HPE introduces Cisco-based C-Series 32GB TC switch and director module

HPE rolls out the Cisco-based version of the next-gen 32GB FC switch, following the launch of the Brocade-based B-series last month.

Marty Lans, General Manager, Storage Connectivity Engineering & Global Interoperability Business Unit, HPE

HPE has announced their first 32Gb offerings for their Cisco C-series networking products, the HPE StoreFabric C-series SN6610C 32Gb FC switch, and the HPE StoreFabric C-series SN8500C 48-port 32Gb FC director module. HPE is especially bullish on these new products, and thinks the dynamics of the industry may lead to some exceptional customer demand for them.

“We have talked a lot in the last year about our M-series switches made in collaboration with Mellanox, because they bring us into the Ethernet switch market, but our storage networking business was built on the back of Fibre Channel, and that’s still most of our sales,” said Marty Lans, General Manager, Storage Connectivity Engineering & Global Interoperability Business Unit at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “We’ve always had a long standing relationship with Cisco,  although we don’t typically make a lot of noise about it. This is an extension of that portfolio.”

HPE has sold the Cisco C-series and the Brocade-based B-switches for years alongside each other.

We also have a long history with Brocade, and our business aligns to their quite well,” Lans said. “We have sold them into different markets. Brocade has been more the low to mid-range, while Cisco has been the higher end.” The greater volume directed at the mid and lower parts of the market means that historically, Brocade has been the better seller of the two vendor lines for HPE.

Lans said that the purchase of this part of Brocade’s business by Broadcom has created an element of uncertainty among some customers about where Broadcom is taking these solutions.

“There is some hesitation in the market about what they are doing, particularly since Broadcom also bought Emulex adapters,” Lans said. “Some customers want to see what Broadcom will be doing here, see a clear commitment by them to the space. “This opens up something of an opportunity for Cisco.

“Compared to Brocade, Cisco tends to be a ‘fast follower’ in introducing next-generation products like this, typically a  little behind,” Lans said. “The Cisco products do tend to have some unique capabilities though. Their 32Gb is nice because the chassis doesn’t require a forklift upgrade from 16Gb, and they won’t require a forklift upgrade when they eventually go into a 64Gb chassis. It’s a nice investment protection story.” In contrast, while the Brocade B switch did not require a chassis upgrade to go from 8Gb to 16Gb, it does in going from 16Gb to 32Gb.

In addition to the easy expandability, the SN6610C switch also lowers costs by reducing power consumption, and increases visibility with line-rate monitoring for traffic analytics. Its ideal use case is for for small-departmental SANs (with VSANs for separation), use as a TOR switch or as a native FC SAN extension.

The other new product, the HPE StoreFabric SN8500C 48-port 32Gb FC Director Module for the switches, provides incremental redundancy to future proof storage fabrics in a different mode deployment options. Enabling deployment of higher-density directors also reduces facility costs including power and cooling, simplifies management and increases flexibility.

“It provides both the performance and flexibility needed for the next-generation storage fabric,” Lans said.

Both the HPE StoreFabric C-series SN6610C 32Gb FC Switch and the HPE StoreFabric C-series SN8500C 48-port 32Gb FC Director Module are available now.