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Server-to-Server Networking

This will take place in Brocade's view across a 10Gbe CEE which is reliable (meaning loss-less), deterministic and has a low latency. It will deliver CEE blades for its DCX in 2H '09 and says it has secured tier 1 OEM design wins for its switch and adaptor with products appearing in 2009.

The applications for this networking are identified as the web, database, HPC - putting CEE firmly in contention with InfiniBand - and (server) tier-to-tier. Regarding InfiniBand, Brocade says it has poor manageability and thin industry support.

CEE is supported by 16 vendors committed to an open standard via the IEEE and IETF. It dismisses DCE (Data Center Ethernet) as a Cisco-trademarked term and expects it to be a proprietary implementation, not backwards-compatible either, meaning a fork-lift upgrade.

The CEE timetable is: 2010 - pre-standard CEE from start-ups; 2009 - standards completed and Brocade products introduced; 2010/11 - initial custmer trials and deployments.

Files

Brocade's strategy is now to provide more capablities to better manage file data in mixed file server and SharePoint environments. It has its existing StorageX (remote office file management) and File Insight (enterprise-wide file discovery) software products and is going to introduce a File Management Engine. This will provide:

  • A policy engine to automate file management tasks,
  • Compatibility with Microsoft server and networking technologies.
  • Content indexing and search powered by Microsoft's FAST
  • Open File Migration technology to enable the movement of active files at any time.
  • Brocade has to find a subtle niche here because its FC OEMs and channel partners, with their own filer and scale-out file storage products will prefer to have such functions carried out by their products and not by a Brocade box interposed between them and accessing servers.

    Brocade is trying to find a network or fabric-based file anagement/virtualization role that can be applied to its DCX and Data Center Fabric ideas where there is no help from WAD vendors or filer and scale-out filer vendors, hence the relationship with Microsoft.

    F5's Acopia-based technology will be competition here.

    The FME timeline is:

    2008 - File virtualization - Open Fie Migration - Policy Engine - Tiered storage enablement 2009 - SharePoint file services - Disaster Recovery for file servers and SharePoint 2009/2010 - Content-driven migration policies - File deduplication

    It has already mentioned dedulication in connection with WAN replication as a DCX service.

    In short, Brocade wants to provide unified file management across file servers and SharePoint.

    Summary

    Fibre Channel rules okay, and iSCSI isn't ging to knock it off its perch. Brocade is going for a linked HBA/FCOE adapter-to switch play to edge out its HBA/CNA competitors, Emulex and QLogic. It's going for an Ethernet-based server-to-server link and competing against InfiniBand, borne into the data center on its HPC chariot.

    Brocade isn't being turned over by Cisco in SANs, not at all, but it is finding it hard going in the file area with the FAN concept ditched and a File Management hardware product coming to try and combine file management for file servers and SharePoint.

    Copyright © 2008, Blocks & Files.com

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