Brocade branches out

By Dave Simpson

Brocade recently signaled its intention to move beyond its switch and director focus with two announcements that fall under the new Tapestry product line umbrella, including the following:

  • The Tapestry WAFS (wide area file services) solution, which is the result of an OEM agreement with Tacit Networks (see “Brocade partners with Tacit for WAFS,” InfoStor, June 2005, p. 10). Unlike most other WAFS appliances, Tacit’s software is based on Windows. The x86-based appliances feature asynchronous write-back cache and provide LAN-like CIFS/NFS file-transfer performance over WANs, enabling companies to consolidate data and resources from remote facilities into centralized data centers; and
  • The Tapestry Application Resource Manager (ARM) software, which is the result of Brocade’s $9.3 million acquisition of Therion Software in May.

The ARM software is in beta, with production shipments expected in early fall, according to Tom Buiocchi, vice president of worldwide marketing and services at Brocade. Marking Brocade’s foray beyond its storage-centric roots, ARM allows systems and application administrators to dynamically provision and activate servers, software (operating system images, device drivers, etc.), and related applications from a SAN-based platform-Brocade’s Fabric Application Platform, an intelligent switch that Brocade gained from its acquisition of Rhapsody Networks. In addition, the ARM software automatically manages inter-relationships between application resources. The ARM bundle also includes software that runs on a PC server-based out-of-band management console.

Brocade officials claim that the ARM software reduces the time it takes to provision application resources from hours to minutes.

(Former Microsoft and Veritas employees formed Therion Software about a year ago. Brocade was one of the private investors in the company.)

Brocade’s branching out comes at a time of stagnating revenues in the SAN switching market (the Dell’Oro Group research firm predicts 10% growth in 2005) and market share losses to Cisco.

Brocade also recently announced OEM shipments of two new 4Gbps Fibre Channel switches-the entry-level 8-, 12-, or 16-port SilkWorm 200E and the 256-port director-class SilkWorm 48000, which includes support for FICON. The 48000 director is the same size/format as the 2Gbps SilkWorm 24000, but has twice the speed and twice the density via double-density 16- and 32-port blades.

The company also introduced 4Gbps blades that can be added to the SilkWorm 24000. (Brocade was first to market with 4Gbps switches late last year with the introduction of the 16- to 32-port SilkWorm 4100.)

End-user shipments of the 4Gbps switches and directors are expected later this year, after Brocade’s OEMs complete qualification testing.

This article was originally published on July 01, 2005