Yesterday a Senior Brocade SE and OEM manager presented the Brocade Road Show. I must say up front that I am a real fan of the Cisco MDS solution but we do run Brocade switches that will finally be up for asset replacement.
I got the presentation on the architecture of the 48000 which I have seen a million times and we already have them so what was the point. I finally got to see some upcoming releases. I found most of the presentation uncomfortable because much of it was Cisco bashing. I have had Cisco Road Shows and not once was there any reference to their competitors. I actually find competitor bashing a real turn off. EMC and HDS do not waste a moment of their time talking about their competitors.
I believe Brocade should give up on the Cisco bashing and start building a reputation on being an imaginative and dynamic company that sells the best product. Right now all I see now is a company loosing market share in a competitive area that has some uncertainty of where FC is going. Just because you are the biggest right now does not mean you will be forever.
So what did Brocade talk about:
8 Gbps ports. Obviously this is designed to handle massive virtualisation on servers. It seemed aimed at Linux in particular with NPIV being a major part of this.
10 Gbps ports obviously designed for major ISL traffic. I did raise that Cisco have done this for some time.
Some new blades that will enable "services" to be run in them. I also raised the fact that Cisco have had this for some time and it never really took off. I like the idea of the Cisco SSM but the licensing charges normally don't seem to offer a good return on investment and they tended to focus on EMC related solutions. I would be interested in seeing how well Brocade do with this.
The discussed the future of their Fabric Managers both Brocade and McData's and where it will end up. I must admit that I thought it could be a good feature if they gave it away as part of the switch themselves.
A lot of discussion on FAN but with most of our systems running applications that are database based, that did not really inspire me all that much.
Brocade also said that Fibre Channel over Ethernet was something they were very interesting in being a leader on. However, it was to be focused on the Data Centre Ethernet which is not around yet. There was very little discussion on iSCSI for obvious reasons.
They did discuss their new HBA. I thought it was odd as it seems that business is spending massive amounts of money on blades and virtualisation. That is obviously where the major growth is so why don't they produce mezzanine cards like Qlogic? I thought it was a backward step myself with no real imagination. If the 8 Gbps FC port is purely for blades and virtualisation, why ignore that fact?
I thought that Brocade have a lot of plans for inside the fabric but will companies look at it and see any value?
I don't know if anything they showed me will change my mind when I look at new switches.
The most interesting thing they showed me was something from a 2005 conference that said "Cisco IT do not use VSAN's". They don't trust them or something. I found that totally unbelievable.
My opinion of Brocade has dropped a few points more. Pity that now includes McData.
Perhaps all those Brocade loving people out there would care to respond?