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Brocade Dazzler Starts Low

Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) has started the long-awaited rollout of its new product line with additions to its Silkworm switch family (see Brocade Offers New SMB Switches).

By first announcing the entry-level models code-named Dazzler, Brocade seems to confirm industry speculation that it's willing to compete mainly at the low end of the market, while leaving the high-end director switch space to Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA) -- for the time being, at least (see Brocade & McData's Paths Diverge).

Brocade's new 8-port and 16-port Silkworm switches are aimed at the small and medium-sized business (SMB) market, on which Brocade and a raft of other storage players have painted a bull's eye (see The Battle for Smallsville).

The announcement follows one by Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) last week, in which HP said it will OEM the new switches in its SAN system aimed at the low end (see HP Aims to Dazzle SMBs).

Brocade's new 2-Gbit/s switches come with basic management software. They are distinguished from Brocade's current low-end switches chiefly by a price reduction of at least 15 percent. Brocade also lets users pay to upgrade the entry-level switches by turning on more advanced features such as trunking, performance monitoring, and security, through license keys.

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