Dell and Brocade confirmed their expanded relationship this week and detailed a broad agenda that includes Dell offering end-to-end computing, networking and storage products to global datacentres.

Under its own brand, Dell will market Brocade FibreChannel host bus adapters and converged network adapters, FibreChannel over Ethernet (FCoE) switches and Ethernet switching products. Specifically, Dell will resell Brocade products:

  • DCX and DCX 4-S backbone FibreChannel switches
  • DCX and DCX 4-S backbone FibreChannel switches
  • 8000 FCoE Switch and 1010/1020 converged network adapters
  • NetIron MLX series routers, BigIron RX series switches and ADX Layer 4-7 application switches;
  • Datacentre Fabric Manager.

Dell has been offering older Brocade products since 1997, including FibreChannel blade switches for Dell blade servers and fixed-configuration FibreChannel switches for storage area networks. This expansion of that relationship gives Dell a more complete datacentre lineup to better compete with Cisco, IBM and HP.

Indeed, Brocade seems to be the OEM darling of the major datacentre players competing with Cisco and its new blade server platform, the Unified Computing System.

IBM recently extended its OEM relationship with Brocade to include the company's switches and routers, and HP also expanded its arrangement to include Brocade's 8000 FCoE switch .

The moves were viewed by most in the industry as counterstrikes to Cisco's decision to enter the datacentre server market, long the stronghold of IBM, HP and Dell, which are all channel partners of Cisco.

"This gives Dell the tools to be able to talk about a unified (datacentre) fabric," says Deni Connor, principal analyst at Storage Strategies NOW. "They can compete more completely with HP, IBM and Cisco."

In addition to Dell reselling more Brocade product, the companies said they also intend to develop datacentre infrastructure and optimisation system enabled by virtualisation.

The companies say they also plan to deliver integrated toolsets to manage application delivery and deployment as business services, and to deploy server and storage virtualisation more broadly across the datacentre.

Dell expects to make the new Brocade products available to customers later this year.