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Brocade Grabs Silverback

Brocade moved to strengthen its iSCSI capabilities today, picking up chip startup Silverback Systems. (See Brocade Buys SilverBack.)

Brocade did not disclose the acquisition price, but Silverback had $51 million in funding and has been developing 10-Gbit/s enhancements for its iSnap chip family. (See Silverback Hoists $16M.) Madhu Matta, director of Brocade's switch business team, says Silverback was generating revenue from OEM deals with Network Appliance, Montillio, and Qsan, but Brocade is more interested in the technology and engineering team than current products.

"As the data center starts evolving, it's starting to include protocols such as 10-Gig Ethernet," Matta says, "and this is our first step to acquiring that emerging technology."

Matta says he anticipates 10-GigE would propel iSCSI, although he's not sure how long it will take. "iSCSI hasn't really taken off to anybody's expectations. Will 10-GigE be the inflection point? One day when it's economically viable," he says. "This is a building block for us as we try to move into that space."

Brocade has a multiprotocol router with iSCSI and Fibre Channel connectivity, but Fibre Channel switches have dominated its business. Matta says Silverback has 38 employees -- mostly engineers. He expects Brocade to retain the engineers, as well as CEO Ahmet Houssein and Silverback's marketing staff.

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