Brocade Moves to Ease Storage Management

Storage virtualization may finally have found a home in storage networking switches.

Storage virtualization may finally have found a home in storage networking switches.

The latest offerings of the widely hyped but sparsely implemented technology, which lets users manage disparate storage as a single pool, come as software loaded on Brocade Communications Systems Inc. switches, officials said Monday.

Running storage management software on network switches instead of on actual servers or storage eases management and requires fewer license purchases. The announcements came today at Brocade Conference 2003 in Las Vegas.

EMC Corp. hasnt yet named its version of the Brocade Fabric Application Platform, but will begin shipping it by early 2004, depending on Brocades final time frame, said officials in Hopkinton, Mass. EMC will also include quality-of-service monitoring software, officials said.

Computer Associates International Inc., working with startup StoreAge Networking Technologies Inc., also is readying software to run on Brocade switches, said CA officials in Islandia, N.Y. CA is tailoring its BrightStor Resource Manager while StoreAge, of Irvine, Calif., will adapt its Storage Virtualization Manager tool, officials said. CA and StoreAge will jointly sell and market the bundle, officials said.

EMC and CA join Palo Alto, Calif.-based Hewlett-Packard Co. as major vendors supporting Brocades network-based software plan, even though all three companies make server-based storage software of their own.

The new switches will cost significantly more than traditional storage switches, Brocade officials have previously said.

Also at the annual user conference, Brocade announced a much-anticipated hot code-load feature for its 128-port SilkWorm 12000 switch. Letting users make configuration changes without rebooting has been widely considered a key advantage of Brocades main rival, Broomfield, Colo.s McData Corp.

Brocade also announced future RADIUS and DH-CHAP security features, the ability to discover new host-bus adapters without using agent software, and a graphical interface for managing high-availability features and network traffic. Ficon support for the SilkWorm 12000 is also new, as is an application programming interface accessed with the Perl language, officials of the San Jose, Calif., firm said. ´

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