Making up ground

Brocade comes out strong after IBM deal and Foundry purchase

Tags: AgreementBrocade Communications Systems IncorporationEconomic crisisUSA
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Making up ground We can help you to do more whilst spending less, both from an operational standpoint and a capital standpoint. - Dave Watkins, vice president, enterprise LAN, EMEA region and Amanda Giddins, EMEA channel director.
By  Julian Pletts Published  July 7, 2009 Network Middle East Logo

At the end of last year Brocade, traditionally known for storage, made a significant purchase in Foundry Networks which saw it move onto the networking scene. In addition to this the vendor has entered into an OEM agreement with IBM around the firm's IP networks, which should see the collaboration begin to make up some ground on Cisco.

However, and despite the fact that Brocade have been heard pointing out that they are the only networking provider other than Cisco that cover the whole spectrum from core to storage, it is unlikely that Cisco will be worrying too much about their place at the top of the podium.

I don’t know if I can say it is a move towards virtualisation. It is certainly something at the top of most CIO’s priority lists, the desire to be flexible and optimise server capabilities.

Newly appointed EMEA channel director at Brocade, Amanda Giddins, says that networking integrators here in the Middle East are considering their options as end-users also start to think about opting for brands that might come with a lower price tag.

"A lot of the partners are existing IP networking partners and will already have vendors, many being Cisco networking partners and they are looking for alternatives and they are looking for some way to differentiate themselves. I think coming to what we have in our portfolio on the storage networking side and the way the convergence is happening into data centre networks and around virtualisation and cost savings, that offers partners an opportunity to move into that area, rather than just straight IT networking and routing," explained Giddins.

IBM's decision to return to the networking field after almost a decade's absence will not have been taken lightly, points out Giddins, who previously worked at Nortel. She feels it is a very important move that will cement Brocade's networking credentials and allow it to gain serious traction in the Middle East over the coming few years.

But which market opportunities and trends will Brocade be making a play for with its renewed and expanded networking make up?

Dave Watkins, vice president of enterprise LAN for the EMEA region, says there is still a long way to go when it comes to full adoption of virtualisation in the Middle East, no matter how much vendors espouse the benefits of it.

"I don't know if I can say it is a move towards virtualisation, it is certainly something that is at the top of most CIO's priority lists, the desire to be flexible and to optimise the inherent server capabilities that they have with the global economic downturn affecting this region like it is other regions for different reasons, and in a different manner," said Watkins.

"Generally speaking, the CIOs want to be flexible and want to be able to move quickly and they want to be able to make the best use of their current server technology and technology that they use in the future," he added.

Despite this desire Watkins also feels that it is much more likely that the Middle East will see a gradual shift to virtualisation, one which starts with looking at what can be done to maximise the efficiency of current applications and servers.

"It is one of those important building blocks and you certainly need to be heading in that direction if you want to maintain your flexibility as a business or an organisation," continued Watkins.

"So you are tracking it but not yet deploying solutions that are fully virtualised, some elements are virtualised such as FCoE, converged network adaptors, so that you have the ability to have a converged data centre and utilise some of the new technologies as they become reasonable to use."

Whether or not the switch to virtualisation takes place rapidly in the Middle East, it is clear that virtualised environments offer the end-user some significant opportunities for savings. And cost savings is something that Brocade says that it, has been focusing on to tackle CIOs current concerns.

"It's about cost and efficiency. We can help you to do more whilst spending less, both from an operational standpoint and from a capital standpoint. You have got to look at the price per port of the product, the price performance of the product and the space that it takes up in the cabinet, in some instances hosting that costs you money and you really want to have a reduced return on investment related to efficiency, how much power you are using and cooling," said Watkins.

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