At the VMworld 2011 conference, Brocade rolled out a subscription-based acquisition option that allows customers to acquire network capacity on demand as required by fluctuating business demands. Brocade Network Subscription is optimized to address cloud-based IT environments, Brocade says.
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Brocade Network Subscription is designed to allow customers to scale capacity up and down according to actual network utilization with no capital outlay. Customers pay for their network infrastructure on a monthly basis, and can return equipment to Brocade when capacity demands are not as high.
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Network Subscription is not a managed infrastructure-as-a-service offering; essentially, it's an option for customers who need more flexible procurement, lease or rental alternatives to control network capital expenses or who have tight budget constraints.
"It's more like financing or leasing equipment but you can terminate capacity if you don't need it," says Joe Pucciarelli, program director of technology financial and executive strategies at IDC. "It's an open ended rental option."
It maps to cloud IT infrastructures where capacity peaks and valleys are more volatile and load requirement is much less predictable, Pucciarelli says. Customers can subscribe for additional capacity to meet peaks and then step down capacity as those peaks diminish.
Citing IDC data, Brocade says public and private clouds will become a $1.4 billion market this year.
Pucciarelli says other major IT vendors and Brocade competitors, like Cisco, IBM and HP, offer similar procurement options but they may come with strings attached, like unattractive fees if network capacity needs to be reduced or equipment returned.
"They don't allow for interim adjustments," Pucciarelli says. "If they do, there are a lot of fees involved."
Brocade Network Subscription is available now for Brocade's IP/Ethernet networking products, including the new VDX line of switches. Service provider Rackspace Hosting, with more than 140,000 customers worldwide, is already using Network Subscription, Brocade says.
Brocade Network Subscription includes Essential Support from Brocade Global Services.
Introducing VDX Ethernet switches
The new VDX switches, meanwhile, include the Brocade VDX 6730 and the VDX 6710. The 6730 is a 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch designed to protect existing SAN infrastructure investments by bridging Brocade-based Ethernet fabrics to Fibre Channel SAN fabrics. It can be deployed as a traditional Ethernet switch in the access and aggregation layers, and supports 24-60 1/10GbE SFP+ Data Center Bridging (DCB)-compliant Ethernet ports, and 8-16 8Gbps Fiber Channel ports.
The 6710 is a high-density, 1/10GbE switch designed to provide a low-cost entry point for Brocade fabric technology by enabling 1GbE servers to connect to Ethernet fabrics as well as traditional data center LAN deployments.
Both switches are available this quarter. Brocade did not disclose pricing.
Separately, Brocade said its CloudPlex architecture is progressing, with endorsements from Dell, EMC, Fujitsu, HDS and VMware. And the preconfigured CloudPlex Virtual Compute Blocks, which are designed to simplify the deployment of distributed and virtualized data centers, will be available to VARs globally through distributor Avnet.
Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.