Feeds

Brocade buys Rhapsody, braves OEM wrath

Tooling up for Cisco battle

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Brocade Communications Systems Inc has decided that it is better to arm itself for the forthcoming battle with Cisco Systems Inc than to worry about making its OEM partners unhappy, and has spent around $175m in a share-swap acquisition of smart-switch start-up Rhapsody Networks Inc,

Tim Stammers writes

.

Unlike the SAN switches currently sold by Brocade, the devices being developed by Rhapsody are part of a new breed of switch which can act as a platform for storage management applications. Rhapsody has already signed deals which will see its hardware run applications such as Veritas Software Corp's Volume Manager, and virtualization software from both StoreAge Networking Technologies Ltd and FalconStor Software Inc.

The move will bring Brocade into even more intense competition with Cisco next year, when the networking giant enters the storage networking market in earnest by shipping the first of a new range of Fibre Channel and iSCSI switches. Cisco's marketing muscle and reputation will make it a very serious competitor in the storage networking market.

With even high-end storage hardware being commoditized, disk array makers are stepping up their software efforts in order to shore up eroding profit margins. A move by customers towards smart network devices would reduce customers' reliance on that software which array makers supply to run on their hardware. Although Brocade is preparing to sell its products directly, a huge proportion of its current revenue comes via re-badged devices sold by array makers such as EMC Corp.

Brocade executives made several well-rehearsed references to this issue during the conference call held yesterday to announce the purchase of Rhapsody. "We wouldn't have proceeded with this plan unless we had received very positive encouragement from our OEM partners," said Greg Reyes, Brocade CEO. Cisco's first real assault on the storage network market which will begin this quarter and gather pace next year will also involve intelligent switches that will threaten array-makers software revenues. "That's why Brocade had to take this step, because OEM makers are looking for a trusted partner," Reyes said. He did not explain why OEMs should trust Brocade but not Cisco, but he labored the point. "We're committed to being the trusted OEM provider of fabric application platforms," he also said during the call.

Cisco's forthcoming mid-range and high-end SAN switches will be the first from the supplier that will be able to be configured purely as Fibre Channel devices, and unlike its current iSCSI to Fibre Channel bridges, will be able to sport very large numbers of ports. Among the first applications which will be hosted by these devices will almost certainly be Veritas' Volume Manager. Cisco was named as one of the first members of the program Veritas announced last year to see its software ported to smart switches and other devices.

Rhapsody was founded in 2000, and has around 110 employees. It will be operated as a separate unit of Brocade until it has completed "Mission One" - the shipping of its first product, prototypes of which have been delivered to OEMs. Brocade estimated that the first applications based on these platforms will be available from OEMs by the end of next year.

Rhapsody's technology is based on a different ASIC to that used by Brocade. Brocade - of course - insisted that this will represent no integration problems for itself or for its customers, and said that the API to Rhapsody's product will remain unchanged.

© Computerwire

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Pay to play: The hidden cost of software defined everything
Enter credit card details if you want that system you bought to actually be useful
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
HP busts out new ProLiant Gen9 servers
Think those are cool? Wait till you get a load of our racks
Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years
Did the earth move for you at VMworld – oh, OK. It just did. A lot
VMware's high-wire balancing act: EVO might drag us ALL down
Get it right, EMC, or there'll be STORAGE CIVIL WAR. Mark my words
Forrester says it's time to give up on physical storage arrays
The physical/virtual storage tipping point may just have arrived
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.