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Brocade Loads Code, Signs EMC

One year after it first shipped the SilkWorm 12000, Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) is finally providing high-availability (HA!) features that will make the switch a "director-class" product. Better late than never?

Two critical HA features -- nondisruptive code load and nondisruptive processor failover -- are part of a broader upgrade to the Fabric Operating System firmware Brocade is announcing at its user conference in Las Vegas this week (see Brocade Upgrades Fabric OS).

"This removes the last remaining objection anyone might have to the 12000 being a director-class product," says Derek Granath, Brocade's director of product marketing.

In a separate announcement, EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) today said it plans to deploy its storage management applications on the switch platform developed by Rhapsody Networks, which Brocade acquired last fall. EMC says it has been working with the Rhapsody switch in its labs for about a year, and expects to ship a 16-port version of the product in the second half of 2003 (see EMC OEMs Brocade's Rhapsody Switch).

So what does EMC plan to do with the Rhapsody switch, which Brocade has renamed the SilkWorm Fabric Application Platform? It's not completely clear. Paul Ross, director of storage network marketing at EMC, says that the software it's developing for the Rhapsody switch will provide "new capabilities" in three general areas: storage presentation, i.e., presenting logical unit number (LUNs) and aggregating storage arrays; dynamic routing and traffic management (at the LUN level, not packet level); and data classification, which includes enhanced security and enhanced data management functions.

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