Dell Turns to Brocade for Fibre Channel over Ethernet

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Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) has added another chapter to its emergence as a major data center and storage player with a new switch deal with Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD).

Dell will resell Brocade’s Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch offerings in addition to the Brocade Fibre Channel switches the company has been offering for a decade.

Dell will also offer Brocade’s CNAs and HBA in addition to its existing relationships with QLogic (NASDAQ: QLGC) and Emulex (NYSE: ELX).

The two also plan joint development efforts “around the management and virtualization of next-generation, efficient data centers,” Dell said in a press release. The two will “develop a dynamic infrastructure and optimization solution enabled by virtualization to allow customers [to] deploy and manage an efficient data center,” and “deliver integrated toolsets to manage application delivery and deployment as business services on highly reliable compute, network and storage infrastructure.”

Dell also announced a partnership with resource management firm Scalent to manage physical and virtual applications, networks and storage.

Dell’s moves will help it keep pace with the likes of IBM (NYSE: IBM), HP (NYSE: HPQ) and Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO), which stirred up the industry earlier this year with its Unified Computing System (UCS).

Dell has become a leader in iSCSI storage through its EqualLogic acquisition, moving beyond its longstanding partnership with EMC (NYSE: EMC). That would appear to make Dell a natural for FCoE, but the company has yet to announce native support for FCoE in its arrays, as NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP) did last month.

Larry Hart, Dell’s worldwide senior manager for storage and networking, said FCoE isn’t quite ready for wide-scale deployment yet, but he added, “Dell is a proponent of FCoE. We believe that Ethernet is going to become the data center fabric of the future.”

Dell will resell the Brocade 8000 FCoE Switch and DCX Backbone, along with Brocade Data Center Fabric Manager (DCFM) software. Dell will also rebrand the Brocade NetIron MLX Series Routers, BigIron RX Series Switches and ServerIron ADX Series Switches.

Dell also resells Cisco switches, including the MDS 9124 Fibre Channel and Nexus 5020 FCoE products.

Dell expects to make the new Brocade products generally available in December.

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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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