in a lot of effort to optimize the switches for storage traffic."

The 7840 Brocade IP Extension Switch originally was built for Fibre Channel networks. It has now been redesigned to support both IP storage and Fibre Channel networks. The 7840 offers high-speed performance for replication between two data centers over long distances. This switch has been optimized for 30 Gbps application throughput, and Brocade added 256-bit IPsec encryption.

Scott Shimomura, Brocade's director of storage networking, said Brocade is taking its Fibre Channel expertise and extending it to IP storage management to avoid complications that arise in deploying and managing IP storage between network and storage administrators.

The new versions of their storage management software suite have been enhanced to support the Brocade IP storage portfolio. The Brocade Network Advisor provides network visibility across all storage networks that include IP and Fibre Channel. It is a unified management dashboard that displays critical metrics such as real-time historical data and performs root-cause analysis. Statistics are viewed through graphs and correlated trends.

Brocade's Fabric Vision technology for the VDX 6740 and 7840 provides policy-based network management, monitoring and alerting. The technology allows IT storage administrators to deploy a high-performance storage network and automatically provision network capacity without involving the network administrators.

"The Fabric Vision technology is about designing network management for storage administrators, so they don't have to go through a learning curve to understand IP network," said Scott Sinclair, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. "You put together predefined policy rules. It's all about visibility and actionable insights. You put together predefined policy rules to speed up storage deployments."

Next Steps

Brocade and EMC push a dedicated IP storage switch

Brocade's FC SAN gets an upgrade

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