BROCADE'S FABRIC 2000 OFFERS FRAMEWORK FOR FIBRE.
Brocade Systems Inc, which claims to have an 85% share of the
fibre-channel enabled switches marketplace, has put together a
framework for maintaining an open standards-based approach to storage
area networks, now a growing part of its business. Brocade's
Fabric 2000 initiative is really just a series of agreements with
related vendors that guarantee that thier products will work with
Brocade's switches, something that wouldn't be necessary at
all if the fibre channel standardization process was further advanced.
Brocade has enlisted Computer Network Technology Inc, Emulex Corp,
Legato Systems Inc, Network Appliance Corp, Qlogic Corp, Sequent
Computer Systems Inc and Veritas Corp for the scheme. The 8- and
16-port Brocade Silkworm switches have some built-in intelligence
through use of the VxWorks operating system running on an Intel i960
processor, with software for fault-tolerant routing, installation and
diagnostics that make up what Brocade calls its Fabric OS. With CNT,
Brocade says it will bring the first disaster-tolerant SANs to market.
Emulex, Legato, Qlogic and Veritas will provide it with SAN
applications ranging from backup and restore to storage consolidation.
Network Appliance will offer interoperability between SANs and
network-attached storage, as previously announced (CI No 3,583).
Brocade promises to supply its integrator partners - such as Columbus,
Ohio-based Cranel Inc and Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Datalink Corp -
with the framework and implementation manuals for SAN deployments,
which it says will reduce time to market by around 30%. The company
says it will track other SAN standardization efforts, such as EMC Corp's SAN Management initiative (CI No 3,589), but is working
primarily with the Storage Network Industry Association on
standardization. It says it's been a primary contributor to every
major Fibre Channel standard to date. Brocade supplies its switches to
Compaq Computer Corp, DataDirect Networks, McData Corp, MountainGate
Inc, Sequent, Storage Technology Corp, Transoft Network Inc and Network
Appliance Corp. It claims that its competitor Ancor Communications Inc
only has around 10% of the market, while Vixel Corp and Gadzoox
Networks Inc were both initially wrong-footed by attempting to develop
fibre channel hubs rather than switches.