Brocade makes SANs smarter

Company builds out resource management, switch, and services offerings

To serve the continuing deployment of corporate SANs, Brocade plans to announce this week new application resource management products, additions to its SilkWorm 4Gbps switches, and professional service and support to meet growing enterprise needs.

Brocade is hardly the only one. McData recently acquired Computer Network Technology (CNT) in part to acquire CNT’s director technology to better compete with Brocade. CNT shareholders approved the acquisition on May 24.

As enterprises consolidate their networks and increase storage demands, they are shifting toward higher-density switches and increased port capacities, a key target of Brocade’s new products, said John Carvell, SAN analyst at Dell’Oro Group. “Companies that serve this market, such as Brocade and McData, are seeing strong growth because customers need more intelligence in their SANs,” Carvell said.

The new Brocade Tapestry ARM (Application Resource Manager) family is aimed at the application infrastructure. ARM runs on Brocade’s Intelligent Application Platform, a network appliance, managing servers, software images, related application resources, and storage provisioning. “It allows our customers to provision or reprovision a server in minutes instead of hours,” said Raj Das, product marketing director at Brocade.

Brocade will also introduce the Tapestry WAFS (Wide Area Files Services), which offers high-performance remote file access from a branch office to a central datacenter. The Tapestry WAFS is an appliance that sits at the datacenter and near the remote site to provide data management and to help successfully complete remote backups.

Brocade also announced the release of new 4Gbps SAN switch and director platforms to OEM partners such as EMC and IBM. The SilkWorm 48000 is the new high end of the line and supports as many as 256 ports. At the low end, Brocade announced the SilkWorm 200E, an eight- to 16-port switch targeted at entry and departmental SANs.

The three new services Brocade will announce are Enterprise Support, which provides direct access to technical resources; Enterprise Supplemental Support, which augments existing support contracts from system providers; and Onsite Resident Engineer Staffing for hands-on management, design, and operational expertise.