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Optical/IP

Nortel Cozies Up to Brocade

Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) is pairing off with Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) on an expanded marketing relationship to sell equipment that extends SANs over optical metropolitan networks (see Nortel, Brocade Buddy Up).

The new Nortel-Brocade agreement includes three parts: Their sales forces will collaborate on identifying and pitching prospective customers on SAN extension solutions; they will step up the pace of their interoperability testing; and they have developed three pretested SAN-over-optical applications for remote mirroring, remote consolidated backup, and remote centralized storage (i.e., interconnecting SAN islands).

The deal can only be a boon to Nortel's ability to tap the SAN market, as it has seen even less traction in this area than Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). "We're tightening and strengthening our relationship with Brocade," says Jack Hunt, director of marketing in Nortel's optical storage connectivity division. [Ed. note: Tightening and strengthening. That gave me chills!]

The Nortel and Brocade coupling comes just a few weeks after it came to light that Cisco had broken off its deal with Brocade. Cisco and Brocade were developing a Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP) blade for Cisco Catalyst 6000 switches to connect FC SANs over wide-area IP networks (see Cisco and Brocade: This Means War).

Hunt denies there's any connection at all between the collapse of Cisco's relationship with Brocade and Nortel's newfound affinity for the Fibre Channel vendor. "In the last six months, we've put all of our products in [Brocade's] interoperability labs," he says. "We were one of the first vendors to undertake DWDM interoperability testing with Brocade."

He adds that Nortel has been doing joint engagements with Brocade for a couple of years now and that the more formal joint marketing agreement allows them to work together on a much broader scale. "Usually we just ran into each other in the account," he says. "Now we're going in together."

As for interoperability testing, Nortel's OPTera Metro 5100 and 5200 multiservice platforms have been tested and qualified with Brocade's entire SilkWorm switch family, including the 2-Gbit/s FC 3200, 3800, and 12000 units. Hunt says future products from Brocade and Nortel will be certified on an accelerated schedule, as they come to market.

However, Nortel's OPTera Metro systems currently support only 1-Gbit/s Fibre Channel; Hunt says 2-Gbit/s interfaces are coming later this year. "The important thing is that customers want to have the testing completed with the 2-Gig products from Brocade. Realistically, they'll be driving data at higher line rates within the data center, but they're not going to be sending it at 2-Gig outside the data center."

That doesn't stop competitors like ADVA AG Optical Networking (Frankfurt: ADV), which does support 2-Gbit/s FC, from trying to squeeze every ounce from this shortcoming of Nortel's while they can.

"Nortel doesn't have 2-Gig Fibre Channel today, and that's hurting them," says Brian McCann, ADVA's chief marketing and strategy officer.

— Todd Spangler, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch
http://www.byteandswitch.com

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edgecore 12/4/2012 | 10:24:26 PM
re: Nortel Cozies Up to Brocade Talk about a huge "who cares" story!

2 years ago you could not walk down the hall at Nortel without running into a "storage geek" talking about how managed SAN services will enable the SSP world (storgae service providers) and the Fortune 1000's enterprises as well! Heck they even had these fun loving webinars with EMC talking about how EMC and Nortel's 5200 were the ultimate storage solution!

Guess what:

-the SSP market died in about 6 months
-EMC, Brocade, McData, Inrange, Storage Tek...do not care who's DWDM gear you use, as long as you end up using their FC switches
-Nortel, Cisco, Lucent, Adva, ONI...don't care who's FC switches you use as long as you use their DWDM gear.

What is the real story here, because I know that the 5200 is really bit rate and protocol independent and I know that Fibre Channel is mostly 1 or 2 Gbps....gee let me think...what should we care....GOT IT:

Nortel has an existing Fibre Channel line card that works with Brocade's 980 or 1310 FC lambda...so really nothing new....Oh now I REALLY GOT IT...Mr Hunt is talking about chartware that refers to Nortel coming out with a 2Gbps FC lince card in the future...most fascinating.

So what happens if between now and the time Nortel's 2 Gbps cards comes out, a Nortel customer wants to use EMC's connectix and the 5200 to extend a 2 Gbps FC link...I guess Bropcade is SOL then!

Great announcement, Nortel has rehashed an existing card and brocade has zero customer guarantees for 2Gbps FC through Nortel!

EC :-)

cable_guy 12/4/2012 | 10:24:20 PM
re: Nortel Cozies Up to Brocade Switch vendors will push whatever DWDM they are comped for selling. So now Brocade will be telling customers that some sort of super-duper certification that only Nortel has is required. This is of course BS. And 2G fiber channel will stay only within the data center? Nortel is saying that because they have no way to transport it. Hey, at least Cisco has real storage products, and can transport 2G FC with the 15540.
umustbejokin 12/4/2012 | 10:24:17 PM
re: Nortel Cozies Up to Brocade The truth behind this story is that Cisco screwed the pooch and now Nortel has the ball in their court, and will continue to win the lions share of SAN DWDM deals, AS THEY HAVE BEEN DOING ALL ALONG.
Sour grapes, enjoy em.
techdocs 12/4/2012 | 10:24:11 PM
re: Nortel Cozies Up to Brocade NORTEL IS THE MOST BANKRUPT COMPANY ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH. Oh ya! Cisco THREW BROCADE away because their Fiber Channel is GARBAGE and they went with QLGC to get product released NOW rather then screw around any longer with LOSER BROCADE. NORTEL CANT EVEN DEVLOPE A ROUTER, OR HOW BOUT THE XROS SWITH EH? CANCELLED AFTER 3.5 BILLION BUCKS OR HOW BOUT THE HDX SWITCH!!! HAHAHAH NORTEL KING OF ROTARY PHONES AND THE BROKE. THEY ARE HISTORY.
Channel Player 12/4/2012 | 10:24:08 PM
re: Nortel Cozies Up to Brocade I used to respect the respondents to this board, being "insiders" to some degree. The childish BS that I have been reading lately draws me closer and closer to the marketing guys (sorry gals) and the WSJ to get my direction (yeah, I'm being a little obnoxious here.) How about a refrain from the "nah nah told you so's" and a little more content from the "techies?" Got it in you?
scooby 12/4/2012 | 10:24:05 PM
re: Nortel Cozies Up to Brocade Nortel relationships are like the kiss of death. I'm surprised Nortel can take time away from their frenzied sales of Juniper products to embark upon such an ambitious project.
fsubob 12/4/2012 | 10:24:01 PM
re: Nortel Cozies Up to Brocade Channel Player - I can't agree with you more. LR used to provide great insight on varies technologies. Now it seems like its filled with EX-Nortel employees how've received a package and they have a vendetta to smear anything Nortel does.

During these times its easier to throw stones, you need foresight to talk with some intelligence.

Good luck to all in finding new employment.
JudasPriest 12/4/2012 | 10:24:00 PM
re: Nortel Cozies Up to Brocade I am often amused and occasionally educated by what I read on these boards. Mostly, though, I am frustrated by the preponderance of ignorance I read in a lot of these posts. Anonymity is the coward's armor, and the majority of posters here are emboldened by it. To the average reader, however, their ignorance stands out like a beacon, so there's little harm in it.

That said, I still believe it is worth my time to peruse the comments left behind by LR's legion of readers. The good ones make their arguments and support their opinions with information. They provide a service to us all.

Nortel's not going away, and whether you are an employee, ex-employee, or competitor, you should be pulling for Nortel - and Cisco and Lucent and so on. Those companies are the engines that drive our industry. When they do well, we all do well.
HiTekRedNeck 12/4/2012 | 10:24:00 PM
re: Nortel Cozies Up to Brocade techdocs:

Whoa... Let's not shout our incompetence. Nortel is not broke... in trouble? I'll give you that, but understand encouraging the downfall of Nortel doesn't help anyone in our industry and largely because of that, they have too much support to simply disappear.

So how is Brocade F/C garbage? Cisco never did partnerships well... it was either control relationship, acquire or toss out the door... These days, acquisition is a well thought out endevour with usually more attractive alternatives and I'm sure Brocade wanted better synergy in a partnership.

Router development for Nortel was always more of a political issue than a compentence issue. Remember, Wellfleet/Bay/Nortel was around long before Cisco... and they were doing routers quite nicely. You are showing your lack on tenure in this industry, or business for that matter, with your shallow-minded blasts...

Thank God for freedom of speech, though, so we all can say our piece.

Personally, I wish Cisco and Nortel well. May they create and innovate instead of resting on wounded laurels...

-HTRN
opticaldude 12/4/2012 | 10:23:53 PM
re: Nortel Cozies Up to Brocade The truth is that SAN will work on anyones DWDM. Some products out there are interesting that will give SAN over Sonet or IP. Cisco and Lucent are leading in this area and Nortel does not have a product to compete so they have to partner with BrokeAid to keep in the game.
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