Brocade ships encryption switches

By Kevin Komiega

-- Brocade today announced a pair of new switching products equipped with security features that provide fabric-wide encryption for data "at-rest." The company also unveiled its long-awaited integrated fabric management platform that unites the capabilities of its McData Enterprise Fabric Connectivity Manager (EFCM) and Brocade Fabric Manager products.

The encryption switches are available in two flavors: the stand-alone Brocade Encryption Switch or the FS8-18 Encryption Blade for the company's DCX Backbone chassis.

Both models provide up to 96Gbps of encryption processing power and work with key management systems from several vendors, including NetApp's Lifetime Key Management and RSA Key Manager. Brocade also plans support for HP StorageWorks Secure Key Manager.

The stand-alone encryption switch is a 32-port, auto-sensing 8Gbps Fibre Channel switch, while the FS8-18 offers the same speeds and encryption services in a 16-port blade.

Both switches can be plugged into an existing network fabric without disruption or downtime, and they support a range of networked storage systems, virtual tape libraries (VTLs), and tape drives.

According to Jose Carreon, director of product marketing for Brocade Security Technologies, a fabric-based approach to encryption has a number of advantages versus deploying point products.

"Encrypting all data in the fabric is becoming more attractive to end users. Encryption has typically been deployed selectively, based on factors such as cost, complexity, and disruption penalties," says Carreon. "We're providing a central point of management for encrypting all data that moves through the SAN, with no performance impact to the fabric."

Carreon also says Brocade's server group will ship HBAs compatible with its encryption switches and blades within the next 12 months.

Pricing for the encryption switch and blade varies, but Carreon says a base configuration delivers up to 48Gbps of performance for about $100,000.

The encryption switches are managed and configured using Brocade's other new product -- the Data Center Fabric Manager (DCFM) 10.0, which is a unified storage network management application that manages the storage network from ports on networked storage systems to HBAs attached to physical or virtualized servers.

DCFM combines EFCM and Fabric Manager into a single platform for managing Brocade and McData fabrics. The system can manage Brocade's DCX backbones, directors, extension devices, and switches, and can monitor up to 24 multi-protocol fabrics at a time, supporting up to 9,000 fabric ports and 20,000 device ports. DCFM also performs real-time and historical performance monitoring.

"Consolidating ECFM and Fabric Manager into one platform allows users to manage all of our systems, both Brocade and McData, from a single pane of glass," says Doug Ingraham, Brocade's senior director of SAN product management. "The Data Center Fabric Manager can manage the entire switch infrastructure, as well as the HBAs in the data center, from one interface."

DCFM comes in two versions. DCFM Enterprise offers a non-disruptive upgrade for EFCM and Fabric Manager users with up to 9,000 fabric ports. DCFM Professional provides a subset of the enterprise version's features for organizations with smaller SAN environments of up to 1,000 ports in a single fabric.

Related articles:
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Brocade buys Foundry for $3 billion
Brocade delivers on data-center strategy

This article was originally published on September 22, 2008