Blog Viewer

The Matrix or Reality? The Network Matters for Storage Innovation

By Scott Shimomura posted 03-01-2016 05:00 AM


So do you take the blue pill or the red pill? You take the blue pill and the story ends, you wake up in the data center believing in the fantasy where FCoE and Infiniband take over the world, hyperconverged solves all your problems, and hardware is irrelevant. You take the red pill, you stay in reality where data matters, storage matters, and most importantly, where the network matters. Remember, all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.


red pill blue pill.png


Welcome to the reality of today’s and tomorrow’s data center. This isn’t about solving every IT problem with a single solution. It isn’t about future-proofing against change. There isn’t instant ROI. This is about real problems that enterprise customers face every day with their storage infrastructure. How do you keep your business up and running non-stop? How do you keep up with the demands from your customers? How do you manage growth? How do you protect your digital assets from malicious breaches?


Fibre Channel fabrics are the common thread that connect businesses to their most critical applications and data. For more than twenty years, Brocade has been solving complex storage problems with networking solutions that have always been purpose-built for storage traffic. Today, Fibre Channel drives the world’s economies with the most trusted and widely deployed network infrastructure for enterprise storage. It’s easy to understand why customers continue to choose Fibre Channel and Brocade over other storage alternatives.


adoption 2.png


It’s also been an integral part of every wave of storage innovation in the data center.




Fibre Channel enabled shared storage for enterprises looking to maximize storage utilization through the decoupling of storage from servers and the elimination of storage silos. According to IDC, the vast majority of data center storage capacity has been and continues to be Fibre Channel.


Fibre Channel SANs enabled high density virtualization at enterprise scale by providing a storage foundation that delivered reliable and scalable high performance storage. Even today, the majority of VMs are deployed on a SAN-based storage infrastructure. In fact the top 20 of VMware’s VMmark benchmark (39 of the top 40 for more than two years - #39 is Infiniband) for networked storage solutions are all built on Fibre Channel.


So what’s driving storage innovation today? Clearly the widespread adoption of flash storage is accelerating the transformation of the data center. As companies redesign their data centers with flash storage to optimize application performance and leverage storage efficiencies, they require a network that delivers low-latency, high capacity bandwidth and reliability. Today 70-80% of all flash-based storage is connected over Fibre Channel SANs. Tomorrow, next-generation flash storage based on NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) will seamlessly integrate with Fibre Channel networks.


However, legacy networks will bottleneck flash storage performance. The network has to evolve to enable the next wave of storage innovation. Gen 6 Fibre Channel is here and Brocade is leading the way with the industry’s first Gen 6 Fibre Channel switch, the starting point for a whole new portfolio of industry-leading solutions.


The Brocade G620 switch delivers increased performance across 32 and 128 Gbps links, shattering application performance barriers with capacity to support more than 100 million IOPS. Delivering the industry’s highest port density in a 1U switch, it offers 24 to 64 ports for “pay as you grow” flexibility and scalability. It also includes four Q-Flex ports which are capable of supporting 128 Gbps or can be split out into four 32 Gbps links.




The Brocade G620 with Fabric Vision technology now includes the new IO Insight feature to help organizations achieve greater visibility into performance monitoring. This new capability helps ensure critical SLAs can be met by monitoring IO statistics, including device latency and IOPS metrics, to provide intelligence for early detection of storage performance degradation. IO Insight extends and complements automated monitoring, diagnostic and management capabilities enabled by Brocade Fabric Vision technology.


This launch is another important milestone for Brocade and the rest of the Fibre Channel industry. Together with our Fibre Channel ecosystem partners QLogic and Emulex/Broadcom, we are beginning the transition to a new era in storage. Today, customers will have access to new Gen 6 Fibre Channel switches and adapters that will deliver breakthrough reliability, performance, and scalability to address mission-critical applications of the data center of tomorrow.


And this is only the beginning. There’s a long roadmap for Fibre Channel that extends into the next decade. Even as we are launching the first Gen 6 Fibre Channel products, we are beginning the process of defining Gen 7 Fibre Channel.


Welcome to the real world…




For additional Gen 6 Fibre Channel content check out the partner content from Emulex/Broadcom and QLogic.



Follow me on Twitter @scottshimo