‘The focus is shifting to business continuity’

SMBs lack the required skill sets to deploy and maintain the infrastructure
and, therefore, they demand support services, says Deb Dutta, vice president,
Asia Pacific/Japan, Brocade Communications Systems. He adds that the SMB segment
is a big opportunity for Brocade. Excerpts from an interview with Ravi Shekhar
Pandey of CyberMedia.

What are the key challenges that storage vendors must address?

Deb Dutta

We have been seeing our customers mature in terms of their focus shifting
from server storage consolidation to business continuity. The challenges we see
today are interconnecting islands (SAN, NAS or IP), building intelligence over
Fabric network to drive applications, and finally, seamlessly connecting all
different networks to increase the utility of computing. In simple terms,
customers will need their networks up and highly available, so applications
across these networks should be seamless, irrespective of the storage vendor.
Hence, the key challenge that IT administrators face is the interoperability of
the storage area network which connects the products of different storage
vendors’ online without network failure, building security around the fabric
to manage data security, and ensuring that there is no down time.

Several vendors are trying to simplify storage and are targeting SMBs.
What role is Brocade playing in that?
The SMB market needs solutions that are easy to deploy and manage, and are
also cost effective at the same time. SMBs don’t have the required skill
sets to deploy and maintain the infrastructure and, therefore, they demand
support services. Considering these factors many of our partners are already
offering different flavors of SMB SAN storage using Brocade SAN switches in

Brocade recently launched professional services. Who is it aimed at and
what services do you plan to offer?
Brocade’s professional services are designed with one ultimate objective
in mind-to provide the customer with superior experience, allowing them to
drive the maximum return from their investment in SAN technology. In order to
achieve this we offer a portfolio of services ranging from relatively simple
installation and configuration services to complex SAN design and analysis
services for large enterprises.

Don’t you think your professional services would bring you in conflict
with your business partners who also offer such services?
We have put together a business model that gave the customer the service
they were looking for without threatening any services that were currently being
offered by our partners. The result is a partner-friendly model, where we
aim to sell services only through our partner network and therefore you can look
at this as a service not just to our customers, but also to our partners. Being
experts in the SAN domain, we encourage our partners to outsource the complex
SAN delivery to Brocade. Some of our partners have adequate capability to offer
such services themselves, and where this is the case, we encourage them to do

How would you describe the Indian market in terms of trends and
opportunities for vendors?
Indian market has been growing significantly in the past couple of years.
After China, India is the next biggest market where overall IT growth will be
seen. Brocade believes the opportunity for storage vendors is in three key
areas: enterprise segment will still be a significant spender-clear signs of
disaster recovery projects growing by 100% over last year; SMBs have just begun
to show signs to lead the market in the next couple of years. Another emerging
trend to be seen in 2005-2006 will be SAN blades, which will now enable
customers to address the server consolidation area. IBM has already launched
this last year. HP has introduced the 4 GB technology-based SAN blade this year.

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