Brocade Extends Cloud-Optimized SAN Leadership

Brocade (Nasdaq: BRCD), the leader in fabric-based data center networking solutions, is continuing to innovate and gain market leadership for its award-winning family of Fibre Channel SAN fabric solutions based on the new 16 Gbps Fibre Channel standard. The company today announced a new entry-level Fibre Channel SAN switch, the Brocade® 6505 Switch, to broaden its full suite of next-generation SAN switches and backbones. This new addition further increases customer choice and flexibility for data center consolidation, expansion and refresh projects. In addition, Brocade has added new, industry-first virtualization functionality between Brocade adapters and switches to simplify server deployment and management.

Brocade also announced IBM as its first OEM partner to offer 16 Gbps Fibre Channel embedded switches and adapters, as well as stand-alone network adapters, for IBM servers. Specifically, IBM is making available a new Brocade custom embedded 16 Gbps SAN switch and mezzanine card for its recently announced IBM Flex System x240 Compute Node, a key component of the new IBM PureSystems. In addition, Brocade stand-up 16 Gbps HBAs are now available for integration with IBM System x in rack and tower form factors.

Fabric-based networks are a fundamental requirement in supporting highly virtualized data centers and private cloud environments, and are a critical element of the Brocade One™ strategy for providing low-latency, non-stop and easy-to-operate networks. Today, Fibre Channel is the de-facto standard for storage networking in the data center and Brocade is leading the industry’s transition to the next wave of storage architectures based on the 16 Gbps Fibre Channel standard.

Introducing the Brocade 6505 SAN Switch

Further extending its time-to-market lead over competitors, the company introduced the entry-level Brocade 6505 Switch, which provides exceptional price/performance value and enterprise-class functionality. It is configurable in 12 or 24 ports and supports 2, 4, 8 or 16 Gbps speeds in an efficiently designed 1U package. The Brocade 6505 joins other members of the Brocade SAN family, which includes the Brocade 6510 Switch, configurable between 24 and 48 ports, and the Brocade DCX® 8510 Backbone, available in 4- and 8-slot configurations.

Because of unprecedented storage needs, more enterprises are now deploying cloud and virtualization in their data centers. As a result, demand for Fibre Channel storage technology is increasing, along with acceleration in the adoption of 16 Gbps-based SAN products. Unique features of Brocade SAN solutions that customers are realizing immediate value from include second-generation inter-chassis links that enable flatter, faster, and simpler fabrics with fewer cables that increase consolidation, while reducing network complexity and costs. In addition, a new port type, Diagnostic Ports (D_Ports), enables administrators to quickly identify and isolate optics and cable problems, significantly reducing fabric deployment and diagnostic times.

According to the Dell’Oro Group1, “Both FC switch revenue and port shipments reached record levels in 4Q11. FC switch revenue increased 13% Q/Q to $509 M on 1.8 M ports shipped. Looking closer at FC switch revenue, we see that growth was broad-based, and came from both modular and fixed switches. Brocade saw a 15% Q/Q increase in FC switch revenue, as it continued to ramp its 16 Gbps switches.”

Extending Cloud-Optimized SAN Functionality to IBM Servers

Brocade is also extending the benefits of its Fibre Channel backbone and switch products to its adapter family, which provides unique benefits to organizations deploying an all-Brocade SAN fabric. New enhancements to Brocade adapters include dynamic fabric provisioning, which virtualizes connections between the Brocade adapters and switches to simplify server deployment and reconfiguration.

Simplified deployments are achieved by automating time-intensive processes and dependencies between storage and server administrators when installing new or replacement equipment or moving devices within a switch. Brocade adapters now also feature the Brocade Diagnostic Ports capability, previously offered only on switches, so administrators can quickly identify and isolate problems for optics and cables.

In addition, IBM is now offering OEM versions of Brocade embedded switches and mezzanine HBAs based on the 16 Gbps Fibre Channel standard for integration with the new IBM Flex System x240 Compute Node, a high-performance server that offers outstanding performance for virtualization with new levels of CPU performance, memory capacity, and flexible configuration options. IBM also recently launched single- and dual-port Brocade 16 Gbps stand-up HBAs for IBM System x rack and tower servers.

The Brocade embedded switch and mezzanine HBA improve performance by eliminating over-subscription and lowering costs by reducing the number of required external ports, optics, cables and power. They also provide investment protection by supporting increased virtual machine densities and next-generation technologies such as solid state storage arrays.

The Brocade embedded switches offer up to 48 ports and support 4, 8 or 16 Gbps performance. They easily connect IBM Flex System blade servers to the SAN fabric to allow unmatched reliability, flexibility and optimized performance for cloud applications. The mezzanine adapter (dual-port) support 8 or 16 Gbps speeds and the stand-up adapters (single- and dual-port) support 2, 4, 8 or 16 Gbps speeds, with each port capable of 500,000 IOPS.

Availability and Pricing

The new Brocade 6505 Switch and upgraded capabilities for extending SAN fabric benefits to servers are available now through Brocade channel and OEM partners, including EMC, Fujitsu, HP, HDS, and NetApp. For pricing information, please contact these Brocade partners. Brocade embedded switches and mezzanine adapters for integration into IBM Flex System blade servers will be available in May and Fibre Channel HBAs for IBM System x rack and tower servers are available now. For pricing information, please contact IBM at