Director-class switch dustup between Brocade and Cisco over Miercom lab test results

Cisco reviewed my March 3, 2009 blog post: Miercom lab test results: Brocade DCX vs. Cisco MDS 9513 and 9509 And brought to my attention that it has also worked with Miercom on director-class switches from Brocade and Cisco using the same test methodologies but with different 8G line card configurations. Source: Miercom

Brocade Statement Regarding the New Cisco Miercom Lab Test:

This report contains no new information. We’ve dispelled these claims in a detailed report of our own, see the report on Miercom's web site. An executive summary is also available for download. Their testing focused on maximum aggregate throughput and scalability using 8-Gbps traffic generators, along with real-world 8-Gbps application traffic. In-depth analysis of power consumption, reliability, and management was also conducted. Based upon these test results, the Brocade DCX Backbone was rated best in scalability, throughput, and energy efficiency, and proved to have "very effective high availability capabilities". Quotes from the February 2009 Miercom Lab Test Report include: ------------------------------------ "The Brocade DCX proved in testing to offer four times the number of ports that can be used for dedicated 8-Gbps line rate traffic simultaneously compared to the Cisco MDS 9513." "The Brocade DCX proved in testing to offer four times the number of ports that can be used for dedicated 8-Gbps line rate traffic simultaneously compared to the Cisco MDS 9513." "Brocade DCX passed the industry's first 128 port full 8-Gbps Fibre Channel test without frame loss." "The Brocade DCX proved more capacity than the Cisco MDS 9509 and 9513 on tests for overall aggregate throughput." "The Brocade DCX reflects an almost three times reduction in power consumption when compared to the Cisco MDS 9513." "The Brocade DCX is clearly designed to exceed data center customers' reliability expectations." "Two DCX switches could interconnect using up to four ICLs with no ports sacrificed to provide capacity for up to 768 ports of 8-Gbps Fibre Channel." "The DCX with two 48-port 8-Gbps blades delivered full line rate performance using the 256-Gbps slot-backplane bandwidth available combined with local switching." "DCFM (Data Center Fabric Manager) is an effective tool to assist administrators to optimize storage resources, maximize performance of the system and help maintain security." ------------------------------------ The Brocade DCX supports 4 times the number of 8-Gbps ports as the Cisco MDS 9513, even without local switching. For more information please visit: http://www.brocade.com/data-center-best-practices/competitive-information/performance.page As evidenced by our recent market share gains in the Fibre Channel switching space, reported by Dell’Oro, we believe that customers clearly view the DCX as the superior storage networking platform.

Source: Miercom Cisco Response to Brocade's Statement:

Contrary to what Brocade stated, the April 2009 Miercom Report contains additional test results for the Brocade DCX that were not included in the February 2009 Report. The new results are described beginning on page 4 under the heading, "Mixed Speed Tests" and continue through page 5. The report states: ------------------------------------ "Cisco MDS proved it could pass all tests with the mixed speed environment, whereas in certain conditions the Brocade DCX would exhibit a reduced throughput by as much as 50% for the 8-Gbps connection from 840 MBps to 420 MBps when concurrent mixed speed traffic load of 31 ports of 4-Gbps traffic was applied." "The DCX also exhibited varying ranges of latency in excess of 100 usec in some of the test iterations." ------------------------------------ In the April 2009 MDS vs. DCX report, Miercom found Cisco MDS 9509 and 9513 Director Class switches with 8-Gbps fibre channel traffic load to offer the most reliable and non-blocking throughput as compared to Brocade DCX. Miercom also presented Cisco with a Rated Best Miercom Award for the MDS 9509 and MDS 9513 at EMC World, April 2009. According to Miercom: ------------------------------------ "The MDS 9509 and 9513 outperformed the DCX in fully loaded line card tests with error free throughput. The MDS 9509 and 9513 also proved to be the only products that could handle full 8-Gbps Fibre Channel traffic load without reported error or frame loss during any of the tests conducted regardless of the testing configuration." "The Cisco MDS exhibited no frame loss, sequence errors or other anomalies during our testing. Additional stress tests conducted were unsuccessful in causing the Cisco MDS to fail with error conditions or dropped frames. The MDS exhibited predictable performance throughout testing and our engineers described the testing as "uneventful". When testing the Brocade DCX, frame loss and sequence errors were reported by both the Finisar and Agilent test equipment which was set up with different but similar test tool configurations. This was specifically observed when using the Exchange Based Routing feature, which is the default routing policy for the Brocade DCX." "When Fibre Channel switches were compared in extreme environments with mixed speeds (2-, 4-, 8-Gbps FC), and are required to handle close to line rate capacity, only one product passed all mixed speed throughput tests--the Cisco MDS." ------------------------------------

Source: Miercom Brocade's Final Take on both the Cisco Response and the Claims Made by the New Miercom Lab Test:

Figures... here is our official response to Cisco’s claims: 1. We have done stress tests with the DCX for real-world (not useless, hypothetical environment) Fibre Channel applications and the DCX passed with flying colors. 2. It was only in February when Miercom declared the DCX as "best in class." 3. As indicated by our recent marketshare gains, customers are voting for Brocade with their wallets because they know Brocade builds quality, high-performance storage networking products such as the DCX and we’re committed to the Fibre Channel market for the long-haul. The rest of Cisco’s points are based on contrived, gerrymandered nonsensical tests and we refuse to engage in such baseless and specious arguments.
View more Cisco vs. Competitor Lab Tests
Why do I get a sense that this scrappy competition between Cisco and Brocade is actually a very good thing for enterprise customers? BradReese.Com Cisco Refurbished - Services that protect, maintain and optimize Cisco hardware Contact: Brad Reese | Twitter: http://twitter.com/BradReese
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