Brocade Regional Director: Ethernet Space a “Red Ocean with Blood Everywhere”

Computer Reseller News is running an interview with Charlie Foo, Brocade’s regional director in the company’s partner business group for Asia-Pacific and Japan.

His answers are more forthcoming than one might expect. Usually, these types of interviews generate offer neither candor nor insight, and the news value is negligible. There’s nothing earthshaking in what Foo tells CRN, but he admits to a few issues Brocade is trying to correct.

As you might expect, most of the challenges relate to Brocade’s Foundry operation, which produces Ethernet switches. Foundry has been struggling, underperforming and losing ground to rival vendors. Foo uses graphic language to illustrate the dilemma:

With the acquisition of Foundry, we got into the Ethernet space. The IP market is a red ocean with blood everywhere. We’re parachuting in this ocean, not knowing where we’re going to land. But what we will do is play in the verticals we are strong in. These include education, media, entertainment, healthcare, service providers and government.

A red ocean with blood everywhere? That can’t be good. It’s worse when your Ethernet IP-switching company is the one doing the most hemorrhaging.

Foo goes on to discuss Brocade’s plans for the SMB space — I’ll withhold judgment there, though I’m among the somber skeptics — how Brocade intends to enlist and motivate Select Partners, and expounds on the company’s demand-creation plans. He also touches on a security partnership with McAfee.

At one point, while talking about the moves Cisco and HP have made to provide “converged networking” solutions for the data center, Foo contends that the 3Com-fortified HP still will not have IP-based Ethernet switching products that overlap with Brocade’s Foundry gear. That seems a hopeful assertion.

Given the challenges Brocade faces on the Ethernet switching side of the house, however, one can allow that a dose of optimism is a necessary tonic.


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