Emulex, Brocade Target SMBs

Storage vendors just can’t seem to get enough of the small and medium-sized business (SMB) market.

Emulex and Brocade Communications pushed further into the SMB space this week by expanding their partnership to simplify the deployment of storage area networks (SANs).

As part of the agreement, Brocade and Emulex will develop what they claim is an industry first multi-vendor SAN management wizard. The tool will integrate the installation and management of Emulex HBAs and Brocade SilkWorm switches into a single interface.

The partnership is the latest push by storage networking vendors into the SMB space. With the enterprise data center market saturated, vendors have moved down market with products targeted at SMBs, hoping to win them over to Fibre Channel technology.

Emulex executive vice president of worldwide marketing Mike Smith points out that the low-cost volume server market represents about 80% of all servers sold, with the majority of those servers still operating within a direct-attached storage environment. “We believe the opportunity for simple, entry-level Fibre Channel-based SANs is significant,” he says.

Emulex and Brocade have also launched Fibre Channel SAN connectivity products to help SMBs more easily deploy SANs and manage rapid data growth. The two also plan to expand their data center partnership to target departmental SANs and other applications throughout the corporate infrastructure.

The expanded partnership came about as a result of a three-year litigation standstill agreement from a lawsuit left over from Emulex’s acquisition of Vixel last year.

Emulex Aims Low With New SAN Switches

Emulex has also followed HBA competitor QLogic into the SAN switch space with storage switches targeted at SMBs, and IBM has agreed to use them for a new entry-level switch offering.

Emulex claims its SAN Storage Switch Models 355 and 375 “are the first and only Fibre Channel SAN storage switches specifically designed for entry-level storage area networks.”

Based on the InSpeed technology acquired from Vixel, Emulex says its switches are “designed to deliver a simple and affordable storage solution for companies that want the advantages SANs provide over direct attached storage, but wish to avoid the complexities that come with enterprise fabric-based services.”

“IT managers deploying entry level SANs don’t need all the bells and whistles associated with large-enterprise SAN switches,” says Richard Villars, vice president of storage systems research at IDC. “Rather, they need systems that are easy to deploy, easy to manage and easy on the budget. By leveraging its widely deployed InSpeed technology, Emulex is in a strong position to deliver SAN solutions that meets the needs of IT managers within small and medium businesses.”

The Emulex SAN Storage Switch Model 355 is a 1U, half-rack form factor 12-port non-blocking 2 Gb/s Fibre Channel switch. The SAN Storage Switch Model 375 is a 1U, full-rack form factor 20-port non-blocking switch that adds redundant fans and two hot-swappable, universal power supplies for high availability. Both the 355 and 375 offer simple, intuitive management and easy installation.

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