Jack Rondoni, VP, Data Center Storage and Solutions, Brocade, discussed the latest storage trends with theCube co-hosts John Furrier and Stu Miniman, live at the IBM Edge 2013 conference that kicked off this morning.
“When I talk to customers, a lot of their challenges are ‘I have all these problems today, how can I think about software-defined anything when I have these immediate issues’,” Rondoni said. “We help customers to focus on what’s important,” by consolidating what’s important today – infrastructure, applications, etc. “We develop our systems to help customers get to the value they’re bringing to the business.” Then they can go investigate software-defined storage and networking, once the immediate issues are handled.
Excited for flash
“I’m very excited about flash. Flash will be as disruptive to the data center as server virtualization was,” Rondoni said. What flash brings is improvement at orders of magnitude. “When you think about flash, it’s the top tier of value for the IT, the tip of the pyramid that drives the most value,” this is what flash is going to enable. It provides a very high performance, very low latency solutions for storage. “We look at it as a great opportunity to help enable that market, allow our customers to develop the applications, and drive the apps to bring values to their IT.”
Asked to discuss the trends in Ethernet and fiber channel, Rondoni said that Brocade’s viewpoint is to build on fabrics. “We believe fabric is certainly the right architecture to build upon,” which the company did it for over a decade with IBM on fiber, and then moved to Ethernet.
Discussing Big Data, Rondoni said “there is a lot of growth at the bottom age of the storage – but when you try to mine data, you have to be able to drive value from it. When we think of network capacity to handle transfers of big amounts of data, that’s a key part of our strategy,” he explained. Brocade provides the best performance in that direction.
Explaining their involvement in OpenStack, he said Brocade has been involved with the community for both its fiber channel and Ethernet side. “We are active participants on both sides.”
Fiber channel “still providing value”
“One of our biggest areas of customer growth are service providers, they deploy a huge amount of fiber channel,” Rondoni said, commenting on the often referenced statements according to which fiber was dead, dismissing them as a “misconception of the industry.” “They spend their dollars where there’s value, and fiber continues to provide value. We are 100 percent dedicated to Ethernet, but we are not going to drop fiber channel.”
Talking about the focus of mid to large sized enterprises, Rondoni explained it as “I need to bring value to my busieness as quickly as possible, I need to enable applications that bring that value.” Enterprises want to spend less time on managing infrastructures. “That is why Ethernet fabric has been so popular – you don’t have to be a network scientist to deploy a viable network.” You can also easily scale it. “Operationally, it make their lives a lot easier,” Rondoni says, and that is Brocade’s main role.
Although flash is getting a lot of hype, it definitely is only a part of storage innovation, he stated. “Flash is the tip of the spear of the innovations happening in the storage space.”
Asked how Brocade positions itself in what the data tsunami is concerned, Rondoni said “that explosion of storage is coming. That pushes a level of scalability no one has ever seen before, your network needs to be very easy to use, very scalable. That’s where fabric is so powerful, that’s where it comes into play.”
Explaining what differentiates Brocade, Rondoni said that when customers think about Brocade, they view it as the part of their infrastructure that they don’t need to worry about. It’s their most reliable piece of infrastructure, “it gives them confidence.”