Brocade Gen6 Fibre Channel prepares businesses for an all-flash world

Brocade continues to bring new features to Fibre Channel, helping companies as they move toward high-performance, all-flash data centers

Brocade Gen6 Fibre Channel prepares businesses for an all-flash world
Brocade Communications Systems

Last year, Brocade introduced its 32 Gig Fibre Channel portfolio. Gen6, as Brocade calls it, is ideally suited to meet the demands of a digital world that is seeing an explosion of traffic from data center modernization, the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing.

Earlier this week the company announced its new G610 switch. The product is designed to be an entry-level switch that enables businesses to start at eight ports and then expand to 24 ports through a software license. The ports can be configured to run at 16 Gbps today and then upgraded to 32 Gbps when the data demands require it. 

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Since its Gen4 release, Brocade has done a nice job bringing more instrumentation to the network for better management and monitoring. Historically, Ethernet networks offered customers rich telemetry and management capabilities where Fibre Channel was more of a black box. If there was an issue on the Fibre Channel network, the administrator was somewhat blind. These days, the company has focused on adding features such as flow monitoring, error correction, performance and health reporting and diagnostics to its Fabric Vision software. And with the release of the G610, the platform now has more reliable forward error correction. 

Also, Fabric Vision now includes VM Insight to provide businesses with greater visibility into VM-level application performance. Through the use of integrated sensors, the new feature enables administrators to monitor VM statistics and quickly find abnormal VM behavior for faster troubleshooting and fault isolation. The data from VM Insight can also be used to predict application performance degradations by looking for anomalies.  

Support for NVMe fabric

The Brocade G610 can support the evolution to a non-volatile memory express (NVMe) fabric. For those not familiar with NVMe, it is a higher-performance, lower-latency alternative to the SCSI interface for transferring data between servers and storage systems. SCSI was created decades ago when storage media were things such as hard drives and tapes. Flash is faster and requires a faster medium. The new Brocade switch lets customers use Fibre Channel to build an NVMe fabric to transmit information for host servers to high-performance NVMe all-flash systems. 

The migration to flash certainly won’t be done overnight, but adoption has been strong and the entry-level G610 gives customers the ability to start small, try it out and then migrate at a pace they are comfortable with. 

Brocade has been the de facto standard for Fibre Channel for years now. The reason it has been able to hold its position is because it continues to innovate a technology that many people thought would be dead by now. Brocade has continued to bring new features to Fibre Channel with every evolutionary step, and as companies move to high-performance, all-flash data centers, those innovations will matter more.

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