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SNW EUROPE, FRANKFURT, and COSTA MESA, Calif.: Emulex Corporation has announced that the company is working with Brocade to improve the reliability, availability, and manageability of Gen 5 Fibre Channel (FC) based storage area networks (SANs) in the enterprise data centre and the cloud. Specifically, Emulex and Brocade have worked together to integrate Brocade’s ClearLink diagnostics technology into Emulex LightPulse Gen 5 FC Host Bus Adapters (HBAs).

“As customers migrate mission-critical, private cloud, and flash-accelerated workloads to Gen 5 FC fabrics, performance, quality of service (QoS) and infrastructure reliability become more critical,” said Shaun Walsh, senior vice president of marketing and corporate development, Emulex. “ClearLink is the first of the Gen 5 FC capabilities that Emulex will be providing to ensure the reliability and management of storage network configurations when connected to Brocade Gen 5 FC SAN fabrics.”

ClearLink Diagnostics

Detecting faults in the physical infrastructure remains challenging and the ability to quickly identify and isolate optics and cable problems can make a significant difference in operational expenditures (OPEX) for both pre-production and production environments.

With ClearLink diagnostics, data centres can identify and isolate optics and cable problems much faster – in a matter of minutes instead of days. For new SAN installations, ClearLink allows administrators to validate that their SANs can operate under full data loads prior to deploying production applications.

ClearLink diagnostics deliver these capabilities by performing a series of tests on both Brocade Gen 5 FC switches and Emulex Gen 5 FC HBAs. This includes running a series of electrical and optical loopback tests that can detect problems with the physical cabling and optics that could result in increased error rates and intermittent problems.

ClearLink enables best practices for deploying or changing the physical ports and cabling within the SAN infrastructure by allowing administrators to verify end-to-end connectivity and performance prior to moving to production. These capabilities help IT administrators and architects maximise application uptime and performance while reducing overall OPEX by allowing them to distinguish between faults due to marginal cable, optics modules, as well as connector or optics seating.

“Brocade’s ClearLink diagnostics technology has proven itself over the past couple of years by improving the reliability and availability for Gen 5 Fibre Channel SANs,” said Jack Rondoni, vice president, Data Centre Storage and Solutions, Brocade. “We are very pleased to work with Emulex to broaden the ecosystem for ClearLink which, as a result, will increase the overall value that Gen 5 Fibre Channel delivers across our mutual customer’s SAN environments.”

“While SANs have always brought the gold standard in reliability and availability, they have not actively addressed physical challenges that remain one of the top pain points in the data center,” said Ben Woo, managing director, Neuralytix. “Emulex and Brocade are working together to build on Fibre Channel’s core values of reliability, availability and performance, allowing SAN administrators to increase customer satisfaction through improved application uptime, resulting in fewer customer support calls.”

“Cables and optics are one of the primary problems we see in our lab tests,” said Dennis Martin, founder and president, Demartek. “The ability to identify and detect from a centralised console where the issue lies, saves a tremendous amount of time and aggravation during new system setups, and having a proven solution supported by two of the leading Fibre Channel vendors in the market will be of great benefit to the industry.”