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Brocade Launches Fabric Vision, Outlines Future Products

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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There’s a new Fibre Channel solution, new SAN switch and new software from OpenStack

Today, US storage and networking specialist Brocade has launched Fabric Vision – an advanced Storage Area Network (SAN) technology capable of data transfer at a rate of 16 Gbps.

The company has also taken the wraps off Brocade 6520, which it calls the industry’s highest-density fixed port SAN switch, with 96 Fibre Channel ports squeezed into a 2U form factor.

In the same announcement, the company talked about the products based on the soon-to-be-ratified Generation 6 Fibre Channel Technology standard, and revealed details about the upcoming open source projects that it is involved with, as part of the OpenStack Foundation.

Generation gap

Fabric Vision is a combination of hardware and software that “dramatically simplifies SAN deployment and management” in the data centre. It transfers data at 16 Gbps – the highest speeds for today’s Fibre Channel technology.

vdx-8770-8-r-largeThe solution uses Brocade Fabric OS and Brocade Network Advisor, helping network administrators anticipate potential data bottlenecks or outages before they occur. Fabric Vision includes tools that allow administrators to identify, monitor and analyse specific application data flows without the need for third-party apps, as well as customizable health and performance dashboards, providing all critical information on just one screen.

The technology comes with advanced cable and optic diagnostic features, and is the crowning jewel of Brocade’s Generation 5 Fibre Channel portfolio.

But while announcing this up-to-date product, the company is also busy preparing for the future. The International Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) is about to finalise the standards for Gen 6 Fibre Channel technology, and Brocade hopes to be one of the first through the door with equipment offering 32 Gbps data transfer speeds. The company has already initiated research and development of the new generation storage networking.

Brocade 6520 SwitchBrocade has also introduced the 6520 Switch, which offers 96 Fibre Channel ports in a 2U box. The company says the density of the 6520 means fewer inter-switch links, fewer cables and fewer switches to manage, resulting in more reliable networks and lower costs.

“According to ESG’s 2013 IT Spending Survey, increasing use of server virtualisation technology continues to be a top priority. These highly virtualised and dynamic environments require greater levels of reliability and performance due to the increased impact that system failures can have on both revenue and productivity,” commented Bob Laliberte, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group.

“Leveraging the integrated advanced diagnostic and monitoring capabilities of Brocade Fabric Vision technology will enable organisations to retain control, simplify SAN management and improve availability for these mission-critical environments,” he added.

As a member of the OpenStack Foundation, Brocade is also involved with the Fibre Channel SAN Zone Manager, an open source tool that will be evaluated next month at the OpenStack Summit. Fibre Channel Volume Manager, another tool the company helped develop, will be included in the new OpenStack Grizzly software scheduled for release next month.

 

“Our customers run their most critical applications and store their most important data on Brocade Fibre Channel infrastructure to support highly visualised and emerging cloud-optimised data centres. They depend on Brocade to continue innovating and developing solutions that solve real-world problems today and that can adapt to evolving requirements into the future,” said Jason Nolet, vice president of the Data Centre Networking Group at Brocade.

 

Brocade 6520 Switch and Brocade Network Advisor 12.0 are available now. Some components of Brocade Fabric Vision technology are already on the market, while others are expected later in 2013 and beyond.

Below, you can see Nolet discuss the advantages of Fabric Vision technology.

 

 

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