Brocade Gets BIG Ideas And Rolls Out New Product Lineup

The San Jose, Calif.-based supplier of SAN switches—which until recently had been plagued by gains made in the storage networking market by archrival Cisco Systems and by SEC investigations—is trying to regain its SAN leadership with a series of products aimed at building 4-Gbps SAN infrastructures, as well as its first iSCSI appliance.

The new products demonstrate the recovery of Brocade from recent difficulties, said Mario Blandini, product marketing manager.

“Two years ago, analysts said that iSCSI is the future, and that Brocade will not be around much longer,” Blandini said. “Well, we had our best quarter ever last quarter. Now is the time to expand in this space.” Brocade this week will unveil the SilkWorm 4900 Fibre Channel switch, which Hugues Meyrath, director of product marketing, called the industry’s fastest Fibre Channel switch. The SilkWorm 4900 can be configured with 32, 48 or 64 Fibre Channel ports and operates at 4 Gbps, he said.

The company also is going BIG with the Brocade iSCSI Gateway, an appliance that sits between a LAN and a Fibre Channel SAN. It has two Gigabit Ethernet ports to connect to servers or LANs, and two Fibre Channel ports for connecting to the SAN.

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“It’s good for up to 100 servers in companies that typically have a small SAN and many servers that are not connected to the SAN,” Meyrath said.

Also new this week is a 4-Gbps Fibre Channel/IP routing blade for the company’s SilkWorm 4800 director and a rack-mount Fibre Channel/IP router.

Dan Carson, vice president of marketing and business development at Open Systems Solutions, a Willow Grove, Pa.-based storage solution provider, said he expects there to be a lot of interest in the BIG appliance from customers looking to marry Fibre Channel to their LANs. “This lets them leverage their current investments,” he said.

“The market is ready for the 4900,” Carson said. “Configurations of 24, 32 and 64 ports are in the sweet spot of where we sell switches. We don’t sell eight-port Fibre Channel switches because most companies putting in SANs are hooking up at least four or five servers.”

Brocade’s new products are available starting this week. The company did not disclose prices.