Digital Transformation Driven by Storage Innovation Requires a Modern Storage Network
Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD) today announced the industry’s first Gen 6 Fibre Channel directors for mission-critical storage connectivity and business resiliency solutions designed for the all-flash data centre. This extends the company’s leadership in offering the industry’s most innovative and widely deployed Fibre Channel storage network solutions, building on the first Gen 6 Fibre Channel switch that Brocade delivered in March 2016. The new Brocade® X6 director family and the Brocade SX6 extension blade for Fibre Channel, Fibre Connection (FICON) and IP storage replication, combined with Brocade Fabric Vision™ technology, enables customers to drive always-on business operations, eliminate performance bottlenecks and adapt to the requirements of digital organisations.
As organisations continue to digitise and adapt to new workloads, they need a modern storage network that supports business agility. Fibre Channel fabrics are the common thread that connects organisations to their most critical applications and data. Ninety-six percent of banks, insurance companies and retailers rely on Fibre Channel as the most trusted network infrastructure for storage. Gen 6 Fibre Channel provides the digital enterprise with non-stop availability and incredible performance required for tomorrow’s hyperscale data centres.
“Legacy networks will bottleneck flash storage minimising the performance and economic benefits of this game-changing technology,” said Phillip Coates, systems engineer manager for ANZ, Brocade. “Brocade’s Gen 6 Fibre Channel solutions unleash the full value of today’s flash technology and enable tomorrow’s next-generation flash storage based on Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe). NVMe will be the next disruptive storage technology in the data centre and customers will be able to seamlessly integrate NVMe over fabrics with Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel.”
Network automation is key to modernising data centres. According to a global CIO survey, 75 percent of respondents stated that the network is impacting their organisations' ability to achieve business goals. The lack of network automation and integration of the network with other IT operations is the single biggest inhibitor to capitalising on digitization.
Brocade has led the industry in automating storage networks with the industry's first implementation of RESTful API support in Brocade Network Advisor. This complete network-lifecycle solution brings an organisation’s information together into one simple, easy-to-use command-and-control application. It provides a programmable web-based interface through standard REST APIs to automate operational tasks such as zoning, scripting and reporting. In addition, standard REST APIs enable customers to use Brocade Fabric Vision technology to easily analyse fabric-wide health and performance. Brocade is also a key supporter of the OpenStack storage community, contributing Fibre Channel zone management to the OpenStack Cinder project.
New Innovations in Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel Enables Data Centre Modernisation
The Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel portfolio combines innovative hardware, Brocade Fabric Vision technology and ground-breaking integrated monitoring for storage IO and virtual machine (VM) performance. This delivers the industry’s highest level of operational stability while redefining application performance for hyperscale, mission-critical storage. New innovations in Brocade’s Gen 6 Fibre Channel portfolio include:
Brocade X6 Director Family. The industry-first Gen 6 Fibre Channel director family delivers breakthrough application performance, data centre-proven reliability and increased business agility to accelerate data access, adapt to evolving requirements and drive always-on business operations. The Brocade X6 directors provide up to 384 32 Gbps line rate ports and up to 32 128 Gbps UltraScale™ ICL connectivity ports delivering a total system bandwidth of 16 Tbps. Breakthrough 32 Gbps performance accelerates application response time by up to 71 percent over previous solution eliminating IO bottlenecks and unleashing the full performance of flash and next generation NVMe-based storage.
Brocade SX6 Extension Blade. The Brocade SX6 extension blade for Fibre Channel, FICON and IP storage replication moves more data over distance faster and enhances security without compromising performance. With up to 80 Gbps application throughput per platform and line-rate encryption, the Brocade SX6 is designed for the most demanding environments. This purpose-built solution delivers business resiliency at scale with 32 Gbps Fibre Channel and 1/10 GbE IP storage replication over 1/10/40 GbE IP WAN connections to handle the unrelenting growth of data traffic between data centres.
Brocade Fabric Vision Technology with IO Insight. Fabric Vision technology overcomes the traditional limitations of network monitoring by introducing IO Insight, the industry’s only integrated network sensor that provides deeper visibility into the IO performance of storage infrastructure. This enhanced visibility enables quick identification of degraded application performance at host and storage tiers reducing time to resolution. IO Insight proactively monitors IO performance and behavior to gain unparalleled insight into potential issues and help maintain service levels.
Brocade Fabric Vision Technology with VM Insight. Fabric Vision technology will include VM Insight for unparalleled end-to-end visibility into the storage performance of individual VMs. This feature optimises VM performance and availability in a virtualised data centre. VM Insight uses standards-based VM tagging to enable monitoring of VM-level application performance issues in a Gen 6 Fibre Channel SAN. Using this information, storage administrators can establish baseline application performance and identify anomalies in order to fine-tune the infrastructure to meet service level objectives. VM Insight also enables quick correlation with other Fabric Vision metrics to identify the root cause of problems before operations are affected.
Hitachi Data Systems is shipping the Brocade Gen 6 directors, blades and switch today. “Digital transformation enables businesses to deliver superior customer experiences that cannot be accomplished without a modern and agile IT infrastructure that delivers information to customers faster than ever before,” said Bob Madaio, vice president of infrastructure solutions marketing, Hitachi Data Systems. “The combination of the Hitachi flash portfolio with Brocade’s Gen 6 directors, blades and switch enables businesses to transform operations and serve data to customers radically faster so they get what they want, when they want it.”
Broad Industry Support from Brocade Partners, Flash Vendors and Industry Analysts
“These new Gen 6 Fibre Channel directors from Brocade combine extremely high-density, non-blocking 32 Gbps port capacity and 128 Gbps inter-switch connectivity along with I/O performance monitoring capabilities that offer a remarkable degree of visibility into Fibre Channel storage networks. The emerging, high-performance flash platforms based on NVMe over fabric will need a network environment that can reliably supply massive bandwidth and low latency as well as a new set of management tools designed to ensure consistent and dependable peak application performance.” – Steven Hill, senior research analyst, 451 Research
“All-flash-arrays have become pervasive in today’s modern data centre and for the first time in a decade, the legacy storage network has become the application performance bottleneck. Customers who want to extract the intended value and application performance out of their SSD-based storage investment need to upgrade their Fibre Channel network to the new Brocade X6 Director and new servers with Emulex's Gen 6 Fibre Channel HBAs." – Jeff Hoogenboom, general manager, Emulex Connectivity Division, Broadcom
“Dell’s goal is to enable the Future Ready Enterprise and Brocade’s continued Fibre Channel innovation is key for our joint customers in implementing scalable and always-on infrastructures. Brocade’s 32 Gbps capabilities will allow customers to utilise flash storage today and future next generation technology.” – Tom Burns, vice president and general manager, Dell Networking and Enterprise Infrastructure
“Gen 6 (32 Gbps) Fibre Channel is an important upgrade to the market as we see storage transitioning to flash-based products and the need for higher speeds in the data centre. Flash, which is architecturally different from traditional disk arrays from the storage industry, will benefit greatly from Gen 6 Fibre Channel solutions.” – Alan Weckel, vice president of SAN and data centre market research, Dell’Oro Group
“Gen 6 Fibre Channel couldn’t appear at a better time. Due to continued tremendous data growth, increasing demands are being placed on IT infrastructure. The new Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel Directors not only provide large-scale deployment of the newest speed of Fibre Channel, but they provide data centres with additional insights into their I/O traffic. Our testing with databases such as Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle database has shown that using Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel switches and Emulex Gen 6 Fibre Channel HBAs resulted in 3.4 times faster performance and lower latency up to 70 percent.” – Dennis Martin, president, Demartek
“EMC declared 2016 ‘The Year of All Flash’ for primary storage as businesses around the world reach an inversion point and make flash their de facto choice for their data centres. EMC is leading the pack with Unity, VMAX All Flash, XtremIO and DSSD delivering spectacular performance. However, to realize the full performance benefit, the storage networking performance has to keep pace with the arrays. After all, you wouldn’t expect to hit the top speed of a Ferrari if you’re driving on an unpaved dirt road. The introduction of Brocade’s 32 Gbps directors extends EMC’s 32 Gbps offering to our enterprise customers, enabling them to lay the network foundations for their flash-fueled futures.” – Peter Smails, vice president, prouct marketing, Core Technologies Division, EMC Corporation
“Updates to Fibre Channel technology is a not too frequent event. Gen 6 is faster but it's not just a matter of speeds. New features and capabilities with these new Brocade Gen 6 directors enable easier management and operations. Visibility provided by tools such as IO Insight or VM Insight enables better application management which is ultimately what matters to IT organisations. - Dan Conde, analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group
“The need for shared storage over high performance storage networks will continue into foreseeable future with customers continuing to need greater bandwidth and lower latency. Brocade’s announcement of Gen 6 Fibre Channel directors and blade and support for NVMe over Fabric answers those two needs, needs that are made even more real by deployment of all-flash storage.” – Randy Kerns, senior strategist, Evaluator Group
“Using our digital business platform, MetaArc, Fujitsu supports customers with the technologies, tools, services and partnerships that help them achieve the agile and robust information and communications technology that best suits their needs to modernise on a global scale. We look forward to our continued partnership with Brocade to deliver storage networking connectivity solutions, such as Gen 6 Fibre Channel, which enable customers to make this digital transformation.” – Kazuhiko Endo, senior vice president, Head of Data Centre Platform Business Unit, Fujitsu Limited
“In the era of data explosion, the launch of Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel directors means data exchange will be largely accelerated, which is crucial to enhancing the efficiency of enterprises' data centres. Brocade and Huawei have been jointly innovating and developing all-flash and active-active storage solutions. We will continuously strengthen our collaboration on storage network convergence and intelligent operation and maintenance and devote reliable, efficient and intelligent IT solutions to customers.” – Zhao Chunhui, vice president, Huawei Storage Product Line, Huawei
“For more than 16 years, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Brocade have delivered unparalleled value to our joint customers, providing them with comprehensive storage networking solutions with unmatched reliability, manageability and scalability. The launch of the new Gen 6 Fibre Channel solutions demonstrates HPE and Brocade’s continued innovations to deliver customers the most reliable and highest performing data centre storage networks.” – Neeraj Gokhale, vice president of storage marketing, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
“Fibre Channel technology continues to play an important role in the data centre, providing lossless and secure data transmission maintaining a very loyal user community. New applications and the next generation of servers—with additional CPU cores and higher speed connectivity, coupled with adoption of SSD storage—is driving the need for higher performance storage networking. The introduction of Gen 6 Fibre Channel technology is an important and timely event advancing the storage networking market and also preparing for the arrival of NVMe-based flash storage which will demand additional storage network bandwidth.” – Cliff Grossner, Ph.D., senior research director for data centre, cloud and SDN, IHS Markit
"Today's data-intensive enterprise requires quick and easy access to large amounts of data at all times and we pride ourselves in offering our customers storage systems with the highest possible performance and functionality at the lowest possible cost. It is solutions like the Brocade X6 director family and SX6 extension blade that allow us to meet the demands of companies around the world." – Bob Cancilla, vice president of global alliances, INFINIDAT
“There is no doubt that the Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel portfolio will bring huge performance improvement while its new visibility features will reduce administration complexity for customers. We believe that our Inspur flash storage products together with Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel will meet customers’ complex application requirements for large cloud computing and hyper-scale virtualized storage systems to provide highly reliable, scalable and available solutions.” – Sun Gang, general manager, Storage Division, Inspur
Brocade’s new Gen 6 directors are evolutionary and revolutionary at the same time. They are a fundamental component for building the all-flash data centre required by modern enterprises, where next generation protocols, like NVMe, and mission-critical workloads need the most reliable and robust storage networks. – Enrico Signoretti, analyst, Juku
"As a leading all-flash storage company, we are defining the future of modern data centres in today’s on-demand world. Given customers demand predictable storage solutions to grow and manage their business, our collaboration with Brocade will help drive the next generation of flash array technology and storage networking on Gen 6 Fibre Channel solutions.” – Shachar Fienblit, chief technology officer, Kaminario
“An all-flash data centre is a must for any business that is transforming digitally. With flash eliminating storage performance as a bottleneck, customers now want network upgrades that rebalance performance across the data centre. Brocade’s Gen 6 Fibre Channel directors deliver performance improvements for NetApp’s fast-growing SAN customer base." – Maria Olson, vice president, Global and Strategic Alliances, NetApp
“Brocade’s data centre fabrics and Fibre Channel solutions are the perfect complement to our predictive flash storage offerings. With the Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel solutions, we will be able to help our customers adapt to the evolving requirements of an always-on business environment.” – Dan Leary, vice president of corporate development, solutions and alliances, Nimble Storage
“Pure Storage customers demand the highest levels of consistency, predictability and performance, and Brocade’s Gen 6 Fibre Channel solutions deliver strong in all three of these areas. Like Pure Storage, Brocade has a history of meeting the mission-critical demands of the data centre and together, we are setting a new standard for the modern digital enterprise." – Matt Kixmoeller, vice president of products, Pure Storage
“Next-generation databases and workloads are utilising low latency NVMe and SSD flash-based storage coupled with the highly deterministic nature of Gen 6 (32 Gbps) Fibre Channel to meet the ever increasing user demand for faster performance and reliability. The new Gen 6 Fibre Channel switches from Brocade, coupled with QLogic Gen 6 Fibre Channel Adapters with StorFusion™ technology, which is integrated with Brocade Fabric Vision, deliver the performance, application response time and scalability characteristics required for mission-critical storage networking, making Fibre Channel the dominate interconnect for these environments well into the future.” – Vikram Karvat, vice president of products, marketing and planning, QLogic
“One of the biggest challenges in today’s modern enterprise is eliminating data silos that can drastically slow priority workloads and operations. Brocade’s Gen 6 Fibre Channel solutions provide the reliability and scalability our customers need to transform into a modernised data centre.” – Rob Commins, vice president of marketing, Tegile
"Enabling customers to deploy the most powerful, trusted and flexible storage networks that are capable of meeting the performance demands associated with mission-critical application workloads is exactly why Violin Memory partners with Brocade. That is what Brocade's new Gen 6 Fibre Channel directors with Violin Memory's Flash Storage Platform offers the market.” – Raj Das, vice president of business development, Violin Memory
“As organisations continue to move to higher VM densities for rapid deployment of new applications, they require modern storage networks that can scale linearly and provide the performance to support thousands of users. VMware solutions with Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel enables predictable performance, reliability and scalability with end-to-end visibility to highly virtualized application data flows which allows service level agreements to be met.” – Howard Hall, senior director, Global Technology Partnering Organisation, VMware
Brocade X6 directors and Brocade SX6 extension blade are available now through Brocade and its channel partners. Other Brocade OEM partners will start shipping them in the second half of 2016. Brocade Network Advisor and IO Insight are available today. VM Insight will be included as part of Fabric Vision technology in the first half of 2017.
Blog: Flash Forward with Gen 6 Fibre Channel
Brocade X6 Directors Data Sheet
Brocade SX Extension Blade Data Sheet
Accelerating Oracle Data Warehousing with Emulex and Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel
White Paper: Data Centre Modernisation with Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel
theCUBE Video: How Gen 6 Unleashes Flash and NVMe for the Modern Data Center
Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD) networking solutions help the world’s leading organisations turn their networks into platforms for business innovation. With solutions spanning public and private data centres to the network edge, Brocade is leading the industry in its transition to the New IP network infrastructures required for today’s era of digital business. (www.brocade.com)
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Information based on IHS Technology SAN and Converged Data Center Network Equipment Market Tracker - Regional, Q2 2016. Information is not an endorsement of Brocade Communication Systems. Any reliance on these results is at the third party's own risk. Visit www.technology.ihs.com for more details.