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Microsoft Upgrades Customer Test Center with Brocade Solutions

November 2007 by Marc Jacob

Brocade announced that the Microsoft Enterprise Engineering Center has enhanced its Storage Area Network (SAN) environment with Brocade systems in response to the constantly changing needs of Fortune 1000 customers evaluating Microsoft products at the Enterprise Engineering Center.

Located on Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington, campus, the Enterprise Engineering Center implemented 4 Gbit/sec Brocade 48000 Directors, SAN switches, and Fabric Manager software to enable a seamless and stable SAN environment for customers to simulate how new Microsoft solutions operate in real-world conditions. The Enterprise Engineering Center hosts customers who are testing and validating planned upgrades, migrations, or deployments of Microsoft’s next-generation enterprise software and solutions. With more than 500 servers and nearly 600 terabytes of SAN storage, the Enterprise Engineering Center is one of the largest customer validation and test labs in the world. The Brocade infrastructure allows the Enterprise Engineering Center to rapidly configure and isolate customers’ product tests on a single physical SAN fabric, ensuring privacy and greatly reducing the center’s management requirements.

Brocade is the industry-leader in robust, enterprise-class SANs and has partnered with the Enterprise Engineering Center since the center’s creation in 2002. The Enterprise Engineering Center has deployed a pair of Brocade 48000 Directors on its SAN to provide customers with the highest bandwidth and most power-efficient switching solution available. The platforms form the core of a 600-port infrastructure with dual fabrics for redundancy and load balancing, and support 600 terabytes of storage. Moreover, the center achieves extremely fast core-to-edge throughput by using Brocade 4900 and 4100 Switches to link the various storage platforms.

The Brocade solution enables the Enterprise Engineering Center to safeguard the terabytes of live data and corporate Active Directory structures entrusted to Microsoft during test engagements. Utilizing the capabilities of Brocade Fabric OS®, Microsoft can create virtual domains that segregate each customer’s tests to provide security during engagements, which often last for weeks. Customers can even change zoning and other parameters during tests without impacting the ongoing evaluations of other companies.

The Brocade solution further improves the center’s productivity through the Brocade Fabric Manager application. Administrators can create, monitor, and dynamically provision multiple virtual SAN domains with any onsite devices without manually reconfiguring cables. From a central console, they can even assign ports on any attached device for customers’ exclusive use, enabling multiple companies to share a single platform.

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