Brocade Weaves Tapestry For Server Provisioning

The San Jose, Calif.-based vendor, one of the top Fibre Channel SAN switch vendors, introduced its Tapestry family of server provisioning tools and wide-area file services (WAFS) technology, said Tom Buiocchi, vice president of marketing.

The Tapestry Application Resource Manager uses technology that Brocade acquired when it bought Therion Software in a $9.3 million deal last month. It allows bare servers or server blades to be pointed to a server image stored on the SAN. The server is then booted from that image, and within a few minutes is running the appropriate applications, Buiocchi said.

If the user needs that server to run a new server image, it can be reprovisioned just as quickly, Buiocchi said. "It's a very quick, scalable way to get servers up and running," he said.

Solution providers welcomed Brocade's foray beyond storage but reserved judgment on whether the new tools would differentiate the company in the market.

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Dhruv Gulati, executive vice president of Lilien Systems, Mill Valley, Calif., called Brocade's Tapestry Application Resource Manager intriguing.

"Other technologies allow automated server provisioning, but not from the SAN," Gulati said. "Whether this differentiates Brocade, we'll see."

Also new is Tapestry WAFS, based on technology from Tacit Networks, in which Brocade invested about $7.5 million for a minority stake last month.

Tapestry WAFS is Brocade's first solution to deal with the serving of files over WANs as opposed to its traditional block-based technology, Buiocchi said. The appliance speeds the transfer of files from branch offices to remote offices over a WAN to near LAN speeds, he said.

WAFS technology will be increasingly important as customers look to improve the quality of service to branch offices without having IT people in each office, Gulati said. "They want to cut costs and centralize the management," he said.

Brocade last week also unveiled its SilkWorm 48000 4-Gbps Fibre Channel Director and SilkWorm 200E, an entry-level 4-Gbps switch with either eight or 16 ports, Buiocchi said. The products are now in OEM qualifications and are expected to be available to the channel by this fall.

Brocade's recent moves follow those of Cisco Systems, which last month paid $70 million to acquire WAFS technology developer FineGround Networks and which last year introduced a WAFS appliance from its earlier acquisition of Actona. In addition, Juniper Networks in April acquired Peribit Networks, a WAN optimization appliance maker, and Redline Networks, an application acceleration device vendor, for a combined cost of $469 million.