Given the choice between brocade and McData I’ll usually choose McData.Â Now that I don’t have a choice, I think I’ll stick with Cisco.
Truthfully Brocade needed McData.Â McData has a solid director class switch, one that will withstand the tests of time and the rigors of a large-scale production datacenter.Â Brocade never really has.Â What they’ve had is a collection of blade-mounted edge switches linked together with a pseudo-fabric back-end.Â Either way, it was a joke.Â
I remember specifically a series of incidents down at a DoD client in Norfolk, VA.Â Huge fabric.Â 4 64 port Brocade DS-12000B “directors”Â (EMC wouldn’t even give it an “ED” designation usually reserved for “Enterprise Director” and instead gave it a “DS” designation for “Departmental Switch”.
Out of the four enclosures that were sent, one of them was dead on it’s face, and the rest of them underwent many many failures, blades dropping off-line, losing power, the whole nine yards.
The funny part is, I remember seeing this switch when it was in it’s infancy at the company’s headquarters in northern california.Â It just didn’t look right.Â The only thing I could see that they did correctly was to at least mount the swtich boards vertically, which allows for better heat disipation.
The one thing I really have to say for Brocade is that their command line interface is much easier to deal with that Mcdata’s ever was.Â With common-sense command structures and a consistent format it was easy to get into a routine while doing zoning or creating aliases or whatnot.Â I was never comfortable with Mcdata’s command line, mostly because EMC discouraged it’s use at just about every turn.Â (Cisco’s command line is a bit weird, but if you’ve used IOS you’ll fall right in with it)Â
That’s the great part about the Cisco, is that as an IT Manager, you can actually put the SAN equipment into the realm of the Network gurus without too much additional training.Â (Save for zoning and theory and the like)Â (That plus the fact that once the MDS switches were released, I literally don’t think I went on another engagement that was a new McData install)
I would like to invite comments on this – I’m curious as to what other people see as coming out of BrocData.Â More speed?Â Better reliability?Â 10G?Â Â Or just a little moreÂ moderate competition for Cisco?