Brocade Sees 16-Gig in Fibre Channel’s Future

Brocade Communications (NASDAQ: BRCD) sees 16 Gigabit per second Fibre Channel coming — even as some data storage industry pundits say Fibre Channel over Ethernet could replace Fibre Channel (see Predicting the Future of Storage Technology).

Marty Lans, Brocade’s senior director of product marketing, said the company sees 16Gbps Fibre Channel arriving late next year, even though FCoE adoption is expected to be underway by then.

“We are absolutely committed to it,” said Lans. “We don’t see it getting lost in FCoE adoption.”

FCoE “has a long row to hoe in terms of adoption,” said Lans, who added that Brocade sees 16-gig FC “as strong or stronger than 8-gig.”

That said, Lans said Brocade is “very bullish” on FCoE; the storage and Ethernet switch maker just thinks it will take time and education to get there. He said some of the company’s competitors — namely Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) — “are driving adoption harder to fit into their architecture.”

With the financial services industry faltering, Lans said he doesn’t yet see an industry to lead FCoE adoption.

The occasion of Lans’ comments was, of all things, the company’s rollout today of an end-to-end FCoE and Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) solution at Storage Networking World in Orlando, Fla. The solution includes the new Brocade 8000 top-of-rack FCoE switch, 1010/1020 single-chip converged network adapters (CNAs) and unified management support for FC and FCoE through Brocade DCFM.

The 8000 switch includes 24 10GbE CEE ports and eight 8Gbps FC ports, and Brocade claims twice the FC bandwidth of competitive products. Future offerings will include DCX FCoE/CEE blades for non-disruptive scaling.

The CNAs come in single and dual-port versions, and offer what Brocade claims is an industry-best 500,000 IOPS per port. The adapters’ 64 I/O data queues per port make it ideal for VMware (NYSE: VMW) and other virtualization uses, the company says.

Asked if being late to the HBA market is making HBA and CNA adoption difficult, Lans said Brocade is qualifying with top storage vendors like IBM (NYSE: IBM), EMC (NYSE: EMC) and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS). “You’ll be seeing a lot of OEM success coming shortly,” he said.

And asked if the company could follow Cisco’s recent entry into the server market, Lans replied, “No. We believe there are more skills to building a server than just being a network vendor.”

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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