I have always been a big fan of Brocade Fibre Channel switches. They have been the leader in Fibre Channel technology for quite a few years, leading the way in speed, function, price and low power consumption. The Brocade 6510 is truly one of sweetest Fibre Channel switches ever manufactured. With ports on demand (letting you scale from 24 to 48 ports), inflight encryption and compression (which is very very cool), dual redundant power supplies and all the smarts that Brocade have accumulated over 10 years, all packed into 1U. Outstanding!
So I was not surprised to read the results of a report by Demartek comparing it very favourably to the Cisco Nexus 5548UP (thanks to Roger Luethy for pointing the report out). You can find the PDF here:
First up, Brocade did pay Demartek for this analysis, but frankly none of the results surprise me. Comparing an 8 Gbps switch to a 16 Gbps switch is not necessarily fair, but the performance differences are pretty outstanding.
Here is Dennis presenting some of their findings. It is good short video that sets the scene nicely:
The comments in the report about reboots is also interesting. Last time I checked, Brocade CEE switches also needed reboots (due to their use of FPGAs) for things like code updates. But I certainly agree that Brocades Fibre Channel switches have a great record on not having any disruptive maintenance tasks.
I ponder whether reports like this will sway people considering technology like the Cisco UCS, where each node tends to have 2 x 10 Gbps uplinks and the top of rack Nexus switch is left to handle any FC traffic. While there are not many 16 Gbps end devices out there yet, the pricing I have seen for the 16 Gbps kit means that if you are ordering new switches, going 16 Gbps is a no-brainer – it is competitive and future proofed. Just don’t try and hook any old 2 Gbps kit to a 16 Gbps SFP.
So check out the report, it’s certainly good food for thought….