Brocade Ponders 2-Gbit/s Test

Announced its 2-Gbit/s switch today. But will it submit it for independent Byte and Switch tests?

October 23, 2001

2 Min Read
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Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) announced the general availability of its 2-Gbit/s Fibre Channel switch at the Storage Networking World conference here in Orlando today, and is considering whether to submit it for inclusion in the first multi-vendor test of such technology, which is currently being run by Byte and Switch.

The 16-port SilkWorm 3800 is the first product to support Brocade's Intelligent Fabric Services Architecture, announced in April 2001. This defines a new set of services to address storage security, trunking in order to aggregrate bandwidth, and detailed fabric management, such as content-based analysis, using a new technique called frame filtering. These features improve the performance of the SAN and increase application availability, Brocade officials claim.

The SilkWorm 3800 already has a toehold in the market. Brocade says it has shipped more than a thousand switches to OEM partners, including IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), SGI, Hitachi Data Systems, and StorageTek (NYSE: STK).

This all makes life very difficult for competitors such as Vixel Corp. (Nasdaq: VIXL), Gadzoox Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: ZOOX), and Inrange Technologies Corp.. These companies have been shipping 2-Gbit/s switches for months, but Brocade's dominance of the OEM market gives the 3800 a clear advantage.

The SilkWorm 3800 will cost 10 to 15 percent more than Brocade's 1-Gbit/s switch. Twice the performance for a 10 to 15 percent premium sounds like a bargain -- but it's worth noting that Brocade's competitor, Vixel, is undercutting the leader by selling its 2-Gbit/s switch for about half the amount.Byte and Switch has invited Brocade to submit its product for an independent benchmark evaluation, being carried out for this publication by Network Test Inc.

Early on in a briefing today with Byte and Switch reporters, senior Brocade officials made positive noises about submitting the 3800 for the test. However, Greg Reyes, CEO of Brocade, poured some cold water on the enthusiasm of his staff when he made a spectacular (if brief) entrance into the meeting. "We'll see," he said, "We're very busy," and promptly left the room.

Jo Maitland, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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