Brocade Breaks Out Storage-on-Demand Switches

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In a sign of how vendors in the storage arena are aligning their products to fit utility computing schemas, Brocade Communications Systems unveiled two new switches with flexible power and pricing structures Wednesday.

The storage switch maker designed the SilkWorm 3250 and 3850, code-named “Dazzler,” for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), but with a distinct twist, according to Tom Buiocchi, vice president of customer marketing at Brocade.

“We’re really trying to drive the living daylights out of cost. This is pay-as-you-go for the customer — not per port but per functionality.”

Tom Buiocchi, Brocade

These switches are capable of scaling up or down in accordance with the needs of users, the executive says, and extend enterprise-level features to the entry-level for the first time by Brocade. Pricing is contingent on how much functionality is used with regard to the switches.

The new hardware is a departure for a company that already sells entry-level, mid-range, and enterprise-class switches, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise, Buiocchi told After all, driven by customer demand for greater flexibility and control over their IT infrastructure, major systems vendors are tweaking their portfolios to become more utility computing-friendly.

Utility or on-demand computing, in which systems are updated with intelligent software automatically with little human intervention, is the popular strategy du jour. Buiocchi reports customers have been asking for solutions that correspond with such environments, which is purely what is driving San Jose, Calif.-based Brocade.

The new switches are characterized by added intelligence in the fabric that facilitates data migration and replication, volume management, provisioning, and improved fabric connectivity to accommodate on-demand environments.

Brocade competes with Cisco Systems and McDATA to provide next-generation intelligent switches, which consist
of software to help route information more efficiently and adapt to changes in a network, as opposed to more traditional “dumb” switches that require
additional software to carry out instructions.

Brocade enjoys roughly a 66 percent market share in the low- to mid-range switch sector and now has the advantage of offering switches with flexible
functionality and price points.

Brocade SilkWorm 3250

Brocade SilkWorm 3250

Buiocchi says customers are asking Brocade to drive cost and complexity down in storage area networks (SANs) , which consist of multiple,
disparate devices. They’re also asking for easier setup capabilities, typically because IT staffs in the SMB space are limited in scope.

“We’re really trying to drive the living daylights out of cost,” emphasizes Buiocchi. “This is pay-as-you-go for the customer — not per port but per

Because Brocade allows its products to be sold through original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as HP and EMC, the company doesn’t list price points.
However, Buiocchi says the new SilkWorms are the company’s least expensive switches and will be priced according to “license keys” that allow
customers to pay according to the power and functionality they use.

Measuring 1 unit high, the 3250 and 3280 devices are available in 8- or 16-port configurations, respectively, and house version 4.2 of the Brocade
device operating system. In fact, Brocade uses the same operating code from its entry-level to high-end enterprises.

Story courtesy of Internet News.

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Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor and a senior writer for covering IT leadership, the CIO role, and digital transformation.

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