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Brocade Wednesday unveiled a new data center strategy and a number of virtualization-centric products and services that converge data center operations onto the network with an eye toward limiting cost and complexity.
The overall strategy, called Brocade One, will bring Brocade into more direct competition with rivals Cisco, with its Unified Computing System, and Juniper, with its forthcoming, single-fabric Project Stratus.
It includes new converged fabric products, as well as new channel partner specializations, new support and consulting services, a diagnostic tool called Brocade Net Health, and a training and certification program to educate customers on Brocade's architecture.
The strategic goal, said John McHugh, Brocade's chief marketing officer, is to help customers reach the point where "the entire network is your data center."
Brocade's contention, McHugh said, is that there's a lot of talk around cloud, virtualization and convergence in the industry, but many key players aren't doing enough to simplify the actual architecture.
"These are words often used interchangeably, and perhaps incorrectly," said McHugh during a presentation at Brocade Technology Day in New York. "They're arbitrarily linked together to drive agendas with questionable motives. I see that in a lot of papers from competitors."
The reality of infrastructure evolution, McHugh said, often gets lost underneath all the cloud computing hype.
"Many of us are overpredicting the impact of convergence in the short term," McHugh argued. "Customers are still deploying architectures that are working and that they've been using for years. But virtualization is happening like wildfire, and so is its enablement of the cloud."
According to Brocade, the new offerings center on how to create virtual services out of physical data center components, managed through software instead of rip-and-replace, as simply as possible.
Among those new offerings is a Virtual Access Layer (VAL), which will provide quality-of-service on each virtual machine deployed and will support all major industry hypervisor vendors, from VMware to Microsoft.
Brocade Chief Technology Officer Dave Stevens noted that VAL will also support IEEE Edge Virtual Bridging standards such as VEPA within two years.
"The idea is that customers want to be able to take best-of-breed vendors and assemble them into highly scalable pods of virtual machines," he explained.