Brocade gets loud with Data Centre is Here campaign

John McHugh Brocade

Brocade CMO John McHugh

At Brocade’s Technology Day Summit earlier this month, the idea of Brocade as “the best kept secret in the technology industry” came up a few times, both from the networking vendor itself and from industry pundits.

But if Brocade chief marketing officer John McHugh has his way, that won’t be the case for long. At the event, McHugh outlined the details of the company’s biggest-ever marketing campaign, a full-scale assault centered around the slogan “The Data Center is Here,” with “here” being wherever the user is.

“It’s anywhere an end user device may exist, where an application is running or being used, and where information is being created, employed or synthesized,” McHugh said.

The executive called it “the most profound transformation of the IT industry in the last three decades,” the move to greater flexibility in the face of trends like the use of video, massive increases in storage requirements, a mobile workforce and the use of virtualization to compact more and more data into existing infrastructure.

And it’s more than a data centre issue, he stressed – it’s about what’s going on throughout the network. But the old familiar home base still has an important role to play, serving as “the launching pad for everything that will happen in the next decade” when it comes to innovation, in McHugh’s estimation.

McHugh said the new campaign fits neatly into the company’s now year-old Brocade One strategy, quipping that his top sign of a healthy company is that “your multi-year strategy doesn’t change twice a year.” The campaign highlights the main point of the One strategy, which seeks to use Ethernet Fabrics and other network-flattening technologies to “turn the data centre from a physical room to an end-to-end network capability.

“We’re the only company to provide that, and that is singularly focused on that,” he said. He dismissed efforts around Fabric by his competitors – including Cisco, Avaya, Juniper and his former employer, HP – as just talk or simple software-based approaches. “We’re going to go deeper,” he said.

The more aggressive approach doesn’t end with corporate marketing – the company is also actively courting new channel partners in a recruitment drive. How important is branding to the company and its channel? When given the hypothetical opportunity to spend an additional million dollars a year on her channel organization, worldwide channel chief Barbara Spicek said her number one spend would be on branding. caught up with Spicek at the event to discuss the campaign and what it means to the company’s solution providers.


Please also see part one of our video interview with Spicek, which covered the vendor’s CloudPlex strategy.