Brocade's Foundry buy will boost Fibre Channel over Ethernet

Brocade will get a shot in the arm in the area of Fibre Channel over Ethernet

Brocade's pending acquisition of Foundry Networks and its IP network technology will give Brocade a shot in the arm in the area of Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), a technology expected to make major data center inroads in the next few years.

"They've got this vast background of storage networking capabilities," Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Bob Laliberte says of Brocade. "What they didn't have was a lot of core IP networking. By joining the two together, it instantly gives them the credibility, culturally, in large enterprises."

FCoE, which lets the Fibre Channel storage protocol take advantage of 10Gigabit Ethernet networks, lets IP network and storage data traffic be consolidated with a single switch. With fewer cables and adapters in a server, FCoE will help reduce data center cost and complexity, says Ian Whiting, vice president and general manager of data center infrastructure for Brocade. Vendors are still waiting for the American National Standards Institute to produce a standard for FCoE, but Cisco and Brocade have already quarreled over the issue, with Cisco using its blog to deny allegations that its FCoE efforts are proprietary implementations not supported by the industry at large.

Brocade officials said the Foundry acquisition was not spurred by its FCoE ambitions, noting that it had announced a roadmap for Fibre Channel over Ethernet months ago. But Brocade's market opportunities for FCoE will be greatly expanded with Foundry on board, Whiting says.

The storage-area networking market Brocade competes in today has roughly US$2 billion in play, while the Gigabit Ethernet marketplace represents about $20 billion worth of buying power, he says.

"Don't think of the acquisition of Foundry as something which is going to in any way materially change the roadmap Brocade had in place for Fibre Channel over Ethernet," Whiting says. "What Foundry does bring is a significant market expansion opportunity."

It's hard to say how Brocade will integrate Foundry technologies with its own, but "it gives them instant credibility in the IP space," Laliberte says, noting that "Fibre Channel over Ethernet is actually using a core IP switch. But it literally is taking Fibre Channel and running it over Ethernet."

A draft FCoE industry standard is expected to be released next month. While some industry observers say FCoE products will be shipping the second half of this year, others think it's more likely to happen in 2010 or 2011, says storage analyst Matthew Bryson with Avian Securities. Whenever it happens, the Foundry acquisition gives Brocade "a way to play in that [IP] space and protects them as at least a portion of the Fibre Channel market is cannibalized by FCoE."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon Brodkin

Network World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?