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Michael Klayko Brocade CEO

Mike Klayko Brocade CEO

I met up with the Mike Klayko the CEO of Brocade last week in the restaurant of the St Regis Hotel in New York (famous for creating the best burgers, bar none, in the city) for an exclusive Hot Aisle interview. Mr Klayko is an industry veteran with decades of experience starting at IBM, HP, EMC, McData (acquired by Brocade) and latterly Rhapsody Networks (acquired by Brocade).

Mike is a real action man who regularly cycles to work on his racing bike (originally one of the 50 or so owned by Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France). His cycling links closely with a deep concern for the environment that is reflected in Brocade’s sponsorship for Roz Savage the round the world solo rower (2900 miles in 99 days) and a total focus on reducing the energy used by Brocade products.

Michael set his engineering team the challenge of cutting both the primary and cooling power used to drive Brocade products by 50%. After some initial skepticism, the team eventually came back with a set of products that sliced 70% off the power needed against competitive fiber switch models.

Understandably, Brocade make a big play of this on their website contrasting the power used by the Cisco MDS 9513 with four Brocade Director class switches. The results are markedly different with the Brocade products using up to 10 times less electricity per port than the comparable Cisco product.

Under Mike’s stewardship Brocade announced the acquisition of Foundry in July of this year in order to expand their role in the evolution of enterprise networks.

“They’ve got this vast background of storage networking capabilities,” Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Bob Laliberte says of Brocade. “What they didn’t have was a lot of core IP networking. By joining the two together, it instantly gives them the credibility, culturally, in large enterprises.”

I asked Mike about the capability of Brocade switches to work together in a heterogeneous SAN with a mix of multiple vendor’s storage controllers.

“Storage controller vendors are the main sales channel for all Fiber Channel switches. It is common practice for customers to look for an independent party to provide support across multiple vendors, for example mixing EMC, HP, HDS or IBM controllers.”

Mike told me that Brocade provide multi-vendor support themselves, working with the storage controller vendors to deliver a complete solution for the customer. He stated emphatically that there are no firmware or other differences between Brocade products regardless of the sales channel or source.

To answer my question, why haven’t Cisco killed off Brocade? Simple, Mike makes sure Brocade delivers faster, greener and more compatible equipment that the competition and there is always space in any market for the best of breed.