Brocade Combines IP, SAN Network Management

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Brocade is prepping the launch of a single management platform that combines the company’s IronView Network Manager (INM) and Brocade Data Center Fabric Manager (DCFM) applications into a unified management tool for SAN and IP networks.

Announced today and available in November, the Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD) Network Advisor (BNA) provides a one-stop-shop for all management functions spanning Brocade’s Fibre Channel SANs, IP networks, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), wireless and Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) networks.

The BNA offers lifecycle management capabilities, including configuration, monitoring, management and reporting across the entire Brocade networking portfolio from a single GUI.

The platform boasts role-based access controls, network monitoring, traffic analysis, fault isolation, change management and policy-driven remedial actions. It is also capable of optimizing application traffic and performance to manage service level agreements (SLAs) via end-to-end network monitoring, automation and policy management.

In addition, BNA supports configuration of quality of service (QoS) on a per-host or a per-virtual machine (VM) basis.

The BNA provides out-of-the-box integration with a range of server, storage and virtualization management platforms, including VMware vCenter, Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM), IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center (TPC) and IBM Systems Director.

Ajay Nilaver, director of product management, said the company will be offering an upgrade path for existing Brocade INM and DCFM customers, including migration guides, training material and education courses to facilitate the transition to the new product.

Brocade plans to announce licensing options for Brocade Network Advisor upon release. In addition to featuring a complimentary management option for smaller networks, BNA will be available as a full-featured 75-day evaluation copy.

Brocade began integrating its Ethernet and Fibre Channel gear earlier this year when it announced the Brocade One architecture. The aim of which is the integration of all of the company’s operating systems and management tools.

Nilaver called BNA a single management framework for “all things Brocade” – an important milestone as the company continues to cross-sell its Foundry Networks and Brocade SAN products.

“Since we announced [Brocade One], a lot of customers have expressed interest in the notion of being able to manage all of these infrastructure types,” he said. “The overlap between Brocade and Foundry customers was minimal at the time of the Foundry acquisition 18 months ago. Since then, we have done a lot of cross-selling as existing Foundry customers have bought into our SAN portfolio and vice versa.”

As part of Brocade One, the company introduced Brocade Virtual Cluster Switching, a software technology that collapses the access and aggregation layers of the network to create a masterless and distributed control plane.

Brocade VCS is said to continuously synchronizes state, status and configuration information between nodes to enable converged fabrics to be self-forming, auto-healing and self-configuring – think VM metadata, network and storage policies.

Also new is the Brocade Virtual Access Layer (VAL), a logical layer between the Brocade converged fabric and server virtualization hypervisors. The VAL maintains a consistent interface and set of services for VMs connected to the network.

One thing is clear, Brocade One is the company’s direct response to the Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) coalition’s Vblock initiative. Brocade and its partners are prepping what the company calls Brocade Open Virtual Compute Blocks – tested and verified data center blueprints for VM deployments on converged fabrics.

The switching component of the Compute Blocks will be based on the Brocade 8000 FCoE Switch and blade (for the Brocade DCX Backbone), the Brocade NetIron MLX Series and Brocade Converged Network Adapters (CNAs).

The Brocade-based stacks are scheduled to be available by year’s end.

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Kevin Komiega
Kevin Komiega
Kevin Komiega is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor.

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