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Brocade ships 8 Gbit/s blades to OEMs

Adds McDataness to 48000 Director

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SNW Several storage vendors plan to dive into 8 Gbit/s Fibre Channel gear in 2008, but it looks like Brocade will be first in the pool.

The company announced that 8 Gbit/s blades for its 48000 Director have already shipped to OEMs for evaluation and will be available early next year. Brocade revealed the move today at Storage Networking World in Dallas.

Brocade says the transition from 4 to 8 Gbit/s is especially valuable for data centers with large virtual server environments — allowing for more virtual machines. The company also claims to satisfy performance demands for forthcoming LTO-5 tape drives.

However, one of the major factors slowing a shift from 4 Gbit/s hardware is cost. While the transition from 2 Gbit/s to 4 Gbit/s went over without a much of a premium price hike, the new move requires more expensive optics. There may also be a limited audience who actually need to upgrade from 4 Gbits at this point.

Meanwhile, Brocade's switch rival Cisco has been quiet about the whole 8 Gbit/s push. It can slot 8-gig line cards into the MDS 9500 Series switches, but hasn't said when the cards will ship.

McData legacy love

Brocade is also ramping up its effort to stop former McData customers from jumping ship.

The company announced today improved interoperability between the 48000 Director and legacy McData directors and switches. With an upgrade to the 48000's Fabric Operating System, the system can now connect natively to McData products.

The new capabilities are available now through Brocade OEM and channel partners as options to the 48000. Customers who already own the 48000 can add the features by upgrading their existing system. ®

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