If you’ve been paying attention to the networking industry, you’ve undoubtedly heard a lot more buzz about Ethernet fabrics. The reason I picked this particular time to write about Ethernet fabrics, a movement that Brocade has been leading and promoting for the last 18 months, is because there is finally some tangible competitive activity in the market. In spring of 2010, we unveiled our vision for a highly scalable data center chassis solution. At that time, we were the lone voice making definitive commitments about delivering a fabric-based solution for data centers while much of the competition was still in the conceptual phase.
We followed through on our commitment at the end of 2010, and we have already shipped Ethernet fabric solutions to hundreds of customers. In fact, at VMworld this year we announced and began customer shipment of our second-generation fabric solutions, which can provide native Fibre Channel, Gigabit and 10 Gigabit connectivity, and fully converged storage fabrics. As a result, we have created a whole new class of networking solutions that not only simplify data centers, but also enable a wealth of new and enhanced capabilities.
Again, the reason I’m focusing on this now is because large networking players have been very vocal about fabrics. Their architectures, most of which we’ve been waiting on for several years, are finally starting to ship. Even the largest vendor in the industry now has essentially reconfigured its entire product offering and rebranded it around fabric terminology.
This is something Brocade predicted more than 18 months ago. We stressed that in a world of virtualized applications, where all the connectivity in the data center is pooled into a common network architecture, a fabric is the only way to maximize resiliency, performance, and cost-efficiency. I contend that an industry-standard fabric, such as ours, is the only way customers can integrate with multivendor solutions and legacy equipment. We felt it was incumbent upon the competitive market to align their sights on Brocade and attempt to catch up to our leadership position. It’s important to reiterate that we’re just now starting to see some competitors bringing their first-generation products to market, while other competitors are simply taking their existing solutions and wrapping a new skin around them.
My message to customers is that Ethernet fabrics are here. Ethernet fabrics are the way to go. Brocade certainly has the most mature and complete offering, and we are firmly committed to building out our offering while extending new features and capabilities on our existing platforms. We will continue to move forward very aggressively, and we believe our customers will continue to be re-invigorated by the power Ethernet fabrics will bring to their data center.