Brocade Intros New Entry 16-Gbit Fibre Channel Switch

The introduction comes after Brocade reported record quarterly revenue for Fibre Channel equipment in its most recent fiscal quarter.

Indeed, Redwood City, Calif.-based analyst firm Dell'Oro Group reported in February that fourth quarter 2011 Fibre Channel switch and adapter revenue topped $691 million. Both Brocade and rival Cisco had record Fibre Channel switch revenue during the quarter, Dell'Oro reported.

[Related: Industry Catching On To Fibre Channel Over Ethernet ]

The total potential market for Fibre Channel has also never been stronger, said Scott Shimomura, product marketing manager for data center SANs at Brocade.

Sponsored post

"This points to the health of the Fibre Channel market overall," Shimomura said.

The new Brocade 6505 Fibre Channel switch is a 1U-high unit which can be configured for 12 or 24 ports supporting 2-Gb, 4-Gb, 8-Gb, and 16-Gb speeds, Shimomura said.

Fibre Channel switches featuring 16-Gb-per-second performance have been in the market for about a year, with Brocade previously introducing a model featuring up to 48 ports. Emulex has already introduced 16-Gb Fibre Channel host bus adaptors, and QLogic is expected to do so in the near future, Shimomura said.

However, customers are not necessarily purchasing 16-Gb Fibre Channel for the speed. Instead, they are using them to configure larger Fibre Channel fabrics, allowing for fewer chassis and cables than with the older, less powerful gear, he said.

The new 6505 Fibre Channel switches include Brocade's dynamic fabric provisioning, a recent update to the company's software that makes it easier for data centers to provision storage to go with new or replacement servers, Shimomura said.

Traditionally, when connecting new servers and storage together over a network, the server administrator needs to wait for the storage to get connected while the storage administrator needs to wait for the server to get connected, he said.

"This is time consuming," he said. "With dynamic fabric provisioning, we've virtualized the virtual world wide name so the storage can be provisioned before the server is attached. Then, as the server gets installed, it's associated with the virtual name of the physical server."

Shimomura said Brocade's new embedded 16-Gb Fibre Channel switch, which targets OEM server vendors, is coming to market as part of IBM's new PureSystems converged infrastructure platform.