Brocade recruiting staff to broaden its services appeal

Aiming to reduce its reliance on hardware, storage switch vendor Brocade is ramping up local operations and recruiting staff as part of its move into software and services.

Leveraging its significant market share in Fibre Channel SAN switches, Brocade's service offerings are already gaining traction in Australia with the company set to announce its first appointment to head up the division locally.

The company will initially employ five staff across the region with APAC regional director Deb Dutta confirming work has already begun with Australian customers to implement Brocade's new offerings.

To provide direct customer support, Brocade is establishing a new telecall centre in either India or China.

"We are serious about services and believe this is an opportunity to put our SAN experience to use," Dutta said.

Refuting claims the company is simply following in the steps of EMC or Network Appliance, Dutta said services become relevant when a vendor acquires a level of expertise in a specific area.

"It's not about following EMC but a matter of being qualified," he said.

Brocade claims more than two million servers are attached to its storage switches, which directs traffic on more than 100,000 storage area networks (SANS).

To craft the company's new vision, Dutta said Brocade sought feedback from customers who felt the company could expand on its present offerings which led to the release of its Tapestry products which includes the introduction of a data migration module.

Dutta said there are three stages to the evolution of SANS - to connect, consolidate and control.

"But it isn't easy to maintain that control when you have invested heavily in SANS but you have 100 branch offices all with their own data; you need to bring that data back so there is the same level of response times right across the company," he said.

"With our new migration module we can tell you how long that will take and can do server provisioning."

Internal investment in new storage management software is continuing with more products being developed for release in the coming year, most will be based on the Tapestry "intelligent" switch platform.

Today Brocade has 4Gps switches that support as many as 256 ports at the high end.

As enterprises consolidate their networks and increase storage demands, they are shifting toward higher-density switches and increased port capacities, a key target of Brocade's new products, according to Dell'Oro Group analyst John Carvell.

"Companies that serve this market, such as Brocade and McData, are seeing strong growth because customers need more intelligence in their SANS," he said.

Bob Francis contributed to this report

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