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I have been working on some of my own analysis of Brocade (BRCD) as a possible Rule Maker and/or Gorilla Game play (either as a Gorilla or a King). So, I thought I would share it with Fools on this board and open it up for comments.

One note first, however. I am still having trouble with the notion of an “open proprietary architecture.” Mick Buckley helped me out by referencing the book, so I understand the “open” part now. I guess what I am searching for is a series of two or three questions I could ask myself when doing research to nail this point. I have finished the book, but I have not written-up my own study guide yet, so I may find it then.

A series of questions would reduce my time looking at “no-go” companies.

If you are interested in information about BRCD not presented below, log on to their site at http://www.brocade.com/

Anyway…

Dominant Brand
BRCD has an estimated 80%-90% of the fibre channel switch market. The company sells primarily into the OEM market (about 75% of revenues) and many OEMs use the BRCD switch under their own names. Expect this to change however, as BRCD management is well aware of branding their product and invoking the idea of customers asking for “Brocade” switches when implementing a SAN. However, it appears that BRCD is becoming the standard in this area, and increased software development by the firm will only strengthen their position in this space. Due to the overwhelming market share, I give BRCD a Rule Maker point here.

BRCD also has relationships with major players in this market including EMC (despite their McData unit), Compaq, H-P, IBM, and Dell Computer.

Expanding Possibilities
About 35% of the Fortune 500 companies have implemented some type of storage area network (albeit homogenous) with another 80% looking pretty closely. Has it crossed the chasm yet? I don't know, but there is no doubt in my mind that SANs will be implemented in 95%+ of the largest corporations. And, they will use multiple SANs. In addition, demand will grow rapidly once standards are adopted for heterogeneous environments.

In addition to fibre channel switches, BRCD can also pursue strategies in the higher-end sections of the market, or be a key player in some type of Ethernet convergence. A lot of people have an Ethernet vs. fibre channel mentality now, but it seems to me at this point that fibre channel is going to be used in the SANs because of performance features and larger data transfers in the network (despite that notion of Ethernet becoming faster than fibre channel over the next couple of years).

As a first-mover, BRCD has shown an innovative nature. This bodes well for other possibilities in the storage space. 1point.

Repeat purchase business
Firms will implement multiple storage networks (loops hold 126 spots) and switches will connect island of SANs for one-to-one connectivity. As the price of storage comes down, demand will rise by a greater percentage (a 1% decline in storage pricing = 4% increase in storage demand). Repeat purchase business? I think so. 1point.

Convenience
In my opinion, data is the most valuable asset of any company in the Net economy. Data about customers to attract, retain, and leverage relationships with them as well as data about competitors, and data used to build strategic partnerships, all create competitive advantage. This data needs to be available to anyone, anytime, for it is mission-critical. Storage is key to any firm competing today. And, BRCD offers a very important component of the network. Convenience? Try necessity on for size! 1point.

Interest and familiarity
I'm interested which is why I am writing this. If you have read this far, you are interested too. 1 point.

How are we doing so far? 5 points. Now for the quantitative stuff that does not lie : )

Sales growth of 10% year-over year
Hold on to your seats Fool! Revenues of $62.053 million represent a 489% growth rate over the same period last year. This is a comfortable buffer over our 10% bogey : ) 1 point.

Gross margins of at least 50%
Gross margin was 58% and expanding from 48.4% during the same period last year. More importantly, BRCD has competitive advantages in the OS side of fibre channel switching. Software, not hardware is often the exciting story in storage (see EMC). Currently, software presents a small portion of BRCD's sales (3%-4%) but should become an increasing contribution to their top line. This means expanding gross margins are possible. Or, at the very least, they may hold here. 1point.

Net margins at least 7%
Net income of $13.316 million led to a net margin of 21.5%. 1point.

Cash no less than 1.5x total debt
No long-term debt. And, while we are here, the balance sheet looks pretty clean at first blush. 1 point. Let's look at the Flow.

Flow ratio below 1.25
Current assets = $152,098 million
Cash and equivalents = $111,529 million
Current liabilities = $59,246 million
No current portion of long-term debt

Hence, the Flow ratio is 0.685 which indicates to Fools that the company is pretty effective in managing working capital accounts and creating sources of rather than uses of cash.

Cash King Margin
Cash from operation = $$36,796 million
Capital expenditures = $8,139 million
Sales = $62,059 million

CKM = 46.18% which exceeds the bogey. I point.

Conclusion
First, I do not own shares of BRCD and I won't for at least the next five days (Fool policy). In assessing the company, I would want to look a little more closely at competitors like Ancor, make sure my conclusions about Ethernet make sense to me, and check the threshold margin. I know intuitively that BRCD exceeds the threshold margin, but it helps to see how scalable the business model is and what it can become (by forecasting the threshold margin).

Anyway, that is my run down.

Have a nice weekend,

TMFFuz (a.k.a. John)
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No. of Recommendations: 12
TMFFuz,

I, along with many others, enjoyed your post on Brocade. Thanks for taking the time to run the criteria on the company. I would add that two significant value chain announcements were made this week. The first being the Cisco/Brocade announcement of FC over IP. The second was the Brocade/Emulex announcement to extend their partnership and to advance connectivity and end to end interoperability for SANs. As we read the excellent post about 'architecture' and how companies position themselves, Brocade is a real time classic case study for gorilla gamers to be following.

That being said, I certainly don't need to tout the company any more than I have in the past. <ggg> It has become one of the more significant holdings over the past year while a few others have been rebalanced (not by any micromanagement of my doing, but simply by the market deciding to place different values on some of my stocks). However, those are just short term swings and nothing of importance is taken from it by this investor as time will always 'rebalance' things for us. Regardless, Brocade shows up this week in my pie chart as one of my major investments along with another younger company that has been doing quite well.

I responded to xerohype's excellent post on comparing Rule Breaker investing strategies to Gorilla Game investing strategies last week. I feel I need to respond to your post as well to mention a couple of things. Each strategy is designed to identify certain types of investments and have a set of criteria which are applied to uncover and monitor investments within that strategy. Rule Maker criteria has been developed by Tom Gardner and his staff to be applied to large-cap companies (not technology specific) that have at least $1 Billion in annual revenues ($250 Million per quarter).

That being said, it is important to monitor the advance of companies like Brocade, Broadcom and Siebel (to use three examples) as they grow from their emerging positions of tweeners to possible Rule Makers. The Rule Maker criteria fits well with the gorilla game because one of the elements is dominant, monopoly type status in their respective areas. Brocade has around $155 Million in revenue for the previous 4 quarters. I am not arguing about the growth and positive signs I see for this company. I'm very 'gung ho' on the investment, but simply want to point out the 'danger' of applying or melding criteria to make investment decisions. I would argue that one should at least understand that based on Rule Maker criteria, until a company reaches $250 Million in quarterly revenue or $1 Billion in annual revenue, that it may or may not be the most effictive application of criteria designed for something else.

That being said, it is not a given at this point in terms of gorilla gaming, that any game is 'over' and decided. It takes time. As revenues ramp up and competing technologies are developed and surface over the next few years the game will unfold to the point where Rule Maker criteria will, in my opinion, make more impact on guiding investment decisions using that criteria. Until then, I continue to believe that gorilla gaming criteria would best be used in terms of Brocade at this point.

Some comments from Douglas Nordgren:

http://www.siliconinvestor.com/stocktalk/msg.gsp?msgid=13887377

"Brocade's FSPF algorithm (Fabric Shortest Path First) was ratified for presentation to the ANSI/T11 for adoption as the fabric inter-switch standard. Brocade remains confident that the committee will ratify it as such soon. In fact, CSCO is counting on it, and has given it a push with their technology agreement with BRCD........As James Richardson of Cisco ruefully admitted, you never know how standards will work out."

Likewise, investors interested in Brocade, SANs and fiber channel switches should follow companies like Gadzoox, Vixel and Ancor to get the full scope of the game going on and the 'holy wars' of fiber channel. I do think that the time will come for application of Rule Maker criteria, but would simply raise the point of understanding what the criteria was designed to do and where it is best applied. This is not designed to take away anything from John's post. Simply trying to focus on keeping gorilla gaming, rule breaking and rule making strategies from getting melded into something they were not designed to do.

BB
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No. of Recommendations: 3
Hi Bruce,

I realize that the Rule Maker is a separate and distinct strategy. Anyway, I wanted inject some fundamentals into the process. I did not want to mislead people into thinking that I was melding the two processes. Sorry if I led you (and others) to that conclusion. I personally would pick BRCD on GG merits alone. However, it is fun to try and find companies that have the potential to be Rule Makers. I think the market is large enough and the revenue run rate to push them to $1 billion in sales. I am personally not interested in $150 billion Rule Makers. I am interested in the $10 billion Rule Maker that could be the $150 billion Rule Makers. I guess we call these emerging Rule Makers. This is my style, not Tom's.

Foolishly,

John Del Vecchio
Investment Research Fool
The Motley Fool
http://www.fool.com
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No. of Recommendations: 3
Please correct me if I am wrong.

TMFFuz wrote:
Cash King Margin
Cash from operation = $$36,796 million
Capital expenditures = $8,139 million
Sales = $62,059 million
CKM = 46.18% which exceeds the bogey. I point.

I believe the above "Cash from operation" and "Capital expenditures" figures are 6 months accumulated figures, while the "Sales" figure ($62,059 million) is a 3 month figure. Consequently, shouldn't we use a 6 months accumulated sales figure of $104,793 to be consistent, which still yields an impressive CKM of 27.35% ?

H&T
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Wouldn't Qlogic also be considered a major player in the fiber channel arena?
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I read the Brocade Communications (BRCD) article with interest.However, I do not understand SAN. Can you give me an explanation?
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Thanks for a explicit report on BRCD John,

Sounds like you covered it pretty well and revealed a great possible investment possibility.

Vicktor
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I read the Brocade Communications (BRCD) article with interest.However, I do not understand SAN. Can you give me an explanation?

If you'd like to understand NAS, SAN and the entire storage market (not much on brocade though) check out my post on the industry from a few months ago. If you're looking for a short description of a SAN, scroll down until you come to that section.

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?id=1360002000484000&sort=recommendations

Cheers,

Krash/Matt
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Hi HungryandThirsty,

I believe you are totally correct and that I am wrong here. Thank you very much for correcting me. I would not want to mislead anyone regarding the Cash King Margin.

Best,

John
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No. of Recommendations: 2
Good analysis.
I have owned a small but growing slice of Brocade Pie since Jan.2000. based on my bullishness of the storage market.

I have been reluctant to buy more, because of the extreme valuation. As far as Gorilla Declaration, we need to know 1) Who are their competitors and what is keeping them getting more market share.

2) What are the switching costs for their products. That is, if I am currently using their product and a competitor comes along, how big a deal is it for me to switch over to the competitor. eg. Switching cost for PC operating system is high, because the average Fortune 500 CIO, has to overhaul thousands of machines and retrain thousand people. The switching cost between Netscape and IE is low, basically you just have to move your bookmarks.

Once we have a better read on these issues, we can decide if its time to load up on Brocade
keep up the analysis
MBP1963
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No. of Recommendations: 5
MBP1963,

If you search back on the gorilla game board I believe that I have at least attempted to provide the comparitive numbers of the fibre channel switch game since last year in terms of revenue. I don't have the time to locate the posts with the numbers for each quarter, but they are there as well as on the Brocade message board. Perhaps I make more posts on Brocade over at the SI G&K thread. Here's a few I've made in the last week:

http://www.siliconinvestor.com/stocktalk/msg.gsp?msgid=13882215

http://www.siliconinvestor.com/stocktalk/msg.gsp?msgid=13879946

http://www.siliconinvestor.com/stocktalk/msg.gsp?msgid=13879870

The four companies we have been following are Brocade, Ancor (being acquired by Q-Logic), Gadzoox! (warned today) and Vixel. Brocade is the only one turning a profit (for several quarters now) and the underlying health of their business model was presented in a very excellent way by TMFFuz in the original post to this threaded message.

Not to put the apple cart way in front of the horse, but the game certainly is tilted in Brocade's favor at this point in time.

BB
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Brocade does have some weaknesses.

Fiber channel technology has many players. Brocade has an early start, but it's all about standards, and other companies can easily replicate this technology. Score -1 points.

Brocade does not do direct support. If you ask me, I prefer to obtain support direct from the manufacturer on complex high-tech items like this. Brocade forces you to get support from their reseller/OEM network, which means you are talking to people that don't know as much about the product as the people that invented it. Score -1 points.

I personally am much more interested in McData's soon-to-be IPO. When I was visited by a reseller and asked them for Brocade, they told me the McData switches were more reliable, but that they costed more. With McData coming out soon with lower-end products I think that Brocade may have some vulnerability. Score -1 point for being not as reliable.

Chris



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I suggest you take a look at recent and proposed insider selling of Brocade.
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No. of Recommendations: 19
Warning - I got little sleep due to the state of the moon last night and I might be a little 'frisky' in the post that follows. <ggg>

It appears that the recent talk about Brocade here at the Fool (I've seen the Rule Maker article as well as TMFFuz's post copied and placed all over the internet) and links to this board has -

http://messages.yahoo.com/bbs?.mm=FN&action=m&board=21750630&tid=brcd&sid=21750630&mid=7791

- and most likely will continue to bring out posts from the Ancor/Q-Logic investors as well as posts like this one from buffndm:

"I suggest you take a look at recent and proposed insider selling of Brocade."

Perhaps not on this message board, but this issue most likely has been addressed quite well in terms of the size of the float and the ownership percentage balance between insiders and institutions being maintained at a certain level to promote the best level of liquidity. However, I don't think it has much to do with the actual gorilla game going on and hence doesn't really deserve any attention. Brocade's underlying business fundamentals speak volumes if one takes the time to go over them. Insider sales at technology companies which use stock and options as part of employee compensation is an oft used 'theory' by certain posters to attempt to make some type of a point.

The discussion of Q-Logic (acquiring Ancor) and Brocade in terms of a gorilla game is part of the logical discussion along with some other companies as well as technologies. I'm aware that this discussion has been going on for the past year on threads like the Yahoo! Brocade/Ancor message boards as well as the Silicon Investor Ancor and Gorilla & King threads. Some of the language, tactics and 'style' of part of those posts would be the most 'appropriate' on this thread from the get go. However, warranted gorilla game discussion is highly encouraged. I tested the waters on three Yahoo! threads in the past couple of months (Siebel, i2 and Brocade) only to find out that there are some interesting ways of expressing opinions on the internet medium that I wouldn't consider to be the most beneficial to fellow Foolish investors.

Here's a typical Yahoo! message post from an investor that most likely hasn't read The Gorilla Game, but is void of any 'your grandma wears army boots' content:

=====
by: solo111_99
6/20/00 11:29 pm
Msg: 7799 of 7801

Point of clarification. Who has the superior technology - Ancor or Brocade? I'm one of those loyal Ancor stockholders you make reference to from time to time and admire so much. We're loyal because we know we have the superior technolgy. There is going to be a correction in the disparity of the stock prices of Q/Ancor and Brocade. Seems logical that it will happen. Brocade the gorilla? It doesn't seem logical.
=====

How does one arrive at logic? I think that we would agree that a study of gorilla gaming in high technology at least helps us arrive somewhere in the vicinity of logic. Posts like the one above really don't even begin to 'roll up the sleeves' and get down to see what is under the hood from a gorilla gaming point of view. For every post that does attempt to 'get under the hood' on threads like that, there are 100 posts that reflect the above - "the stock price is too high, Ancor offers better value". That's just the way it is.

The above post was after the Rule Maker analysis that TFMFuz posted here was copied on that Yahoo! thread. Brocade is the only fibre channel company that has such a healthy business if you apply the criteria. The others have yet to turn a profit. Tom Gardner writes in the second half of the book "Rule Breakers/Rule Makers" about K-Tel and Ancor (as well as others) in a very humorous scenario that begins on page 173. This is separate from the fibre channel game, but it's worth the quick read if you have the book. Ancor, as a company, had some troubles in the 1995 - 1998 time frame and management at the time would not qualify as honest. However, to be fair - that was then. Certainly, with the growth potential of FC over the next few years, Q-Logic will do everything they can do to clean up the balance sheet of Ancor Communications as soon as possible.

When one studies the fibre channel space, it is important to separate the switch business from the hub business. Part of the reason Gadzoox and Vixel are not doing so well is that their hub business is not doing so well. This is a good thing and confirms as well as validates the advantage of what switches can do from both Brocade and Ancor for the customer. Another very important value chain announcement was made yesterday by EMC with their certification of the Brocade Silkworm 2400 and 2800 products.

If the discussion was going to develop around the game going on between Sun Microsystems and other data storage vendors, I believe that we should separate that from the discussion of a possible standard developing around a fibre channel switch technology and how the IOS game is playing out for the switch market. As we know, the competition in the switch market will do everything they can to prevent a standard other than their own technology from developing, while the market (end users) wants one to develop for the practical reason of interoperability. At the core of the fibre channel switch game lies the software (IOS) for the switches and the interoperability of the hardware. When viewing the game, it is here that the focus needs to be as a company like Brocade with 90% of the market and their important announcement with Cisco and Emulex last week as well as the EMC certification this week sets the stage for something every gorilla game investor likes to follow. The book that we have all read (right?) "The Gorilla Game" has an excellent case study of Cisco's routers and how the IOS played the key role in developing a standard.

Here are some important thoughts from one of our gorilla game investing colleagues, DownSouth, to summarize:

http://www.siliconinvestor.com/stocktalk/msg.gsp?msgid=13879262

CSCO took a wide open standard (TCP/IP) and wrapped its own proprietary software around it so that CSCO routers, when in a network, did things with TCP/IP that others did not. BRCD is taking FC and building silkworm switches that only work with other silkworm switches. Now they are working with CSCO to make FC and TCP/IP work together, but only with CSCO routers and silkworm switches.

http://www.siliconinvestor.com/stocktalk/msg.gsp?msgid=13876336

On the other hand, if a company such as BRCD becomes the defacto standard for FC, then the incompatibilities between manufacturers becomes a competitive advantage for BRCD.

As CSCO and BRCD work for a FC to IP interface, BRCD's value chain gets very long and strong and the use of FC versus IP becomes almost irrelevant.

I'll bet these two have a phase III plan involving FC and IP integration that will settle the matter for a while! The "FC camp" will only applaud it if BRCD doesn't dominate the switching market through proprietary products which work with the new innovations. I am sure that BRCD is going to do what is good for BRCD, regardless of the "FC camp".

Could be that BRCD is taking the lessons that CSCO taught in the IP market and applying them to the FC market, with CSCO's hands-on assistance.


Whether we talk about Brocade using Rule Maker criteria (which I guess you all know how I feel about putting the cart before the horse at this point in the technology adoption life cycle), or whether we compare fibre channel vendor revenue numbers, or we talk about valuations within the sector, or we discuss the pros and cons of SAN, NAS, Infiniband, DAFS and how to invest in the space - the focus really should be on what is going on from a gorilla game perspective. That being said, all points of view are very welcome here using the format of looking at the space from a gorilla game perspective. If the front office game, or the wireless standards game has taught us anything about what and how to handle all of the information, it is that one needs to get beyond that and get under the hood to see what is really taking place.

On a side note:

Mike Buckley would be happy to know that Larry Ellison has turned from bad mouthing Siebel and taking away their business to now focusing on one of my favorite companies - i2. He went after them in last night's conference call. However, gorilla gamers learned long ago to have the salt shaker nearby when Larry speaks. To say that the i2/Aspect's completed merger is a real threat to Oracle's B2B initiatives would be correct. Larry knows when to shoot from the hip and use all those eyes in the back of his head. Maybe Larry's chatter will have the same outcome on i2's share price and business that it did for Siebel's. <ggg>

Enough - off to work...

BB



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No. of Recommendations: 1
Just wanted too add my two cents to this thread. I haven't been this excited about the potential of a company in quite a while. Here's a post I made on the Brocade board.
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?id=1070449000130005&sort=id
The interview I talk about in that post took place with Greg Reyes prior to the Cisco deal and the adoption of BRCD architecture as the standard. It's a must listen for any BRCD investor IMHO. There is another interview on the RadioWallStreet site which was done with Greg Reyes after the CSCO deal in which he says the market has expanded further. He now thinks 10 to 15 times current estimates.
http://www.radiowallstreet.com/NASApp/RWS/EventPage?ID=23907
Big time tornado growth. BRCD now sets the standard. An open proprietary standard I believe. I haven't seen any numbers that indicate how much Brocade can collect in licensing fees as a result of others using their standard. Anyone seen anything on this?
Value chain now includes Dell, Compaq, EMC, NTAP and they added some little company called Cisco as a major partner this week. I never heard of them but maybe something will come of it. You never know. Anyway. What are we missing to declare full gorillahood? Gorillaosity. It all happened very fast. This week sorta confirmed it for me. I can't find a better investment now then BRCD and or the storage triple play BRCD/NTAP/EMC. (Actually I sorta like FDRY or QCOM if you can stand the FUD, but that's a story for a different day.)
Thanks for taking the time to read my post.
Glenn
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I have been following the SAN analysis for a short time and in some ways I am more attracted to the SAN via LAN since they will have more of a mass appeal. Yes, they are being held back by collision on 10/100 meg ethernet but once the 10 gig ethernet is functional shortly... They will have a broader appeal and may end up being the gorillas due to the wider and deeper value chain.

MRH
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No. of Recommendations: 3
The networking industry (ethernet crowd) wants everyone to believe that they will regain supremacy when they deliver 10 gigabit ethernet (10GbE) perhaps next year (currently, ethernet ships in 10, 100, and 1000 megabit data rates).

A few points here -

First - the Fibre Channel industry is also working on 10 gigabit FC, and will be on the market at roughly the same time. Both 10G FC and 10G E will probably share many of the same components.

Second - Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) has more in common with Fibre Channel than it does with 10 or 100 megabit ethernet. In fact, the developers of GbE started with FC silicon and protocols to develop GbE - they just stripped out alot of powerful capabilities and technology. You could look at GbE as FC's dumber cousin.

Third - FC implementations will outperform GbE implementations due to some technical capabilities not found in GbE. Keep in mind, the vendors will all tell you different stories. It doesn't matter if they can put an acedemic test together and demonstrate a gigabit pipe full of bits. The issue is - how effective and efficient is the technology as measured by the application software on the machines - and this is where FC shines.

Fourth - In this extremely price sensitive market, the GbE crowds will point to their slim price advantage, and tell you this means everything. Frankly, when considering the TCOs of an entire application infrastructure and all the elements therein, the cost deltas between FC and GbE are a rounding error - and buyers should be taking into account numerous other factors that would significantly boost their ROIs when making a FC decision.

Hope this helps.

PS. No, I do not work for a FC company.
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Dewz wrote:

PS. No, I do not work for a FC company.

You should! That's okay, we'd all be happy to employ you right here on the GG board. Feel free to hang out and keep us "up to speed" so to speak on the emerging benefits of FC.

BB
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10 Gig Fiberchannel and 10 Gig Ethernet are both deliberately designed to steal as much technology from each other and from SONET/SDH. This is good as it brings products supporting both standards to market sooner and means that they will be interoperable to some extent.

However 10 Gig Ethernet has one big advantage over Fiberchannel that I can think of and that is that it runs IP. FC is a data storage protocol and from what I can tell a remarkably simple one at that. 10GE on the otherhand can act as a storage protocol (using NetApp style NASes) or it can be used to aggregate data traffic over the internet.

I don't really consider the two protocols to be great competitors actually because I think that FC will be able to maintain its dominence in the back end storage market with 10GE dominating the front end data transport, but in terms of which one has the potential to take the market from the other its more likely that 10GE will take market from 10G-FC

DD

PS I do work for a company developing 10GE products
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DD -

>10 Gig Fiberchannel and 10 Gig Ethernet are both >deliberately designed to steal as much technology >from each other and from SONET/SDH. This is good as >it brings products supporting both standards to >market sooner and means that they will be >interoperable to some extent.

AGREED !

>However 10 Gig Ethernet has one big advantage over >Fiberchannel that I can think of and that is that it >runs IP. FC is a data storage protocol and from what >I can tell a remarkably simple one at that. 10GE on >the otherhand can act as a storage protocol (using >NetApp style NASes) or it can be used to aggregate
>data traffic over the internet.

Factually incorrect. FC is a multiprotocol transport standard that supports storage (SCSI, IPI), network (IP), and clustering (VI) protocols natively. The IP protocol for FC is actually specified in an IETF RFC that has been ratified. We use IP/FC in our shop all the time - it is part of the core deliverables. (Also - to my knowledge, the single largest customer FC installation on the planet (based on node/port count) is in the far east, and THE primary protocol used by that customer is IP.) I have personally seen a multi-system pure FC cluster running all three protocols (FCP, IP, and VI), on switched FC fabric, and it handily whipped a conventional configuration (FC & Ethernet) by 2,200+ % in response time (interface clock rates don't even begin to tell the whole story at all here). Bottom line, to users who know the whole story here, the most powerful (and still commercially viable) IP networks can/will run on FC.

>I don't really consider the two protocols to be great >competitors actually because I think that FC will be >able to maintain its dominence in the back end >storage market with 10GE dominating the front end >data transport, but in terms of which one has the >potential to take the market from the other its more >likely that 10GE will take market from 10G-FC

Those who continue to view the diamond through the same 20 year old facet are missing over 90% of the stone. New models of applications and services will demand a new perspective, and those who stay in the box will miss it. The "back-end", "front-end" discussion will also pass. As for market share, with most of the installations that I am aware of, the ratio of FC ports to Enet ports is in the 2:1, 4:1, or even higher, range. For those just learning to walk before they run, the solutions tend to lean toward a 1:1 ratio. But that belies the true measure of cost effectiveness. Because a single storage subsystem may contain scores of FC chips (controllers, disks, etc) - hence development and manufacturing costs are spread more widely on a per unit basis. Also, unit costs is a deceiving metric. I much prefer a metric that factors in "costs per unit of work". (just for discussion) If GbE enjoyed a 25% cost advantage, yet FC yielded a 50% improvement in costs per unit of work, as a paying client, where are you likely to put your money to maximize your ROI??

This is only the tip of the iceberg... FC MANs and WANs are already showing up in production in the market, which will really help to drive volumes up, and unit costs down.

Just some thoughts.

DP99
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Have you had the opportunity to look at Ancor ANCR as a competitor to BRCD and their impact on market share ?

Hans
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