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How Brocade plans to tackle the Big Data opportunity

Growing interest around cloud computing is accelerating the build out of datacentres around the world including Asia. At the same time, enterprises that can afford their own datacentre infrastructure are discovering that they need to accelerate upgrades to support new applications. IDC predicts that migrations to fabric-based datacentre architectures must be done in a way that “ensures stability for existing mission-critical applications while enabling greater simplicity, reliability, and performance for a growing spectrum of virtualized business-critical applications.”
 
IDC predicts that spending on high-speed (8Gbps and 16Gbps) Fibre Channel (FC) and 10GbE switch ports will reach US$10.7 billion in 2014, representing 90% of the datacentre switch revenue, driven by both fast-growing storage traffic and support for virtualization.
 
StorageAsean recently spoke to Adam Judd, Brocade’s newly appointed vice president for Asia Pacific, to understand the vendor’s strategy and direction in the coming years.
 
 
StorageAsean: Brocade was built on providing fibre networking components for SAN. Is that still the core of your business today?
 
Adam: Brocade’s heritage is in storage area networks or SAN, where we own over 75 percent of market share globally. With the acquisition of Foundry Networks in 2008, Brocade entered the datacentre networking space. That was when we started launching our industry-changing Ethernet fabric products and establishing ourselves as a major player in the datacentre networking space.
 
In late 2012, Brocade acquired Vyatta, a developer of open-source based network software, which enabled us to bolster our software networking capabilities. Our “On-Demand Data Centre” strategy combines physical and virtual networking features to simplify and scale network resources. By uniting separate aspects of virtual and physical networking across a cloud framework, the datacentre delivers simplicity, scalability and resource usage.
 
Therefore, today, Brocade’s core business is focused on datacentre networking based on Ethernet fabrics and software networking, with a focus on virtual routing, based on open network infrastructures. We have more Ethernet fabric customers (1,400) and virtual router downloads (1.3 million) than any of our competitors. We will continue to build on our leadership positions in these two spaces and develop open, thriving SDN ecosystems.
 
 
StorageAsean: This year seems to be the year of Big Data. What does Big Data mean to you and does Brocade have a part to play in the Big Data surge?
 
Adam: Big Data are data sets that are too large for typical database software applications. Simply put, they are a lot of large unstructured voice, video and text data.
 
Brocade has a big part to play in the Big Data surge. Embarking on a Big Data program means an influx of data into the network. If the network is not prepared to handle and sort this data it could result in inaccurate analytics or even network downtime. This is where Brocade comes in. We help enterprises prepare their networks in order to meet their present and future Big Data needs and requirements.
 
 
StorageAsean: Do you see BYOD being accepted and incorporated into corporate IT in Asia this year?
 
Adam: Over the last 3 years we have seen a steady increase in BYOD acceptance and adoption by enterprises in Asia as understanding and prevention of risks, namely security and infrastructure capacity, has become more sophisticated. We expect to see this trend to gain momentum in 2014.
 
 
StorageAsean: It may seem difficult to see how Brocade is relevant in the BYOD space, but I know it’s an area of focus for you. Why is that?
 
Adam: Big Data are one of the key technology disruptions that are forcing enterprises to fundamentally rethink how networks should be architected, designed, deployed and operated in datacentres. Enterprises need to prepare their datacentres to handle and sort large amounts of data. Brocade helps enterprises build networks and datacentres that are powerful and resilient, without encountering any disruptions. Ethernet Fabric technology and SDN establish a great foundation for enterprises looking to first dip a toe in the water of Big Data, because it is as flexible as it is robust – allowing enterprises to scale their networks to meet varied Big Data demands.
 
 
StorageAsean: At StorageAsean you will see we still have a high "adoption" rating for data protection and DR in our Hot Data Technology Index. Do you see the same?
 
Adam: Data protection and disaster recovery (DR) will always keep CIOs up at night, especially as we move towards an “on-demand environment” where businesses operate across the clock. Network downtime or a loss of data more often than not can lead to a loss of business revenue. We find that security concerns are the biggest barrier to moving towards a cloud computing environment while at the same time, enterprises are looking towards the cloud for disaster recovery solutions.
 
It is important that businesses prepare their networks not just to meet present security and data requirements but also future requirements. We partner with a number of industry leaders in the storage and security space to ensure that our customers’ requirements are met.
 
 
StorageAsean: One unique thing about South East Asia is moving data between locations is desirable, but bandwidth can be an issue. Is this an opportunity for Brocade?
 
Adam: Virtualization has meant that many enterprises in South East Asia are slowly moving towards alternate methods of sharing data, either through virtual machines (VMs) or cloud computing. We partner with VMWare and other leading companies to provide cutting edge data mobility solutions as per our customers’ business requirements.
 
 
StorageAsean: How does Brocade engage with cloud providers and datacentres?
 
Adam: Creating a “as a service” business is difficult, and building a network infrastructure that is scalable and resilient while managing capital and operating expenses can be a very significant challenge.
 
Brocade helps cloud service providers meet these challenges with solutions based on our Ethernet fabric technologies, enabling cloud service providers to build networks that scale without disruption. This allows cloud service providers to add services on demand and reduce costs associated with network changes and additions.
 
 
StorageAsean: What are your plans and aspirations for Brocade in your new role in Asia?
 
Adam: Brocade is in a unique position to capture historic technology shifts such as SDN and Cloud through our strength in execution. Now is a great time to rejoin the industry, and I am very excited to lead Brocade in APAC by building on its strengths and understanding customer needs
 
Brocade has led the industry on many fronts, including Ethernet fabrics, network virtualization and software-defined networking. I am committed to working closely with our customers and partners in meeting their needs and bringing these innovations to them in the most accessible way.
 
 
StorageAsean: Which markets in ASEAN excite you the most and why?
 
Adam: The ASEAN region is extremely dynamic because each country is at a different stage of development and comes with its own unique challenges and opportunities. I am looking forward to working with the team to focus our energies on understanding these challenges and opportunities and bringing these innovations to our customers in the most accessible way.

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