Our biggest competitor today is locking software-defined architecture with their hardware: Brocade

|November 23, 2015 0

Soma Tah

Organizations are feeling the pressure of excessive data on their networks often resulting in network congestion and instability. They want to optimize SAN performance to deliver maximum data and system availability. But due to the absence of an end-to-end visibility, IT staffs often just rely on guesswork to resolve performance and latency issues across their compute, network, and storage resources. How do you handle that problem? George Chacko, Principal Systems Engineering and Lead Technical Consultant, Brocade India, shared his thoughts on the same, and explained how the networking company is designing solutions keeping the challenges of the next-generation architectures in mind.

Brocade has added a new analytics monitoring product in its Gen 5 Fiber Channel portfolio. What are the benefits?
It is a purpose-built SAN appliance that helps IT proactively monitor and resolve infrastructure issues affecting application availability and performance. It can analyze vast amounts of metrics from across the network and network-connected devices, and pinpoint problems with non-disruptive diagnostics of server, storage, and fabric devices. The automated monitoring, alerting, and troubleshooting process reduces the deployment time to just a couple of minutes. The most important benefit is that it monitors the behavior and response time of any device without the link quality/performance impacts caused by highly invasive physical TAPs.

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What kind of uptake do you foresee?
In case of application issues, the IT people often does not get the in-depth information required. In that case, they tend to insert more ports and do something from their experience to resolve the issues. These kinds of solutions give them the ability to make an informed decision. More than 90 percent of telcos and banks are on Brocade SAN switch now and we believe this solution will give them complete visibility into the entire environment.

Is the market mature enough to adopt the fiber channel?
Storage market is growing significantly, both on premise as well as on the cloud. Consequently, the supporting networks are also growing. If you look at the IDC report of 2015, fiber channel is growing because it is a viable and vibrant storage networking technology that has demonstrated its value over time, and is also the most widely deployed storage network infrastructure for virtualization, cloud, and mission-critical applications.

Next year, we are launching the Gen 6 fiber channel which will give you speed of 128 gig. Now imagine the implications of all the data flowing from the server to storage to your SAN- which is mission critical and you do not have a visibility into it. Our fiber vision is differentiating us from our competitors here.

We’re excited about the possibilities for future product innovations and are continuing to meet the needs of the largest, most demanding storage network environments.

Could you tell us some of the new technologies that you are looking to invest in?
Brocade is focusing a lot on next generation architecture, technologies and solutions. We are investing heavily into the software side of the network and we believe that software is going to define the network. However, a very robust hardware is required to support software. Hence the physical hardware needs to be very efficient to support these high performance next generation overlays. So we are building that capability to be the hardware infrastructure of choice for next generation.

Are the enterprises ready to take the plunge into this software-defined era?
The mandate is there from their top managements to look at the next generation architecture and to find out ways to re-architect their network to meet the growing demands. But they are worried about the existing proprietary systems. So we are seeing that customers are no longer want to invest in solutions which are not in line with the next generation architecture.

The world has moved from a traditional approach to a virtualized approach, to cloud and now people are talking about software-defined architecture and this has made customers slightly confused. And consultants need to help customers understand the whole scenario and help them to go to the next level.

Where do we see the discussion of software-defined data center at this moment?
We have seen a huge shift towards software-defined architecture but what Brocade believes is that you can do software-defined architecture when your hardware is capable to perform all the functions. For that, your hardware should be agnostic. Our biggest competitor today is locking it all with hardware and their software definition runs only on that hardware. But the true promise of software-defined architecture is that it should lock customers in the hardware layer and let customers choose hardware from the vendor that provides maximum openness and maximum functionality.

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