Brocade ups the ante for iSCSI

By Kevin Komiega

Brocade recently unleashed eight storage networking hardware products, including an iSCSI blade for its director-class switch, revamped versions of three of the company’s Tapestry data management software products, and 10 new services in the area of SANs and file area networks (FANs).

At the high-end, Brocade boosted the port count of its SilkWorm 48000 director, added support for iSCSI, and enhanced interoperability between its own products and those from Cisco and McData (which Brocade is in the process of acquiring).

The SilkWorm 48000 director now supports up to 384 ports, which translates to a 50% increase in port density.

To accommodate end users with IP storage plans, Brocade added iSCSI support to the SilkWorm 48000 via a 16-port blade. The SilkWorm 48000 supports up to four of the iSCSI blades per chassis.

When Brocade announced its plan to acquire McData earlier this summer, some analysts believed the deal would allow the company to step up its iSCSI efforts and possibly accelerate end-user adoption of the technology.

“There are a number of factors at play that change the equation for iSCSI adoption,” says William Hurley, a senior analyst with the Data Mobility Group consulting firm. “Now that you can implement and manage iSCSI via blades, you can get director-class availability. Having that degree of resilience helps storage professionals get past the mental block of using Ethernet for storage access.”

Brocade also announced that its SilkWorm 7500 switch and SilkWorm 48000 director now support interoperability with McData SAN fabrics. Also new is the Brocade Access Gateway, a software enhancement for Brocade’s switch blades that uses virtualization for better interoperability with Cisco and McData SAN switches and directors.

In addition, Brocade enhanced its software offerings for SAN environments with a new release of its Data Migration Manager (DMM) software, which allows users to migrate data between SAN-based storage devices without application downtime. The company also announced an upgraded version of its Application Resource Manager (ARM) with support for iSCSI.

Brocade also upgraded its FAN portfolio, including improved data movement speeds for the Tapestry StorageX Version 5.8 software, enhanced disaster recovery and business continuity in Tapestry Wide Area File Services (WAFS) Version 3.0, and the integration of Tapestry File Lifecycle Manager (FLM) Version 3.5 with Network Appliance’s SnapLock software. (For more information on FANs, a term coined by the Taneja Group consulting firm, see “Welcome to the file area network,” InfoStor, August 2006, p. 28.)

Rounding out Brocade’s product blitz was the introduction of 10 professional services aimed at optimizing environments by simplifying migration and consolidation projects.

The new services also include programs for managing and optimizing file resources in a FAN, and a set of services to help customers optimize file storage resources, ensure business continuity, improve data security, and reduce administration and backup overhead.

This article was originally published on October 01, 2006