Brocade Connects Data Centers, Adds FCoE Blade

Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD) is adding to its DCX Backbone family with new blades for spanning data centers and adding FCoE connectivity.

The Brocade FX8-24 Extension Blade connects two or more data centers to improve business continuity and disaster recovery, while the Brocade FCoE 10-24 Blade offers Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) capabilities for server I/O consolidation in the data center.

The data storage and Ethernet switch vendor is also offering the new 7800 Extension Switch for small data centers and remote offices, while the Brocade 8000 FCoE/CEE switch gets 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) connectivity.

The FX8-24 Extension Blade for the DCX Backbone offers twelve 8Gbps Fibre Channel ports, ten 1GbE ports, and up to two optional 10GbE ports. Customers can add up to two FX8-24 blades in a DCX or DCX-4S Backbone and can double the aggregate bandwidth to 40Gbps by activating the optional 10GbE ports.

The platform also introduces FCIP Trunking, which offers FCIP tunnels with up to 10Gbps bandwidth using 10GbE ports and 4Gbps using 1GbE ports, with full failover and load balancing capabilities. Other new features include Adaptive Rate Limiting, FCIP Quality of Service (QoS) and improved compression.

The new 7800 Extension Switch offers the same functionality as the Brocade FX8-24 Extension Blade, but as a fixed-configuration switch, for point-to-point disk replication in smaller open systems environments. It uses IP wide-area network (WAN) transport to extend open systems and mainframe storage applications over extended distances, and provides as many as sixteen 8Gbps Fibre Channel ports and six 1GbE ports.

Both extension products — the 7800 and FX8-24 — will be available through EMC (NYSE: EMC), Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) and HP (NYSE: HPQ).

FCoE on the Way

The new Brocade FCoE 10-24 blade is part of a unified solution that includes the Brocade 1010/1020 Converged Network Adapters (CNAs) and centralized management.

Brocade says the blade uses the multi-protocol architecture of the DCX Backbone to deliver a high-density, end-of-row option for consolidating server I/O connectivity. The blade features twenty-four 10Gbps CEE ports. Storage traffic is delivered to the storage area network (SAN) through 8Gbps Fibre Channel blades in the DCX Backbone chassis.

The top-of-rack 8000 switch can now be initially deployed as a 10GbE Layer 2 Ethernet switch by activating only the CEE ports. For SAN connectivity in the future, customers can add an optional license to activate the Fibre Channel ports and FCoE capabilities.

The FCoE 10-24 Blade will be available through EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, HP and NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP).

Brocade also unveiled Data Center Fabric Manager (DCFM) Professional Plus for mid-sized organizations and departments. And DCFM version 10.3 offers new FCIP management capabilities and broader management of CEE/FCoE and virtualized server environments.

Brocade officials Truls Myklebust and Bill Dunmire said customers are still in a testing phase with FCoE, and they expect users to begin adopting the storage and IP network convergence technology next year.

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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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