Brocade recently announced a new, entry-level G610 Gen 6 Fibre Channel (FC) switch for their customers and OEMs that provides 24-port, 32Gbps FC in an affordable package.
New G610 Gen6 Fibre Channel switch hardware
Brocade’s new G610 is an affordable FC switch for those environments that only need one or two SAN switches in their network or for top of rack configurations. These FC switches are often bundled into converged infrastructure or with SAN storage sales, so they need to be economical but also perform well.
The new Brocade G610 switch comes in an 8 to 24 port configuration and supports 16 or 32 Gbps FC interfaces. The base G610 comes with 8 ports and 16 Gbps FC optics but the optics can be upgraded to 32 Gbps and ports can be added in groups of 8 (to 16 or 24) ports.
All of Brocade’s Gen 5 and Gen 6 FC switches and directors natively support NVMe over Fabric, so out of the box they are all capable of supporting any new next-gen NVMe flash storage systems.
Brocade offers the base G610 8-port/16 Gbps optics switch at a MSRP of under $8000 but pricing varies significantly by channel/OEM, so check with your vendors to see what discounts they may provide.
New Gen6 Software
All Gen 6 Brocade switches and directors now support Fabric Vision and VM Insight software functionality that is designed to make deploying and managing new FC fabrics much easier in VMware environments.
VM Insight allows for end-to-end monitoring of VM IO traffic over Gen 6 fabrics. This can be used to diagnose server, networking or storage issues that may be impacting IO performance. With VM Insight, operators can establish alerts to be sent when VMs exceed their IO thresholds or other parameters on the FC fabric so that admins can be notified in real time when fabric problems emerge rather than after the fact.
Brocades Gen 6 Fabric Vision provides advanced capabilities like:
- Flow Vision, which identifies, monitors and analyzes the performance of specific flows or frame types,
- MAPS, which provides automation that simplifies policy (threshold) based monitoring and alerting,
- Dashboards, which provides customizable fabric health and performance information on a single screen.
- ClearLink Diagnostics, which supplies cable and optic diagnostics that simplifies deployments and support of FC fabrics,
- COMPASS, which simplifies SAN configuration and helps to maintain consistent fabric behavior.
Data growth shows no end in sight as more and more of corporate activities move into the digital sphere. Faster fabrics and networks matter and often provide significant performance boosts for bandwidth intensive activities. And with NVMe based flash and other higher performing technologies just around the corner, fabric performance will take on even more significance in the overall application response times. Faster networks will matter more in the future not less.
The Brocade G610 joins the G620 (24-48 port) and X6 directors in Brocade’s Gen 6 FC lineup. The new switch is just the latest in a long line of economical, entry-level FC switches provided by Brocade to their OEM, channel and direct customers. The fact that it’s available for ~$1K/port puts it on par with other high end, lossless Ethernet fabrics on a $/port basis, and as such, makes it an easy choice for current and future SAN storage environments.
The fact that NVMe over Fabric is natively available and there’s no need to deal with the bifurcation of RDMA protocols on Ethernet, makes it an easy choice for the next data center fabric.
The recent acquisition of Brocade by Broadcom is expected to close in its third fiscal quarter which ends in July but in the meantime data center fabrics wait for no (one) company. Brocade has taken a good step for FC fabrics with the G610, and it should make many SAN customers and OEMs very happy.
[Also we offer more block storage performance information plus our OLTP, Email and Throughput ChampionsCharts™ in our recently updated (May 2017) SAN Storage Buying Guide, or for more information on protocol performance results please see our recently updated (April 2017) SAN-NAS Storage Buying Guide, both of which are available for purchase on our website.]
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Silverton Consulting, Inc., is a U.S.-based Storage, Strategy & Systems consulting firm offering products and services to the data storage community