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September 20, 2012

IBM Weaves Brocade into Big Data Fabric

Datanami Staff

IBM and Brocade have teamed up to provide cost-effective and energy-efficient solutions to handle big data management’s biggest problems.

Nagui Halim, an IBM Fellow, spoke of IBM’s and Brocade’s aspirations of the partnership in the video below, noting that “In order to effectively use the huge volumes of data,” Halim said “the variety, and the velocity that’s coming into these corporations, they need large complexes to process the data. IBM has evolved its relationship with Brocade into the big data era where we will be looking into the future with very advanced systems.”

IBM and Brocade have, in concert, developed a system with an underlying infrastructure that can handle, according to Halim, the biggest conceivable big data problems. This system, the Brocade VDX 8770, is based on the VCS architecture and expands the scale. “The fabric architecturally, says Halim “will scale up to 8,000 ports, easily accommodating the largest big data installations that we can now conceive of.” Every port can handle either ten or forty gigabits (1.25 or 5 gigabytes). Simple multiplication reveals that the system is capable of operating easily in the terabyte range.

“We at IBM,” Halim said “and in partnership with Brocade, have been investigating applying these technologies across a broad set of verticals: government, telco, banking, insurance, transportation, agriculture, the list is pretty much endless.”

According to Brocade, the two have already produced practical solutions for the big data challenges corporations today face. For example, a large telecommunications company needs to keep track of usage across their landscape, and do so quickly, so that they can move with expediency to remedy possible network outages.

“The Brocade and IBM joint solution,” the Brocade website states, “addresses the challenges of previous approaches to monitoring and analyzing high-volume, high-velocity network data.” As a result, according to Brocade, the system can provide sub-millisecond responses to events, as well as continuous analysis of data that comes in from across the country.

These are important functions for a telecommunications company. Outages can happen instantaneously with little warning. Combined with predictive analytics, which IBM has also been championing, near realtime data processing could quickly identify when the predicted circumstances that lead to outages happen.

A more serious application of this technology involves government monitoring of possible terrorist activities. Ethics aside, the US Government consistently monitors movements of potential terrorist cells and individuals both in the United States. They turn to predictive analytics to better inform their intelligence and turn to realtime analytics to better response time. IBM and Brocade are involved with this, counting the US Government as one of their test cases.

With their relationship, IBM and Brocade hope to bridge the gap between slower predictive analytics and by definition quick realtime analytics.

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