On closing day of Dell Storage Forum 2012 in Boston, Roger Bouchard, global solutions architect at Brocade, stopped by The Cube to speak with Wikibon’s Stu Miniman about storage security, the company’s next-generation switch technology and his general view of where he Fibre Channel market is headed (full video below).
He also got a chance to plug his newly updated book, “Securing Fibre Channel Fabrics: SAN Protection for Storage and Security Professionals,” which he said is a timely read considering the growing intersection of storage and security. Many mission-critical applications containing personally identifiable information and intellectual property are being held in storage-area networks, and administrators from both sides of the aisle are recognizing the need to collaborate.
Traditionally, Bouchard said, data centers have been effectively shielded from physical attack. As such, the trusted insider — be it a full-time employee, contractor or even a summer intern — poses the biggest digital threat to SANs. And these individuals’ intentions may not necessarily be malicious in nature — they could cause a data breach simply by being stupid. “Security is not just about [technical] countermeasures, but also about procedures and making sure you reduce errors,” Bouchard said. “As soon as you put a human in the whole equation, things invariably go wrong.”
And with the rise of cloud computing, the impact of not properly securing storage networks will only grow. Cloud is a game-changer, and Brocade recognizes this. That’s why it is introducing new technology to allow customers to fully embrace the cloud model. That includes 16-Gbps Fibre Channel switches that drastically increase bandwidth potential, thereby enabling virtualization to limits never before seen.
Speed isn’t the only capability that Brocade is building into its portfolio, Bouchard said. It’s also taking into consideration some of the holdups that customers have when considering a migration to the cloud. Security is a big one. Brocade’s switches are getting encryption and compression within the application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC). This allows organizations to secure inter-switch links (ISLs) between data centers when replicating information. There’s also key management, flexibility and reliability functionality being added.
Given the backdrop of the Dell Enterprise Forum, Bouchard said Brocade’s partnership with Dell continues to go swimmingly, thanks to the former’s model blending nicely with the show host’s Compellent Storage Center SAN — and its “Fluid Architecture” model.
And he hopes the relationship only prospers. Citing seven percent year-over-year growth and a record fourth quarter last year for Brocade, Bouchard’s view of the Fibre Channel market is, not surprisingly, optimistic, especially in the face of the convergence of block, file and object.