In the storage networking realm, some things are irrefutable. Fibre Channel is the clear choice for a mission-critical, high-performance, low-latency, highly reliable SAN fabric. And with nearly twenty years of storage technology innovation that includes the first Fibre Channel switching products, Brocade is the industry leader. In fact, Brocade delivers more than 70 percent of the SAN ports sold today.
That said, it’s time to look toward the future. Where is Fibre Channel technology going? How can storage fabric improvements increase data center efficiency? And what is Brocade doing to remain at the forefront of the SAN industry? Let’s start with Fibre Channel itself.
From its introduction as a point-to-point network designed specifically for storage traffic, Fibre Channel has evolved into a modern, fabric-based architecture. In 2013, Brocade formally introduced the term “Gen 5 Fibre Channel,” which indicates the fifth generation of speed improvement between the original 1 Gbps and the current 16 Gbps standards. That shift from speed-based naming to technology generation-based naming illustrates our recognition that advancements in Fibre Channel are not just faster—they’re data center operations game-changers.
Gen 5 grew from our commitment to meet our customers’ next-generation data center needs. And we’ve done that—faster than any other competitor. Our Gen 5 Fibre Channel switch platforms unleash the full potential of high-density server virtualization, cloud architectures, and flash storage. In fact, we hold more patents than any competitor, and we lead the standards bodies in driving change.
Fibre Channel has evolved into a modern, fabric-based architecture
Here are a few of the innovations that differentiate Brocade Fibre Channel:
Fabric Vision—An extension of Gen 5 Fibre Channel, Brocade Fabric Vision technology increases your visibility into the network and supports highly automated management functions. These functions dramatically reduce operational costs by simplifying management, so you can preempt problems and accelerate application deployments. Fabric Vision technology combines capabilities from Brocade hardware, Brocade Fabric OS, and Brocade Network Advisor management software.
FCIP SAN Extension—Brocade purpose-built SAN extension solutions help you address the growing replication and backup needs driven by increasing traffic between data centers, virtualized application workloads, and business continuity requirements. Our solutions maximize replication and backup throughput over distance, using data compression, disk and tape protocol acceleration, and FCIP. Brocade FCIP SAN Extension solutions include the Brocade 7840 Extension Switch, the Brocade 7800 Extension Switch, and the Brocade FX8-24 Extension Blade for the Brocade DCX 8510.
Mainframe—Brocade FICON-qualified directors and switches provide flexible FICON infrastructures for designing, building, and transforming enterprise data centers into strategic business assets. Brocade Gen 5 Fibre Channel DCX 8510 FICON directors and Brocade 6510, 7840, and 7800 FICON switches with Brocade Fabric Vision technology provide industry-leading performance, scalability, and investment protection, so you can leverage the full capabilities of your IBM z System solutions.
Standards Leadership—Brocade works with industry-leading organizations to develop standards, technologies, products, and services that simplify data center infrastructure management and implementation. Our long history of contributions to standards development ranges from Fibre Channel communication technology to storage network interoperability and management. As we expand our presence in the Ethernet space, we will also increase our standards development focus with greater participation in Ethernet standards groups.
More to come
In 2016, expect to see a variety of new solutions based on the upcoming Gen 6 Fibre Channel standard. Those solutions will include single-lane rates of 32 Gbps and 128 Gbps over four simultaneous lanes, more reliability with forward error correction, simplified server virtualization, and enhancements to existing security standards, as well as Fabric Vision technology improvements.
We’re also working closely with our storage partners to lead efforts in the OpenStack community. Those efforts will protect your investments in Fibre Channel SANs through the evolution to cloud orchestration frameworks.
Fibre Channel is a viable and vibrant storage networking technology that has demonstrated its value over time, and is now the most widely deployed storage network infrastructure for virtualization, cloud, and mission-critical applications. We’re excited about the possibilities for future product innovations, and continuing to meet the needs of the largest, most demanding storage network environments.
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