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Brocade Busts Out Upgrades

Brocade, under increasing pressure from Cisco in the storage networking space, will take the wraps off new Director blades, software enhancements, and file services at its analyst day in New York tomorrow. (See Brocade Intros Solutions.)

On the hardware side, the vendor is unveiling the FC4-48 blade for its SilkWorm 48000 Director, which comes with 48 4-Gbit/s ports, 16 more than Brocade's previous high-end blade module, the FC4-32. The blade pushes the Director's port density up from 256 ports to 384.

The move is a clear shot across the bows of Cisco, which is making significant inroads into the storage networking space, recently claiming pole position in the director switch market, according to market research firm the Dell'Oro Group. (See Cisco's First in Directors, Dell'Oro Says.) With the FC4-48, however, Brocade will leapfrog the 336 ports offered by Cisco's midrange MDS 9509 Director.

"The key for customers is the increased density on the blade," says Brian Garrett, an analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). "The two places where this comes in useful are on bandwidth intensive applications, like backup, and in connections between switches and a [storage] fabric," he adds, explaining that users can now group more switches together.

Following Brocade's recent acquisition of McData, Cisco is now the only other major player in the switch space. (See Cisco Reports Q4, Cisco Goes 4-Gig & Big, and EMC Certifies Cisco Director.) Last week, Cisco used its own analyst day to underline its storage ambitions and outline plans for new switch technology. (See Cisco Sets Sights on Switches.)

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