Brocade ships midrange backbone switch

By Kevin Komiega

-- Brocade is bringing the features and functions of its enterprise DCX Backbone switch into the midrange with the launch of the Brocade DCX-4S Backbone, a smaller version of its flagship platform for core and edge storage networking applications.

The Brocade DCX-4S scales to 192 ports at up to 8Gbps Fibre Channel speeds through four modular blade slots – versus the 384- port DCX Backbone, which began shipping last year.

The DCX-4S Backbone switch runs the recently released Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) 6.2 operating system, including a new Virtual Fabrics capability that allows users to partition physical SANs into logical fabrics. The DCX-4S also offers high-speed fabric-based encryption of data on disk or tape, as well as integration with key management products, including the newly supported HP StorageWorks Secure Key Manager.

In an effort to future-proof the platform, the DCX-4S is capable of supporting the same emerging networking protocols for converged fabrics as its larger DCX counterpart. Its multi-protocol architecture supports emerging Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) through the addition of a blade.

The DCX-4S can be managed using Brocade's Data Center Fabric Manager (DCFM) Enterprise or Professional edition software to provide unified, end-to-end management of data center fabrics – from storage ports on networked storage systems to host bus adapters (HBAs) attached to physical or virtualized servers. Users can continue to use Brocade Fabric Manager or ECFM to manage their backbone environment.

Brocade is positioning the DCX-4S as a flexible switch that can be deployed as a core backbone solution in medium-sized network environments or as a network edge switch in large data centers. The DCX-4S can also connect to Brocade B-Series or M-Series network environments.

"Enterprise customers are trying to achieve high levels of consolidation to drive out costs. They're consolidating SAN fabrics, but still need faster access to information. Couple that with the growth of data and they need a powerful core platform," says Bill Dunmire, senior product marketing manager at Brocade. "The DCX platform enables consolidation with 8Gbps Fibre Channel speeds without oversubscription, and allows users to manage fewer resources."

The DCX-4S is available from Brocade, Hewlett-Packard and Sun. Pricing has not been disclosed and will be set by Brocade's partners.

In addition to the DCX-4S launch, Brocade also announced a new deal with IBM under which Big Blue will now offer Brocade's 8Gbps Fibre Channel HBAs as an option for IBM System x servers.

Related articles:
Brocade offers new fabric monitoring service
Brocade outlines FCoE plans
Brocade debuts file virtualization box

This article was originally published on January 27, 2009