Brocade gearing up to fight 'Cisco fatigue'

Brocade told analysts its Foundry acquisition will make it uniquely equipped to battle Cisco.

Brocade Communications Systems is painting itself as the alternative to Cisco Systems that IT administrators have been looking for.

With its acquisition of Ethernet vendor Foundry Networks expected to close by year's end, the storage networking company will have products for everything from data centers to the Internet, easing "Cisco fatigue," executives said Wednesday at an analyst conference. Brocade will be the only other company that can offer connectivity on both sides of servers, to the LAN and the storage network, they said.

Brocade is better able than Cisco to cooperate with key system vendors such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard and EMC because of its deep, longtime relationships with those companies, said T.J. Grewal, vice president of corporate development. Interoperability with other vendors' products will be critical as enterprises ease into transformations of their data centers. Recent moves by Cisco make it look more like a competitor of the system vendors, he said. Cisco has been pushing to put more of the intelligence of data centers in the network infrastructure.

"There's a sense here that there hasn't been a credible alternative to Cisco," said Ian Whiting, vice president and general manager of Brocade's Data Center Infrastructure division.

Amid falling stock markets and devastation among Wall Street investment banks, CEO Michael Klayko was asked repeatedly about the financing of the US$3 billion Foundry acquisition through Bank of America and Morgan Stanley, and finally grew testy.

"We're very confident we're going to fund this deal. ... Does anyone else want to ask this question?" he said.

The company hasn't changed its forecast for the current quarter, which called for revenue of $375 million to $385 million and earnings per share of $0.04 or $0.05, and remained optimistic about the longer-term outlook.

For its full 2008 fiscal year, ending next month, Brocade expects its revenue to grow 17 percent from fiscal 2007 and earnings per share to rise between 11 percent and 12 percent. Foundry will boost the company's profit by about 5 percent in fiscal 2009 and about 20 percent in 2010, counting savings from synergies and other adjustments, Brocade estimated.

"Our fundamentals haven't changed. Data hasn't stopped growing," Klayko said.

The two companies' technologies are complementary, Grewal said. Foundry will bring Brocade an Ethernet portfolio for LANs, complementing its Fibre Channel SAN technology. But the purchase wasn't made to help Brocade tackle the emergence of Ethernet in storage networks, he said. Brocade was already working toward that with "lossless Ethernet" technology that gives Ethernet the deterministic quality required in SANs, he said. The company has already developed its own silicon for this emerging technology and put it in the DCX Backbone multiprotocol storage switch, which will support the future Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) standard, he said.

Klayko said enterprises will move gradually to new technologies in their data centers -- an idea that serves a company founded on traditional Fibre Channel, the mainstay of SANs today.

"There are going to be multiple fabrics and protocols," Klayko said, and the needs of applications will determine which are best. Most shops aren't ready for FCoE, he said. "Having the technical capabilities and having the applications be ready to take advantage of those ... are a little out of sync," he said.

Also Wednesday, Brocade said its entry into HBAs (host bus adapters) for connecting servers to networks is on track. The company expects the HBAs it announced earlier this year to be qualified by its OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partners by the end of this year.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags brocade

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

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.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?