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Taking a shot at Cisco’s ‘proprietary’ Unified Computing strategy, Brocade is stressing its open approach with Oracle solutions from hardware OEMs HP, Sun, EMC and NetApp, to be sold through their channels.

Brocade is announcing a set of solutions designed to enhance the performance of Oracle database and application suites. The two companies have collaborated on the definition and testing of vendor-agnostic, multiprotocol technology solution sets for data warehousing, business applications, and virtualization deployments that are now included in Oracle reference configurations.  A key benefit is reducing customer deployment times by 3-6 months via the Oracle Accelerate program, says Brocade.

According to Zeus Kerravala, senior vice president, Yankee Group, this announcement exemplifies the growing trend of vendors collaborating on "tightly coupled, best-in-class solutions" to end users. The result is "highly reliable, heterogeneous networking-based business solutions that help their customers maximize their investments in both companies."

It’s all about strategic alliances and open solutions, confirms Barbara Spicek, vice president of channels at Brocade. "We’re very much focusing on a vendor-neutral, architectural-neutral strategy which is very unlike the strategy of Cisco." She was referring to the networking giant’s Unified Computing initiative which took another step toward reality with Tuesday’s announcement of the Virtual Computing Environment coalition.

Brocade has been working with Oracle since 2005 to connect applications within the data center. The company states that its expanded networking product portfolio means it has been able to increase its relevance in multiple Oracle environments and platforms, resulting in the development of a variety of solutions that span distributed IT infrastructures.

It’s all about customer choice, said Spicek. The three Oracle-based solutions involve hardware from HP, Sun Microsystems (which sooner or later is expected to become a part of Oracle), and EMC (who figured prominently in Cisco’s VCE coalition). She added that the solutions will be rolled out through the different vendors’ channels.

Spicek said the data warehousing solution will be sold primarily by EMC; the Sun-based solution, which is not rolled out yet, will be sold through Sun’s channel; and the business intelligence solution will be going out through HP’s channel."Brocade is really being the enabler for technology for a lot of our OEM partners. We are not about one single architecture, and you will see us being flexible and working with partners like Oracle."

Brocade’s SAN switches have been incorporated into pre-tested Oracle design configurations:
Brocade 5300 switches and host bus adapters (HBAs) have been combined with EMC Symmetrix V-Max storage systems to optimize Oracle OLTP throughput in the enterprise; and 5100 switches and HBAs with EMC CLARiiON CX4 storage systems for the midmarket.

The Oracle business intelligence, manufacturing and virtualization solutions include the Brocade ServerIron Application Delivery Controller for load-balancing capabilities and combines with the Brocade FastIron LS for IP/Ethernet connectivity to form the Oracle reference architecture for BI application-to-disk using the Sun Storage 7410 Unified Storage System.

HP StorageWorks 8/24 SAN Switches (Brocade 300 switches) provide the network connectivity component of the HP and Oracle Consulting Accelerate Solution for Industrial Manufacturing; and the Oracle Validated Configurations consisting of Oracle VM, Brocade 300 switches, 815/825 HBAs, and NetApp FAS3100 Series Storage to enhance server application optimization while increasing visibility within virtualized environments to reduce downtime.

This announcement is part of Brocade’s overall strategy of becoming a much more recognized partner in the networking space, said Spicek. "It’s a proof point of how you can put various different vendors together and come up with solutions."