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Storage Networks

The Network Matters for Manageability

by Scott Shimomura ‎10-14-2013 09:05 PM - edited ‎01-30-2014 08:51 PM (7,384 Views)

Update 1/16/2014 Brocade Fabric Vision has been named as a finalist for 2013 Storage Management Product of the Year by Storage Magazine!


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It is funny how there’s a misperception in the market that Fibre Channel networks are complex and hard to manage. Certainly admins need different skills than a standard LAN admin, but most customers spend a fraction of the time and resources managing a SAN vs. managing a LAN.


For Brocade Fibre Channel fabrics, the Fabric Operating System (FOS) has provided a variety of features and tools to help isolate, mitigate, and overcome performance and availability issues. Over time, Brocade engineering has added new features and enhanced functionality to make the life of a SAN administrator easier with features like Fabric Watch, Advanced Performance Monitor, Bottleneck Detection, and more.




The introduction of Brocade Gen 5 Fibre Channel technology in 2011 provided a new ASIC platform that enabled fundamental changes in fabric management. As an example, ClearLink Diagnostics was introduced as the industry’s only built-in cable and optics diagnostics capability that eliminated the need for specialized tools and drastically reduced troubleshooting time.


Today Brocade and HP announced the availability of two breakthrough monitoring and diagnostic capabilities for Brocade Fibre Channel fabrics—Monitoring and Alerting Policy Suite (MAPS) and Flow Vision.  Part of Brocade Fabric Vision technology, MAPS and Flow Vision dramatically simplify SAN administration tasks and enable even higher availability and performance for Brocade SAN fabrics.


So what are MAPS and Flow Vision and how do they simplify life for SAN administrators?


MAPS is a threshold-based monitoring and alerting solution that enables proactive SAN management.  MAPS leverages Brocade’s more than 15 years’ experience and expertise in storage networking to provide administrators pre-built rules/actions and pre-packaged monitoring policies so that admins can simply select the pre-defined policy that’s right for their environment and enable it.


In addition, administrators can use Brocade Network Advisor to further simplify the deployment of common policies across multiple switches, entire fabrics, or even multiple fabrics.  With MAPS, deploying a fabric-wide monitoring and alerting solution is fast, easy, and requires no in-depth SAN expertise.


Flow Vision simplifies SAN administration and eliminates the need for intrusive external tools that compromise fabric reliability and add excessive costs. Rather than spending days trying to identify and isolate the root cause of a performance issue, Flow Vision can automatically discover data flows and non-disruptively monitor flows of interest. Comprehensive statistics about specific flows or frame types provide valuable insight into resolving performance and availability issues.


Flow Vision simplifies the process of identifying, monitoring, and analyzing specific application data flows in order to maximize performance, avoid congestion, and optimize resources This eliminates the need to disrupt the fabric to install expensive network taps or external analyzers.  Flow Vision provides detailed visibility and insight into the storage network (including storage, host, and E_ports) and allows administrators to monitor specific flows in the fabric.  


The introduction of these new Fabric Vision technology capabilities are part of what differentiates Brocade Gen 5 Fibre Channel technology from simple 16 Gbps switches. Our engineering resources are busy developing technology and capabilities that simplify the life of a SAN admin and add value in the data center through increased availability and optimized performance. To find out more about Brocade Fabric Vision technology, check out the Fabric Vision page.