Brocade CEO says they've built an easy button for IP networks, are benefiting from SDN/NFV

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I think it’s caused a lot of customers to rethink their architectures, because they know they want to get to SDN/NFV. Quite frankly, if I didn’t have an SDN story I would not be growing my IP revenue in the mid-teens because customers might not be ready to go there yet, but they want to know you can take them when it’s time. There’s a 10-step path. Some customers are at step one and then you’ve got AT&T at step 10, deploying, running hard. A lot of customers are in the middle and they know that if they buy a switch from Brocade today it’s SDN-enabled. They’ll be able to use SDN to manipulate that device. That has been great for us. It’s probably the single biggest reason why a customer who didn’t think about Brocade before thinks Brocade now.

Let’s shift over to the SAN side of the business. What’s new there?

The first year I was here we had all these Solid State Drive vendors in our labs certifying that they’re equipment works on our fibre-channel network because we’re the dominant player in that space. So we created a whole certification program around that. Now something like 60%-80% of every flash array is connected to fibre channel. You’re buying an all-flash array because of performance, and what’s the best performing network you can get? It’s fibre channel. So we’re actually seeing good growth in that segment of our fibre channel business.

There’s that and then there’s just raw IP storage. A couple of years ago we floated the idea with customers, saying, “Why do you have this shared network? It’s not deterministic. If you want performance, you want to understand guaranteed IOPS into your Oracle database. You don’t want traffic from the Final Four basketball games on the same network as your storage traffic. Why don’t you create a separate IP storage network?”

So it’s an IP network only for storage. It’s not for surfing the Web, it’s not for other transactions you might be doing across your company. Just as you created specific SAN storage networks, now you create an IP net for storage. Besides predictable performance, one of the side benefits is security. You know who accesses the network, who has the ability to traverse this network.

We’re seeing more and more people move towards IP storage as a complement to what they have. It’s a good trend for us. A recent report said something like 70% percent of companies are either going to build IP storage-only networks or plan to do so within the next year.

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