At EMCWorld 2012 Brocade CEO Michael Klayko dropped in on theCube for an interview (see video below). Sharing insight on Brocade’s positions, relationship with EMC, and products, Klayko shared some great thoughts on the business and a peek into the current state and future of the company.
Whether the topic is big data, clouds, analytics or the virtualized enterprise, Klayko stakes the importance of the movement of data and the structure of networking in those movements. Mentioning the bifurcation of two interests in the service provider marketplace, one being the focus on bit pipes or how to get the most bits down the pipe as rapidly as possible. The other is value added services, in other words implementing such concepts that face the modern enterprise and technology initiatives, such as seamless movement between touchpoints within the private cloud and from private to public cloud environments. The takeaway is that those technologies are just around the corner and customers now believe that they can get there. Brocade’s technology is one component in that strategy to achieve that.
Brocade itself has gone through an internal transformation to the point at which as of today 80% of its corporate applications are virtualized and 45% of those are in the cloud. A fascinating statistic for an organization of its size, but Klayko rightly adds that none of that is anything that should be of concern to the end user – it should be transparent in those terms. The role of networking fabric in the evolution of the data center holds vital roles in any number of situations such as hybrid, private or the growing variety that are emerging. The idealized fabric architecture is the foundation of any cloud – and has infinite elasticity. To boot, Klayko states that we will see 80-90% of the traffic in a data center showing east-to-west traffic patterns, in other words server to server, in the next few years. To support that you have to have the right fabric in place, Brocade is primed and focused on this need and features many customer success stories. It is reported that with some 550 Brocade clients that implement Ethernet fabrics, and another 50,000 with EMC that utilize storage area networking, brocade is starting to see doubling in that rate every quarter. The first application is typically virtualization and companies need that large spear of mobility.
The company’s relations with EMC and their alignment with the recent VSPEX announcement was discussed. Klayko noted that putting together a best of breed approach is always best for the customer. On EMC’s part they bring their featured variety of products especially storage to the table. Brocade’s specialty in world class, robust Ethernet fabric technology is critical in delivering this solution, in addition to the technological advantages in the Intel server space. Brocade is transforming their Ethernet business on to the next generation and is now the second largest 100Gb producer in the world. The market has been described as having infinite demand, as any organization tied in to the cloud or implementing cloud architecture will be engaged with Ethernet technology.
Flattening of the network is a driving force in Brocade’s evolving offerings. As Klayko notes, a server rack that has twenty systems in place does not mean that twenty instances exist in that rack anymore. It could easily be four hundred or more. And customers have that need to fulfill where seamless transition of data between systems is required, including hundreds of thousands of virtual machines. A large flat network is the best approach to solving this as going across networks presents more challenges.
Brocade’s vision is an interconnect, a combination of Ethernet and Fiber Channel that supports the most modern and future data center needs. Moving storage behind means servers and storage must stay in sync, from within the data center itself and beyond the perimeter as well. The demands of keeping such elements such as MCIP and MPLS in sync are indicative of such challenges. Advanced high-performance network is critical and where Brocade is positioned to deliver. Brocade is positioned on the standard of Ethernet vs. InfiniBand as the position and price points are known, and as mentioned in the video, they are in position to “ride the curve”.
One of the accepted meanings of acceleration in the enterprise focuses on shortening the “go-to-market” of application environment development. Brocade’s technologies support this mission by means of creating a robust and forward-looking API. Allowing redirect frames to the API supports examples of the features that are enabled or allow for future creation of features such as deduplication, security, encryption, and more that have not been invented yet. This is a core feature of the product design and prevents the foreclosure of future benefits often seen when entering in with one vendor or product type over another. Brocade also is aware of the increased demands of the datacenter and variety of products. The continual gap between demand and skilled labor is an element in their development. The way Klayko puts it, the answer is to either train a lot of people, or simplify the product. Brocade is dedicated to making it simple to use the technology.
Around the convention, the talk with customers revolves around cloud plans, virtualization, analytics, and what is planned for the future. Needless to say, Brocade is heavily involved in delivering solutions for all. Klayko adds that they are engaged in prefab solutions, where solutions are blueprinted, tested, and packaged for cleanliness, all to the customer’s benefit. In discussing going beyond the SAN it is discussed that Brocade’s 70% of SAN market share guides them to look for unique requirements and differentiation. This means looking at certain segments, at the edge of the network, and looking at fields such as content distribution – all which exhibit signs of high growth. Educational and government fields are two such channels that have a variety of needs where Brocade is delivering specialized products and solutions.
Wrapping things up, the discussion leads to Brocade’s vision and brand. Klayko states that Brocade is a pure networking company and they are really good at what they do. Data that needs to move from point A to point B at 100% guaranteed quality, Brocade delivers this and is committed to helping companies grow.