Brocade has announced the G610 Fibre Channel switch. Designed as a low-cost, entry-level switch, the company hopes that customers who purchase the switch will grow into larger deployments over time.
“Once customers get on Fibre Channel, they stay on it for a long time,” said Scott Shimomura, Sr. Director, Product Marketing for Storage Networking Business.
The G610 is a Gen 6 Fibre Channel switch. It’s available in 8, 16, and 24-port models, and is configured out of the box for 16Gbps. Brocade is quoting an MSRP of under $8,000 for the 8-port device, though channel parnters and OEMs will have the final say on pricing.
Customers can upgrade the optics on the 16 and 24-port models to support 32Gbps, which will increase the MSRP by just over 50%, according to Brocade.
As part of the announcement, Brocade also announced new a feature for its Fabric Vision management software called VM Insight. This aims to provide better visibility for virtual machines.
VM Insight provides better visibility from the storage fabric into the virtual environment. Prior to the VM Insight release, Fabric Vision could only see the source ID of Fibre Channel frames for physical servers, not individual VMs.
With VM Insight, HBAs in the servers and adapters in the storage array tag every frame with a VM ID, which provides more insight into how frames are moving through the network.
“It’s very useful for troubleshooting,” said Shimomura. “It can be hard to know if a problem is a server, storage, or fabric issue, so this can give you more information.”
The new switch family also supports NVMe, a specification for boosting performance and reducing latency in flash-based storage.
Brocade positions the G610 for use cases such as “small shared storage fabrics to network edge deployments,” according to the company’s press release.
G610 switches will be available from the channel and from Brocade’s OEM partners, including HPE, Dell EMC, and HDS.
A Billion Dollar Business
The Fibre Channel market is shrinking, but that doesn’t mean it’s not lucrative, particularly as Fibre Channel adherents upgrade to 32Gbps. A 2016 forecast by the Dell’Oro Group predicts revenues of $1 billion by 2020 for Gen 6 Fibre Channel. The analyst firm also anticipates that 32Gpbs port shipments will account for more than half the market over the next three years.
Broadcom Communications wanted a piece of that billion dollars, so last year the chip maker announced it would acquire Brocade’s Fibre Channel business and sell the other parts of the company. (In February 2017, Arris announced it would purchase Brocade’s Ruckus Wireless division and its ICX campus switches.)
Shimomura said the Broadcom acquisition is expected to close by the end of July, but in the meantime it’s business as usual.