Brocade has introduced two entry-level San switches aimed at SMEs, a move welcomed by the channel.
The firm's Silkworm 3250 and 3850 switches can offer similar performance and reliability to its enterprise switches by using a new customisable ASIC chip, Brocade claimed.
"An accusation levelled at the storage market was that products were too expensive and complex for SMEs," said Paul Trowbridge, Brocade's marketing manager for northern Europe. "VARs can now sell entry-level switches, then add features simply."
VARs can turn on extra switch features when needed for San expansion using software licence keys.
Optional features include performance monitoring, switch fabric security and trunking which links up to four 2Gbps Fibre Channel lines together to link switches at up to 8Gbps.
A further simplicity aid is an optional set-up wizard to ease SAN configuring.
Both models contain at least two switches with fail-over plus redundant power supplies.
"People are wanting to manage and operate switches," said Simon Gay, consultancy practice leader at Computacenter.
"The trend is towards richer switch functionality and Brocade is well placed. With this we can deliver what customers want now at the cost they will accept."
Brocade plans a series of new OEM agreements as well as selling through its own distributors to meet expected demand.
Hewlett Packard and IBM certification, now completed, will be followed by further OEM deals with StorageTek, EMC, Dell, and others during April.
Gay said OEM agreements are key for Brocade because they provide certification with the vendors' other systems.
"There is no channel conflict. We are integrators so we provide complete solutions," he said.
The eight-port 3250 will replace the existing 3200, but the 16-port 3850 will be sold alongside the 16-port 3800 as this provides hot-swappable components.
Although set by the OEMs, Gay said he expects end-user pricing to start at about £2,725, falling to about 15-20 per cent below previous models.
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