Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Brocade Seeds 4-Gbit Fibre Channel Market

Brocade Communications Systems Inc. Monday unveiled new hardware and software in its SilkWorm line of Fibre Channel switches for storage area networks (SANs).

The vendor introduced the SilkWorm 4100, a 4 gigabit-per-second for midrange storage applications in branch offices or departments of larger enterprises. The new switch comes in 16-, 24- and 32-port configurations and Brocade said the ports are all auto-sensing for data link speeds of 1, 2 or 4 Gbits per second.

Using a new Brocade-designed ASIC, the SilkWorm 4100 supports an aggregate bandwidth of 256 Gbits per second in the 32-port configuration. The new ASIC also supports trunking for up to eight ports per trunk group and full-duplex trunk data rates as high as 32 Gbits per second between switches. Brocade also said that the 4-gigabit technology helps reduce the cost of SAN infrastructure by supporting twice the number of servers on each port as more widely deployed 2-gigabit switches.

"They're really working to make things simpler, which is a really big issue-customers need simplification," said Randy Kerns, senior partner with the Evaluator Group, Greenwood Village, Colo. "The big deal about 4-Gbit [Fibre Channel] is that if drive manufacturers switch over, it will drive down the cost of components. So the transition to 4-Gbit is not so much a performance issue as it is a matter of getting new, least-cost solutions.

Looking at the broader market, new 4-Gbit Fibre Channel equipment is expected to begin permeating storage networks by mid-2005; prices in general are expected to be under $500 port.

  • 1