Brocade launches smaller, modular backbone switch

Brocade Communication Systems Inc. has announced the DCX-4S Backbone, a smaller, modular version of its multipurpose core network switching platform designed to consolidate server, storage area network (SAN), and data center networks.

Brocade first introduced its 230 pound-DCX switch a year ago.

Compared to the 384-port 8Gbit/sec DCX, the new Brocade DCX-4S Backbone offers up to 192 ports at up to 8 Gbit/sec speed through four modular blade slots using the same basic technology as the larger model.

The DCX-4S comes with Brocade Fabric OS version 6.2, which includes new “Virtual Fabrics” that allow logical partitioning of a physical SAN into logical fabrics. Fabric OS 6.2 also features security updates such as encryption for backup tapes and support for HP Secure Key Management , which offers network-wide encryption for data-at-rest on disk and tape.

The DCX-4S is aimed at midsize enterprises looking to deploy it as a lower-cost core backbone that doesn’t require the throughput and port density of the larger model. Large enterprises can also deploy it at the network edge for backbone-class capabilities throughout their data centers. The Brocade DCX-4S can connect natively to Brocade B-Series and M-Series network environments without disruption.

The DCX-4S also offers a multiprotocol architecture that supports Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) by adding a blade at any time.

“Customers can reduce costs, improve asset utilization and increase energy efficiency in storage environments with high-performance networking solutions,” Bob Wilson, vice president of Hewlett-Packard’s Storage Platforms Division, said in a statement. “HP’s storage hardware, software and services combined with Brocade’s DCX-4S provide a more affordable SAN consolidation solution for the most demanding enterprise data centers.”

The Brocade DCX-4S can be managed using Brocade Data Center Fabric Manager Enterprise or Professional to provide unified management of data center fabrics, from storage ports on networked storage systems to Host Bus Adapters (HBAs) attached to physical or virtualized servers.

Brocade would not release a manufacturer’s suggest retail price for the DCX-4S, saying prices would be determined by resellers. The Brocade DCX-4S Backbone is available today from Brocade and is also from HP and Sun Microsystems .

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