Brocade Builds on Foundry for Networking

Networking vendor Brocade is expanding beyond its traditional confines as a storage vendor to make its play in the broader networking market.

Brocade (NASDAQ:BRCD) today is announcing new switching and application delivery gear, which come as the result of its 2008 $3 billion acquisition of networking vendor Foundry.

The new networking gear is the first switching gear released under the Brocade name since the acquisition. Brocade’s expanded networking portfolio is geared toward taking on market leader Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) as an end-to-end networking play, by leveraging its strengths in storage across both datacenter and carrier networks.

Brocade recently made waves as it expanded its partnership with IBM to OEM its switching gear.

“The characteristics of a storage network are things like lossless networking and what we’re doing is bringing the characteristics of lossless networking throughout the entire network,” Marty Lans, senior director of product marketing at Brocade told

There are three new product platforms that Brocade is rolling out to deliver on its networking vision. The TurboIron 24X is a new top of rack 10GbE (gigabit Ethernet) switching platform with 24 ports in a 1U form factor.

The Brocade FastIron CX switching platform is a new Power over Ethernet (PoE) platform with up to 48 ports and the ability to delivery up 30 watts of power per port. Brocade is making use of the new PoE Plus standard to achieve the power delivery. Erik Pounds, product marketing manager for the FastIron CX Series at Brocade, noted that in general he has seen an increasing use of PoE adoption over the last several years.

Pounds commented that where the PoE demand is coming from is 802.11n wireless access point delivery. With PoE, a wireless access point can be deployed without the need for a physical electrical outlet to be nearby. The Ethernet cable provides both data and power connectivity.

Application delivery

In the application delivery space, Brocade is introducing the new ServerIron ADX Series Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs). The ADX can provide up to 70Gbps of application throughput and can fit in either high volume enterprise or carrier networks.

The ADX is all about moving enterprise applications faster and more securely.

One of the ways that Brocade is making the ADX secure is with the used of dedicated FPGA (field-programmable gate array) silicon that adds additional processing power for security.

John Harcourt, product marketing manager for the ServerIron ADX Series at Brocade explained that the ADX is able to do process isolation, such that application delivery can be isolated to meet compliance and auditing requirements like Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX).

One thing the ADX does not do is application acceleration. That’s an area where Brocade leans on its partner Blue Coat. Harcourt noted that the two vendors work together with Blue Coat’ providing perimeter security and caching, which when combined with the ADX provides a best of breed solution.

Brocade is now also working on merging its underlying network operating system into a single branch. Networking vendor Juniper Networks is one of the chief advocates of having a single operating system across its networking gear, which is an approach that Brocade is also taking.

Nadeem Zahid, senior product marketing manager at Brocade, explained that they now use a home grown operating system called IronWare OS.

“It is our own innovation all the way from the kernel level. It’s about ten years worth of effort at this point and it is running across forty plus Foundry products,” Zahid said. “There are three trains right now and we’re marching toward a core convergence in the coming year.”

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