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SilkWorm moves up-market

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Brocade has added a clutch of new firmware features to its Fibre Channel switches, including SAN security and scripting tools to automate repetitive tasks. Its director-class SilkWorm 12000 switch also gains high-availability features and FICON support for mainframe connectivity.

The security features are built into a new release of the SilkWorm firmware but require a licence key to activate, said Jay Kidd, Brocade's product management veep. He added that it uses digital certificates, encryption and strong authentication to prevent unauthorised changes or access to the SAN fabric.

The firmware is part of what Brocade calls its Fabric Operating Environment. Other elements of this include the ability to run applications within the SAN fabric via the FAP intelligent switch technology acquired by Brocade from Rhapsody Networks, new switch management tools, and a developer's kit enabling users to create management scripts and applications using languages such as PERL.

On the high-end SilkWorm 12000, the new firmware adds high-availability features such as the ability to perform future firmware upgrades without taking the switch offline. It also allows a switch to support both FICON and Fibre Channel on a port by port basis.

Kidd said the 12000 will also support both iSCSI and FCIP once the company completes work on a blade version of the FAP that will slot into the switch. He expects Brocade's OEMs to release the new firmware to users by May. ®

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