A new brocade

Khalid Khalil, regional sales manager, CEMA at Brocade reveals to NME the company’s plans following its recent Foundry Networks acquisition.

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By  Sathya Mithra Ashok Published  September 21, 2008

That makes for more long term roadmap and discussion. So you can be sure that the synergies which lie in the different skills and talents and technologies will be leveraged by listening to the customers, to provide even more integrated solutions.

We have started the integration planning,  and we are in the process of strategising for the future. We will discuss the integration process. Other concerned decisions are currently in the process of being made.

These decisions will be announced in due course as appropriate, when the transaction is approved and closed.

Listening to customers and partners, there is a strong desire on their part to have an alternative to Cisco. This is what we want to be.

When are we likely to see the first integrated solution from Brocade?

It depends on the integration planning, but if you look at the current product portfolios of both companies and the success they are having, then you see that those solutions at the moment are very much targeted at what the markets want to buy. We at Brocade had a technology day in New York, where we outlined our Brocade technology vision and also our vision for technologies like FCOE (fibre channel over Ethernet) and other similar technologies.

This strategy has, in the meantime, not changed. So what you will see is that if you are specifically talking about FCOE and conversion on Ethernet solutions, you will see these products in the market at the beginning of the next year.

How are regional teams going to be changed, if at all? Which teams are likely to grow and which teams are likely to be cut back on?

Gaining talent in some markets, with expertise in enterprise service provider networking technologies, was a key factor in the acquisition. Retention of these and other skills is vitally important.

So we will make final organisational decisions through the integration process and additional details will be forthcoming. But it is an outcome of the integration process, and it is more about how to combine forces in the most effective way, for the best manner of serving customers and partners, than looking for any kind of cost advantages. It is about growth.

We are going to do what we always do. We are going to look at the opportunities in the market, we look at the growth trends in the market and if you had watched Brocade in the last years in EMEA, you would have seen that we are over-proportionately investing in the regions where economic growth is higher.

What you are typically finding if you are running a region like EMEA is that you have extremely large markets in those regions, for example UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Netherlands.

They are very large from a revenue contribution perspective and they are also growing quite nicely. However, economic growth is in the very low single digits. Then you have other regions like Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, the ME and Africa, where you have economic growth in the double digits.This is where we have invested, and will continue to over-proportionately invest.

Basically, we will invest where it just makes business sense. This will include the regions that I am responsible for, namely central eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and Africa, which we do not call emerging countries, because that is a little bit of an insult to these great markets.

We refer to them as the high growth markets, and we will continue to invest in them over-proportionately - before and after closure of the acquisition.

When the announcement was made, everybody was fast to point out that you could be the next Cisco. Is that what you are aiming for?

What we will have created by bringing together two of the best networking teams in the industry is the only credible alternative for customers and partners who are looking for really end-to-end networking. It goes from the edge to high end routers to service provision, metro, WAN, storage extensions, SANs, networking components in the server.

This is also very exciting because what also differentiates us, if you compare the product portfolio, is that we also offer solutions, specifically blade switches and adapters, for blade servers and for stand alone servers.

Also, following on the entire discussion around fibre channel, Ethernet and conversion on Ethernet, you will also see in 2009 that we will bring converged server adapters, which makes FCOE a very big value proposition for server I/O consolidation.

So if you compare all the networking vendors and if you just look at their offerings, when this deal is approved and closed there will be two vendors out there their customers and partners can turn to.

Listening to customers and partners, there is a strong desire on their part to have an alternative to Cisco. This is an articulated, very strong desire, because customers and partners, rightfully and naturally, desire choice. This is what we want to be.

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