Home Business IT Networking Cloud Computing Brocade offers pay as you go networking

Networking specialist Brocade is offering its largest customer the opportunity to purchase networking capacity using a ground breaking cloud style model, where they are charged per month, per port on the network.

It's a key weapon as Brocade makes an aggressive push into the sector of the networking market currently dominated by Cisco and HP. It will however require careful handling - as the service will only be offered directly from Brocade, not from its resellers, potentially lining up some opportunity for channel conflict.

Graham Schultz regional manager for Brocade, said that the key selling point was that the Brocade Network Subscription Service would allow enterprises to get the cost of networking off their capital budget and expense it. The offering is only targeted at the larger end of town - where companies are spending more than $500,000 plus on their network infrastructure.

While Mr Schultz did not provide any local costs, Brocade has indicated that a company which would typically spend $1.4 million on networking infrastructure, might expect to pay a cost of around $56 per port connected per month using the subscription services. The subscription option is only available to users of Brocade's IP networks, not its SAN network products.

The company is pitching the approach as offering more flexibility to large enterprises. 'We would deploy (the network) and they pay for what they use when they use it,' said Mr Schultz.

He acknowledged that at present the company had only about 5 per cent share of the Australian IP networking market, and this is an attempt to differentiate itself in the market and compete head on with Cisco. Of course Brocade can't patent the model - and if it gains any marketplace traction it's likely that its rivals will quickly follow suit.

Brocade however commands a much larger stake of the SAN network market - 70 per cent according to Mr Schultz.

Besides announcing the subscription model Brocade has announced two new products which extends its Ethernet fabric range including a 10 Gigabit Ethernet stitch that allows Ethernet fabric to connect directly to fibre channel SAN fabrics. It also unveiled a 1 Gigabit Ethernet switch for lower end users.

The company also extended its CloudPlex architecture, which it is marketing as being particularly suited for large data centres or clouds, and which it first announced in May. Brocade has focussed on keeping CloudPlex open and allowing users to choose which hypervisor, server or storage system they wish to plug into the network layer (where there of course is no choice as CloudPlex is a Brocade product).

'Why would you want to be dictated to at the server lever - same at the storage layer,' said Mr Schultz.

While the company is maintaining that open approach it today announced it has signed arrangements with Dell, EMC, Fujitsu, Hitachi and VMware so that organisations which want to buy a preconfigured cloud ready bundle (similar to a V-Block) can do so.


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Beverley Head

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Beverley Head is a Sydney-based freelance writer who specialises in exploring how and why technology changes everything - society, business, government, education, health. Beverley started writing about the business of technology in London in 1983 before moving to Australia in 1986. She was the technology editor of the Financial Review for almost a decade, and then became the newspaper's features editor before embarking on a freelance career, during which time she has written on a broad array of technology related topics for the Sydney Morning Herald, Age, Boss, BRW, Banking Day, Campus Review, Education Review, Insite and Government Technology Review. Beverley holds a degree in Metallurgy and the Science of Materials from Oxford University and a deep affection for things which are shaken not stirred.






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