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Mainframe Solutions

Top 5 Reasons Why Brocade Should Be Your FICON Partner of Choice.

by Dr.Steve.Guendert ‎03-17-2014 07:46 AM - edited ‎03-18-2014 12:55 PM (9,250 Views)

For more than 20 years, Brocade Communications has served as the undisputed market leader in mainframe attached storage networking solutions, with all 30 of the world’s largest banks as customers.  Working closely with IBM Poughkeepsie and mainframe storage OEMs, Brocade has established a reputation in the industry for delivering innovative, high performance, energy efficient, and standards-based products that ensure high availability and high performance storage connectivity for an enterprise’s most business-critical applications and data.  Brocade is your ideal partner for traditional mainframe storage networking, long distance channel extension for GDPS, zLinux storage networking, and the evolution to cloud computing.


Brocade Competitive Advantages


1)      Experience and Deep Expertise.  Brocade’s FICON experience and deep networking expertise is unmatched. Brocade has been in the mainframe storage networking business for more than two decades, going back to parallel channel extension technology in the late 1980s.  In addition to pioneering ESCON channel extension emulation technology to enable superior performance over long distances for business continuity/disaster recovery (BC/DR), Brocade manufactured the 9032-5 ESCON director for IBM.  Brocade worked closely with IBM to develop FICON technology, and delivered a complete portfolio of industry leading FICON directors and switches, increasing the performance, reliability and availability features at every step.  As a result, Brocade has several patents and shares patents with IBM on technologies such as the FICON bridge card, and Control Unit Port (CUP).  Brocade also launched the industry’s first FICON certification and accreditation program, a top rated program that even certifies IBM personnel.  Today, Brocade continues our heritage of innovation and mainframe storage networking leadership with the industry’s first Gen 5 16 Gbps DCX 8510 Backbone, a full portfolio of 8 and 16 Gbps FICON switches, innovative monitoring and diagnostic tools that further increase availability and simplify management, and FICON channel extension with emulation technology, enabling new FICON applications over any distance. 


2)      Superior Performance.  Brocade offers significant performance advantages over the competition.


  • Wire speed 16 Gbps performance. Brocade announced the industry’s first 16 Gbps non-blocked solution -- the Brocade DCX 8510 Backbone – well before the competition even supported 8 Gbps.  Brocade FICON directors are the ONLY proven products in the market today that can support non-oversubscribed full duplex 16 Gbps bandwidth on all ports that a System z LPAR can address. While System z and mainframe storage do not offer 16Gbps connectivity today, IBM Mainframe customers running their FICON SAN on the Brocade DCX8510 are positioned for 16Gbps FICON.  Today, they are able to take advantage of 16Gbps speeds on their interswitch links (ISLs), and enjoy optimal performance on FICON Express8 and FICON Express8s channels running zHigh Performance FICON (zHPF).


  • Long distance.  Brocade’s 7800 Extension Switch and FX8-24 Extension Blade for the Brocade DCX 8510 Backbone offer the industry’s best FICON performance over distance for your GDPS architecture, remote DASD copy, or electronic tape vaulting needs.  With the industry’s only FICON qualified 10 Gbps Ethernet FCIP support, FCIP trunking, and unique emulation capabilities, Brocade’s FCIP extension solutions are the gold standard in the industry, extending and optimizing zGlobal Mirror, tape and virtual tape backup applications, as well as Teradata data warehousing systems. 


  • Low latency.  The Brocade DCX 8510 offers the lowest and most deterministic latency on the market. When a frame traverses the backplane on a Brocade DCX 8510, latency is on the order of a mere 2 microseconds. The DCX 8510 is able to accomplish this high level of performance due to the use of “cut through” frame routing, which enables the frame to begin forwarding to its destination while it is still being received. Brocade’s local switching capability for data traffic within the same port group further reduces latency to about 700 nanoseconds.   In contrast, the competition uses“store and forward” architecture, with switch latency in the 10-20 microsecond range, and a new platform architecture that doesn't support local switching. 


  • UltraScale Inter-Chassis Links.  Not only does Brocade offer the highest line rate performance, Brocade is the only vendor that implements Inter Chassis Links (ICLs) to deliver more useable director ports. UltraScale ICLs interconnect multiple chassis together without having to use up valuable channel and control unit ports.  With UltraScale ICL’s, every FC port is available for device connectivity.  And with up to 2 Tbps of ICL bandwidth available on the Brocade DCX 8510, and new 100 meter universal optical cables, you can ensure a cost-efficient, highly scalable design.  Competitive designs must use front-end director ports for interconnectivity, wasting 25-35 percent of the FC ports and using 8x more cable for ISL connectivity.


3)      Highest Energy Efficiency.  Brocade products use fewer active components in order to drive energy usage down while maximizing throughput speed.  Because of our efficient product design, our products use as little as 1/10the the power of our competition.  Brocade delivers the highest energy efficiency, and that translates to real operational savings.


4)      Most Reliable.  The Brocade DCX 8510 Backbone directors again lead the way by a wide margin over the competition when considering Reliability, Availability and Serviceability (RAS). With millions of ports deployed in mission critical applications in all major verticals around the world, Brocade’s storage OEM partners consistently rank Brocade products #1 in terms of reliability, having achieved well over five nines of availability in field proven applications.


5)      Ease of Deployment and Mmanagement.  FICON can be easily deployed with Brocade DCX 8510 Backbone directors, using simple zoning and z/OS HCD definitions. Award winning Brocade Fabric Vision technology provides an automated threshold-based monitoring and alerting solution and diagnostic tools that increase availability and reduce operational costs.  Brocade Network Advisor offers centralized configuration management, performance monitoring and security tracking in a single pane of glass. Competitive offerings, in addition to HCD definitions, require ports be placed in a Virtual SAN (VSAN), a complex and time consuming exercise. VSANs in a FICON environment also restrict the number of ports available for host and storage connectivity. 


Brocade is Your Best FICON Partner


With over 20 years of experience, Brocade is the only partner to work with IBM from the early Bus & Tag and ESCON days--to now delivering the industry’s highest performing FICON directors.  The Brocade DCX 8510 Backbone director’s superior performance, scalability, reliability, ease of use, and energy efficiency--as well as our extensive experience in mainframe storage networking-- make Brocade the best and safest choice for your mission critical mainframe applications.


Add it all up and it is obvious why all 30 of the world's largest banks run their business on a Brocade FICON SAN.  So, if they are, why would you trust anyone else?  


Dr. Steve