Brocade Introduces ‘Utility’ Switches

In a sign of how vendors in the storage arena are aligning their
products to
fit utility computing schemas, Brocade Communications Systems unveiled two new switches with flexible power
and pricing structures Wednesday.

The storage switch maker designed the SilkWorm 3250 and 3850, code-named “Dazzler,” for
small-and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), but with a distinct twist,
according to Tom Buiocchi, vice president of customer marketing at

These switches are capable of scaling up or down in accordance with the
needs of users, the executive said, and extend enterprise-level
features to
the entry-level for the first time at Brocade. Pricing is contingent on
much functionality is used with regard to the switches.

The new hardware is a departure for a company that already sells
entry-level, midrange and enterprise-class switches but it shouldn’t
come as
a surprise, Buiocchi told After all, major
vendors are tweaking their portfolios to become more utility
computing-friendly driven by customer demand for greater flexibility
control over their IT infrastructure.

Utility or on-demand computing, in which systems are updated with
intelligent software automatically with little human intervention is
popular strategy of the du jour. Buiocchi said customers have
asking for solutions that correspond with such environments, which is
what is driving San Jose, Calif.’s, Brocade.

The new switches are characterized by added intelligence in the fabric
facilitates data migration and replication, volume management,
along with improved fabric connectivity to accommodate on-demand

Brocade competes with Cisco Systems and McData
to provide next-generation intelligent switches, which
of software to help route information more efficiently and adapt to
in a network, as opposed to more traditional “dumb” switches that
additional software to carry out instructions.

Brocade enjoys roughly a 66 percent market share in the low- to
switch sector and now has the advantage of offering switches with
functionality and price points.

Buiocchi said customers are asking Brocade to drive cost and complexity
in storage area networks (SANs), which consist of
disparate devices. They’re also asking for easier set-up capabilities,
typically because IT staffs are limited in scope in the SMB space.

“We’re really trying to drive the living daylights out of cost,”
said. “This is pay-as-you-go for the customer — not per port but per

Because Brocade allows its products to be sold through original
manufacturers such as HP and EMC, the company doesn’t list price
However, Buiocchi said the new SilkWorms are the company’s least
switches and will be priced according to “license keys” that allow
to pay according to the power and functionality they use.

Measuring 1 unit high, the 3250 and 3280 devices are available in 8 or
16-port configurations, respectively, and house version 4.2 of the
device operating system. In fact, Brocade uses the same operating code
its entry-level to high-end enterprises.

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