Brocade launches Gen 6 Fibre Channel directors for flash data centers to deliver modern storage network

Brocade announced Tuesday its Gen 6 Fibre Channel directors for storage connectivity and business resiliency solutions designed for the all-flash data center. This extends the company’s position in offering widely deployed Fibre Channel storage network solutions, building on the first Gen 6 Fibre Channel switch that Brocade delivered earlier this year.

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 organizations.

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 this year, while Brocade Network Advisor and IO Insight are currently available. VM Insight will be included as part of Fabric Vision technology in the first half of next year.

As enterprises continue to digitize and adapt to new workloads, they need a modern storage network that supports business agility. Fibre Channel fabrics are the common thread that connects organizations 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 high performance required for future hyperscale data centers.

“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),” said Jack Rondoni, Brocade’s vice president of storage networking. “NVMe will be the next disruptive storage technology in the data center and customers will be able to seamlessly integrate NVMe over fabrics with Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel.”

The Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel portfolio combines hardware, Brocade Fabric Vision technology and integrated monitoring for storage IO and virtual machine (VM) performance that delivers high levels of operational stability while redefining application performance for hyperscale, mission-critical storage.

Brocade X6 Director line delivers application performance, data center-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.

The Brocade X6 Director is available in two modular form factors. This modular chassis design increases business agility with seamless storage connectivity and flexible deployment offerings. Built for large enterprise networks, the 14U Brocade X6-8 has eight vertical blade slots to provide up to 384 32 Gbps Fibre Channel device ports and 32 additional 128 Gbps Brocade UltraScale Inter-Chassis Link (ICL) ports. Built for midsize networks, the 8U Brocade X6-4 has four horizontal blade slots to provide up to

192 32 Gbps Fibre Channel device ports and 16 additional 128 Gbps UltraScale ICL

ports. Each blade slot can be populated with two optional blades.

For device connectivity, the Brocade FC32-48 Fibre Channel device port blade provides 48 32 Gbps Fibre Channel ports. To support disaster recovery and data

protection storage solutions over long distances, the Brocade SX6 Extension

Blade provides 16 32 Gbps Fibre Channel ports, 16 1/10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports,

and 2 40 GbE ports for Fibre Channel and IP replication traffic.

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 centers.

Brocade Fabric Vision Technology with IO Insight overcomes  traditional limitations of network monitoring by introducing IO Insight, an 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 delivers end-to-end visibility into the storage performance of individual VMs. This feature optimizes VM performance and availability in a virtualized data center. 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 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. “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.”

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