Computer network equipment maker Brocade is introducing a first-to-market line of 16Gbps Fibre Channel switches and other equipment as it contends that Fibre Channel is going to be the dominant switching technology in cloud environments. The product announcements continue Brocade's strategy of developing Ethernet fabric networks for optimum performance, resiliency and efficiency. Brocade made the announcements at a Brocade Technology Day Summit Tuesday at its headquarters in San Jose, Calif.
The new products include the following:
- Brocade DCX 8510 Backbone, which offers 384 16Gbps ports or 512 8Gbps ports, 8.2 terabits per second (Tbps) of bandwidth, and advanced automation, diagnostics and monitoring for ease of management
- Brocade 6510 Switch, which offers 48 Fibre Channel ports that can be configured to run at 2/4/8/16Gbps, 768Gbps of aggregated bandwidth, and 40 percent better performance than comparably priced 10Gbps ports
- Brocade 1860 Fabric Adapter, a universal adapter for all Fibre Channel and Ethernet connections to network interface cards and host bus adapters; reduces capital and operating expenses over today's 10Gbps NICs
- Brocade Fabric OS 7.0 operating system
The adapter release is "very significant," says Gartner analyst Sergis Mushell, because it's a first-ever technology to tie together all the different elements of a network fabric. He describes the fact that the 16Gbps switches will be available for the price of existing 10Gbps switches as "earth-shattering."
Brocade is emphasizing Fibre Channel connectivity because it's the preferred method of linking virtual servers to storage. According to Forrester Research, 76 percent of IT professionals surveyed say they use Fibre Channel, versus just 36 percent who use Network File System (NFS) and 23 percent who use iSCSI.
"Fibre Channel has proven to be the connectivity of choice in virtualized data centers today, and our customers are consistently telling us that they want Fibre Channel--its scalability, its reliability, its performance properties--as they further virtualize and extend out the cloud architectures," says Jason Nolet, VP of data center and enterprise networking at Brocade.
Ethernet fabrics are a more efficient network architecture than tiered networks that are based on the Spanning Tree Protocol. On a fabric network, all the switches are aware of each other and data has multiple paths to choose from.