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Brocade unveils vision for the virtual enterprise

Brocade today introduced a new technology architecture – the CloudPlex –  that outlines the company’s vision and the technology investments it will make to help its customers evolve their data centres and IT resources and migrate them to the virtual enterprise. The announcement was  made at the company’s annual Technology Day Summit taking place in San Jose, California.

Brocade intends to deliver on this vision through the Brocade CloudPlex architecture, an open, extensible framework intended to enable customers to build the next generation of distributed and virtualised data centres in a simple, evolutionary way that preserves their ability to dictate all aspects of the migration. What is unique about the Brocade Cloudplex architecture is that it is both the foundation for integrated compute blocks, but it also embraces a customer’s existing multi-vendor infrastructure to unify all of their assets into a single compute and storage domain.

Brocade CloudPlex meets the goal of the Brocade One strategy, designed to help companies transition smoothly to a world where information and applications can reside anywhere by delivering solutions that deliver unmatched simplicity, non-stop performance, application optimisation and investment protection.

“Virtualisation has fundamentally changed the nature of applications by detaching them from their underlying IT infrastructure and introducing a high degree of application mobility across the entire enterprise,” said Dave Stevens, chief technology officer at Brocade, addressing the gathering of press and analysts at the Technology Day Summit 2011. “This is the concept of the virtual enterprise that we feel unleashes the true potential of cloud computing in all its forms – private, hybrid and public.”

Through the CloudPlex architecture, Brocade will help its customers scale their IT environments from managing hundreds of virtual machines (VMs) in certain classes of servers to tens of thousands of VMs that are distributed and mobilised across their entire enterprise and throughout the cloud. According to Gartner, the expansion of VMs not only improves automation and reduces operational expenses, it is the primary requirement for IT organisations to migrate to cloud architectures.

Gartner advises that “IT organisations pursuing virtualisation should have an overall strategic plan for cloud computing and a roadmap for the future, and should plan proactively. Further, these organisations must focus on management and process change to manage virtual resources, and to manage the speed that virtualisation enables, to avoid virtualisation sprawl.”

The Brocade Cloudplex architecture will define the stages and the components from Brocade and its partners that are required to get to the virtual enterprise. The stages comprise three main categories – fabrics, globalisation and open technologies – with some of these components being available today while others are in development or on the roadmap of Brocade’s engineering priorities.

The currently available components are:

  • Networks comprised of Ethernet fabrics and Fibre Channel fabrics as the flat, fast and simple foundation designed to scale to highly virtualised IT environments;
  • Multiprotocol fabric adapters for simplified server I/O consolidation;
  • High-performance application delivery products necessary for load balancing network traffic across distributed data centres.

The components on the roadmap are:

  • Integrated, tested and validated solution bundles of server, virtualisation, networking and storage resources called Brocade Virtual Compute Blocks. An integral element of the Brocade CloudPlex architecture, Brocade will enable its systems partners and integrators to deliver Virtual Compute Block solutions comprising servers, hypervisors, storage, and cloud-optimised networking in pre-bundled, pre-racked configurations with unified support;
  • Powerful and universal fabric and network extension delivered through a new platform capable of supporting a number of IP, SAN and mainframe extension technologies including virtual private LAN services (VPLS), Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP) and FICON;
  • An advancement of Brocade Fabric ID technology called “Cloud IDs” that enables simple and secure isolation and mobility of VMs for native multi-tenancy cloud environments;
  • An open framework for management, provisioning and integration designed to promote multi-vendor and system-to-sytem interoperability specifically for cloud environments. These include Brocade products supporting OpenStack software for storage, compute and Software-Defined Networking (SDN) capabilities enabled through OpenFlow;
  • Unified education, support and services delivered through Brocade and partners to help customers manage this highly distributed virtual enterprise environment.

Check out our Twitter feed @computernewsme to read on our updates from the first day of Brocade’s Technology Day Summit 2011 from San Jose, California.

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