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Brocade's New 10Gb Switch And CNA For IBM BladeCenter

Brocade has announced that it is the first vendor to release an embedded 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) switch module and Converged Network Adapter (CNA) for IBM BladeCenter server environments. Customer benefits include a reduction of 50 percent switches and adapters while preserving RAS features and 50 percent fewer managed nodes (switches and adapters). There are also 50 percent fewer cables, lower power and cooling costs, and ten times the performance and lossless converged networks. It is 100 percent standards-based and interoperable with current products.

The Brocade 8470 Switch Module for IBM BladeCenter with both DCB and Fibre Channel ports provides customers with multi-protocol support that consolidates IP and Fibre Channel I/O needs into a single switch. Together with the Brocade 1007 CNA for IBM BladeCenter, customers have the flexibility to provision SAN and/or LAN connectivity on demand using the Dynamic Ports on Demand (DPoD) feature.

While George Crump, lead analyst, Storage Switzerland LLC, calls this development a logical progression down the data center path, this does make the IBM blade offering more compelling over that of competitors like HP and Dell. "It allows them a lot of flexibility on what the next level of network interface will be," Crump says. He adds that the networking market is on the precipice of change and blades that don't allow this flexibility "are at a disadvantage."

Crump says that "this type of announcement really moves the discussion beyond the blade. It's no longer just about the blade, but what it connects into." Offering customers flexibility is essential because nobody knows what that infrastructure is going to be yet. "Competitors are going to have to respond with integration efforts that provide similar levels of functionality. Brocade agrees that its raised the bar for the competition." The 8470 provides 8x10Gb DCB user ports and 8x8Gb FC user ports on the faceplate and 14x10GbE backplane ports. With the DPoD feature, customers can start with as few as 16 ports and enable up to 30 ports when needed.

According to new data from Dell'Oro Group (Ethernet Switch Quarterly Report), we are in the beginning of the most significant network upgrade ever in the data center. "Features such as... the ability to combine Ethernet and Fibre Channel, are becoming standards in data center designs," said Alan Weckel, director of Ethernet switch market research