Mainframe Solutions

A mainframe guy comes to the end of his participation at EMC World 2013

by Dave-Lytle on ‎05-08-2013 11:08 AM (2,416 Views)

So here I am at the end of my last day at this year’s EMC World conference. Yes, EMC World 2013 goes on for another three quarters of a day tomorrow but I fly back home to Atlanta tomorrow morning. My brain is full, my legs are wobbly from walking between meeting rooms and the Solutions Pavilion, and my nether regions ache from sitting in conference chairs – you know what I mean, you have been there yourselves!


Yesterday, as my blog pointed out, began on a sad note for me. In contrast, I had a really good day and wonderful experience with an attendee at the conference today. I met this gentleman on the first day of the conference and, as I related in my first blog, we set up a schedule at that point for a meeting to be held today. That meeting took place and, once again, my very good friend and exceptional professional AJ Casamento lead the discussion. This business professional, Blair, is a key officer in a company that is a premier systems integrator, located in California, that provides quality business automation, computer network and security solutions, remote and on-site support, and cost-effective IT outsourcing for small to mid-sized businesses. They do business on several continents.


As many company officers are, Blair was looking for best-of-breed technologies to use as a foundation upon which to build their own solutions for their customer base. They have used many technologies in the past and, due to their experience, they understand the value of intelligent, scalable and simple to deploy and manage technologies. With the plethora of technologies that are available in the market today, Blair was trying to weed through all of his options and be ready to place bets on the technologies that were going to help his company grow, make his customers happy and all that while alleviating many of the typical, onerous and time consuming technology deployment and management tasks they usually faced. Once AJ understood Blair’s needs the conversation became pin-point focused on the strategic and tactical requirements Blair needed to discuss. AJ was familiar with Blair’s business segment which I am sure made him more confident in the information that he was receiving. IP versus Fibre Channel technologies were discussed and many of their various iterations. A discussion about scalability and performance and management ensued, and the technologies that had been deployed in the past, with the result that Brocade’s VDX product along with Brocade Network Advisor management seemed to hold the best promise of meeting most of Blair’s current needs.


After exchanging business cards and agreeing upon follow-up actions with AJ, Blair and I took a walk out to the Brocade booth at the Solutions Pavilion. We stopped for a few moments and had Srikara Subramanyan, a Senior Product Manager for our Gen5 Fibre Channel technology deliver a technical discussion of the fibre channel switches being displayed at the booth. This went very well and it was easy for Blair to see how easily our FC technology scales up and scales out in port density, performance and bandwidth. Blair does have needs for fibre channel technology so this was a very valuable overview for him. We also briefly showed him Brocade Network Advisor to let him know that we had a world class management platform to manage not only fibre channel but also our IP products.


Then we walked around to the VDX station in the Brocade booth. I, of course, am a mainframe guy so up to now I have had limited exposure to our Ethernet Fabrics strategy, VCS technology and VDX products. So this was my first real look into an alternate universe full of IP storage switching capabilities.


For those fibre channel technologists like me, who are reading this blog and are low information users concerning IP switching, the commercial here is that compared to classic hierarchical Ethernet architectures, Brocade Ethernet Fabrics provide higher levels of performance, utilization, availability, and operational simplicity to meet the business needs for that segment of users. Sounds a lot like our fibre channel story doesn’t it! Anyway, it was exactly what Blair was looking for! You can discover more information about how Brocade is leading the way in Ethernet Fabrics by looking here:


Brocade’s Virtual Cluster Switching (VCS) Fabric technology fits into the Ethernet Fabric strategy by decreasing the operational costs of networking through a highly reliable, simple, high performance, scalable networking infrastructure. Click here for more information about our leading edge VCS technology:


The Brocade VDX product line delivers on the promise of the Brocade VCS Fabric technology. It is certain that Brocade's leadership position in Ethernet fabrics has been bolstered by the rapid customer adoption for this Brocade switching product line which began shipping in December 2010. More information on our ICX and VDX IP switching products can be found here:


What we were able to show Blair at the Brocade booth was how simple it was to build a VCS Fabric using a single tool – cables.  It doesn't get much easier than that. Blair was shown how quick and easy it was, with just a little knowledge of where components were connected into the fabric, to cable up a reliable and performance oriented Ethernet Fabric. And when a cable was removed, nothing happened to the live application traffic, it just continued to run. That was a compelling difference between VCS Fabric technology which Brocade offers and the older, more classic Spanning Tree for layer 2 networks that Blair was familiar with. Brocade VCS Fabrics are auto-healing with automatic traffic rerouting in less than the blink of an eye.


So Brocade and Blair are forging a new alliance and I have made a new friend.


It was a good day!


And this good day came not from my comfort level in mainframes but from an alternative line of Brocade storage switching with which I am now more familiar.


Stepping out of one’s comfort level is a good thing to do now and then. Try it, you’ll like it -- I did!


In summary, it has been an eventful and exhausting conference but I feel good about my contributions; I’ve enjoyed networking with the many old and new friends that were at the conference; I’ve enjoyed introducing some of the attendees at this conference to the Brocade family and its lineup of products and capabilities; I am feeling good that my own knowledge and capabilities have been enhanced; and my already solid confidence in Brocade and its people and products has been reinforced to a new and higher level. I am even more proud than I was to be a contributor on the Brocade team.


As I end this blog series I want to personally thank all of my hard-working, dedicated and knowledgeable friends and associates at Brocade that drove our message home and made this conference much more interesting and beneficial for all of the attendees. All of you do terrific work! It is a pleasure and honor to be on your team.


And for all you blog readers out there, if you haven't looked into Brocade products recently -- you just don't know how much you are missing!


David Lytle

Global Solutions Specialist

System z Technologies and Solutions

Brocade Communications Systems, Inc.