15 posts • joined 27 Jul 2009
Time will tell
Cisco's MDS has been dead in the water for a few years now as they pursued a rather single handed mission to build a market around a non existent connectivity "solution" in FCOE. I will make a prediction that in line with every previous iteration of the MDS family, this is not anywhere near as performant as they claim, horrendous to manage, disgustingly power hungry and remarkably inefficient in the context of emissions - the last generation was up to 4x WORSE than the competing products just in heat emission alone so it is difficult to see how Cisco can reengineer a product that inefficient and make it even close to the Brocade offerings which have always had a considerable upper hand.
This is effectively a massive climb down by Cisco yet I have no doubt that it will be perceived as a degree in virtuosity and fulfilling customer demand that is unprecedented in any area of trade, commerce and product design Oh, hold on, is that me just being a tad cynical about Cisco's marketing machine? Still, I am surprised by Brocade's rather weak response that this new MDS product is effectively the same as their 16gb products despite their significant time to market advantages........
Is anyone surprised (about FTS)?
FTS is a shambles and sadly, for the people who will be affected, this is not going to be a surprise to the rest of the watching world. That Fujitsu have at last acknowledged that FTS is a loss making directionless non-starter means that real changes will be made, rather than the cosmetic shuffles that only move people or business lines from spreadsheet column "A" to column "B", "C" or "D" and steadfastly ignoring the important number in the bottom right hand corner.
An angle that was not aired here is the ongoing issues FTS has as a result of trying to battle the Government on the NHS contracts. Forgive my ignorance if this is now a dead story, but if it is not there must be some relevance?
I'll get my coat.
Brocade and futures
FCoE is not an alternative to FC, never was and never will be. At best it is an opportunity to rationalise cabling using TOR. The future is some iteration of converged Ethernet and FC with "standards" being argued over by all the interested parties.
What fascinates me, and has not been highlighted very clearly in the article, is that the Ethernet revenues Brocade are generating are almost identical to the revenues that Foundry were achieving when they were acquired. Therefore, despite Ethernet routing and switching being a colossal market and one of the key drivers behind the acquisition, Brocade have singly failed to grow their business in $$$ terms. They can trumpet technological advancements and being at the head of the curve with things like SDN but the simple fact is that is not putting money in the bank. Sadly, lame technologies from Cisco and HP will continue to dominate customer environments simply through incumbency; new players like Arista, Gnodal, Mellanox etc all blasting away at the high performance end of the 10 and 40gb/e piece and with a Storage angle......... they will be disruptive at the very least at it would not be a surprise if one of them gets snapped up by a large storage vendor - EMC for instance - to cover off this direction and gap in their coverage.
I struggle to see how Brocade are going to really make an impact in this area as they just do not have the sales capability to deliver even allowing for a new Sales VP and CEO. Any momentum that they could have generated post Foundry acquisition was consumed by a recalcitrant sales force entering the company and a disintermediated Partner/OEM team that they already had. And they continue to compound this by an unhealthy insistence on a two tier channel which means that they will always be one step removed from the customer. Still, how often do we find that we do not see the problem when we are too close to it?
Re: problem is...
Simple response here is don't use Cisco. There is no benefit in using the 6500 (aka "Trigger's Broom") as it is a jack of all trades and does not offer the simple 10gb/e switching you would need. Look at all the others (in alphabetical order) - Arista, Brocade, Dell (A10), Gnodal, HP, Mellanox.............possibly missed some others.......all would be keen to get anyone away from Cisco with kit that can be considerably less costly to buy and to run and may actually also offer considerably more benefits in the long run.
Some sense in this......
I agree with the majority of opinions here about EMC buying Juniper and also agree with the comments about Juniper's current situation and market presence. However, no smoke without fire and all that, I would suggest that there may be more mileage in the EMC gobbling up Brocade idea as this really does give EMC a differentiator as only Brocade brings the FC SAN part (aka Storage @EMC) and the properly converged roadmap that ONLY Brocade and Cisco can currently trumpet. What Brocade also brings to the is a very smart set of Ethernet products, especially at the high end with the MLXe and the new big box as well as commodity 10gb/E switches for edge connectivity that will serve the iscsi/low end connectivity requirements. As far as the current OEMs getting feisty about this, EMC have done a pretty good job of keeping VMWare separate so why not the Brocade SAN part? It is a pretty much self sufficient business unit and Brocade are so far ahead of Cisco now that they could almost take a two year R&D break and Cisco would still be in the distant rear view upon their return to work...........
Step too far
Cisco's glorious record of biting every hand that has fed them seems to to know no bounds!! They have long been trumpeting their unique relationship with VMWare and how much deeper their ties are than anyone else and now they go and do this!! Not entirely unexpected but I sincerely hope this is a step too far for them and that market realities start to take hold and people see through the bull***t and lies that they have been peddling since their dawn of time and go with the technologies that actually make sense. I have no axe to grind in favour of VMWare, but on this occasion I hope they clean up entirely at Cisco's expense.
Clueless, rudderless, aimless, hopeless.............
All in all it seems that Brocade do not seem to know WHAT to do as they are neither growing nor shrinking by whatever metric takes your fancy. Seems similar to Storagtek if I can draw a comparison and their long winded demise; good products but a total failure to push these out to a broader market leading to an eventual acquisition at a relatively low price.
Shame that Mr Mellor seems to operate on a "memory of a goldfish" basis as his last article about this seemed to imply that all was fine in Brocade's garden despite these very high profile departures.
The saddest thing about all of this, apart from the indiscriminate use of the CAPS button, is that the Cisco people really do believe this. am sure they will find a way to claim that their kit enabled Usain Bolt to break another world record. What is not so well known is that for a lot of the Olympic IT, most of the core is not Cisco so their claims to be powering the Olympics are somewhat inaccurate.............
The Challenge is different
Brocade's biggest challenge is whether or not they have the sales guts to get out there and disrupt the Big Fat Gorilla(s). Unlike the BFGs, they have market leading products and genuine USPs but because of the entrenched partner mentality of the management, the direct salesforce are rather toothless and this means they have no channel to speak of as the partners are predominantly FC/SAN. If they can sort this out, and three years of dithering does not suggest they will any time soon, then they will give all the BFGs a run for their money.
I suspect Dr Bob has been drinking too deeply from the Tasman Drive Kool-Aid fountain and cheap fud shots are about the limit of his reach. Unless Bob is a girl's name of course. What do you say Lord Blackadder?
Half empty or half full?
This has been in the pipe for 2 years or more and there are a couple of key things missing (surely) if previous Juniper PR is to be believed? SO, no IBM connection and nothing about any FC or storage angle for total connectivity.
Still looks like half baked from where I am.
Good news & bad news
The good news is that Sky will have to start charging more reasonable prices. The bad news is that BT Vision is a crock. I do not know a single person who has it and who is happy with it. In fact several have asked to have it removed and have gone back to whatever they used in the past.
Would you like to expand on this?
There is an element of oversubscription but in a true Service provisioning environment, it is possible to provide 8gb per port. This is not possible in the competing Cisco product. Also the management of the Brocade products is far easier and more transparent than the other gear. Just personal experience of course...........
Same old cr*p, different day..............
Typical bullcr*p from the world leaders in its' production. How they make money purveying smoke and mirrors is an art form that we would all love to understand. Inferior products, lack of delivery, pure marketing gumph and a customer base that does not question them. Nice work Chambers! Any details on Power, environmentals, emissions, floor space etc.? Probably not. Line up and buy the next great thing in Data Center heaters.........................
Having been at the sharp end of this market for a couple of years, I can wholly agree with Chris's comments. I am not sure that I wholly agree with some of the vendors or platforms he mentions, but the essence is 100% correct.
this whole area was a marketing conundrum where "there is a gap in the market, but no market in the gap". All end users saw the sense from a technology perspective but there was no real Business justification and that is where they all fall down. Many congratulations to Acopia therefore in palming off their flawed product set on F5 for $250m+ which even at the time of sale could not have been worth 20% of that in truth; what would they be worth now??!!