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5/31/2005
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Brocade Weaves New Storage Tapestry

Tapestry software provides automated provisioning and activation of servers and related application resources, as well as new Wide Area File Services capabilities.

Brocade Communications Systems Inc. on Tuesday unveiled its Tapestry family of applications, which includes software for automated provisioning and activation of servers and related application resources, as well as a new Wide Area File Services (WAFS) solution.

Brocade Tapestry Application Resource Manager (ARM) dynamically provisions and activates server hardware, complete operating system images and storage while automatically managing the complex inter-relationships among them. A second element, Tapestry WAFS, lets organizations centrally manage file data without compromising speed or security for remote users across a wide area network (WAN), and is the only Windows-based WAFS product on the market, Brocade claimed.

The ARM set of capabilities came from Brocade's acquisition of Therion Software in early May; the WAFS capability derives from a $7.5 million investment in Tacit Networks, according to Brocade's Tom Biel.

The vendor on Tuesday also unveiled two additions to its SilkWorm line of storage area network (SAN) switches with a 4-gigabit Fibre Channel switches for OEMs. On the high end is the SilkWorm 48000 with 256 ports of connectivity; on the low end is the 200E with eight ports, and software-expandable to 16 ports. Brocade also unveiled a number of professional services to help partners and customers with design, installation, operation, and support of their SANs and data centers.

The Tapestry pieces won the most effusive praise from analysts. "This is a great new direction for Brocade because now they're beginning to leverage the server and application layers' expertise in shared storage," said Brad O'Neill, senior analyst with the Taneja Group. Other vendors have tried to build application and server management, but some sort of proprietary piece left the storage element out of the management mix, he noted. But Brocade can leverage the storage switch via the Therion software, which solves the storage issue by using an inband device and divorcing the physical server from the application itself.

With ARM and WAFS, the challenge will be how Brocade manages OEM relationships, since they've moved into an new area that is potentially competitive with their own customers, O'Neill added.

"Over the next 12 months, you're going to see massive adoption of these kinds of WAFS technologies. There are huge issues with relation to branch office storage, since backups aren't consolidated around standard best practices," he explained. "WAFS is the best new approach to eliminating some of those concerns," he said, pointing to startups like Riverbed and Tacit that are working to crack the same nut.

The Tapestry software and new SilkWorm switches will ship in the fall.

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