Cyber-resilient network builds upon the inherent reliability of networking

Scott Shimomura, Head of Product Marketing & Technical Education, Broadcom

Widening expanse of digitisation is also increasing the threat of cyber-attacks calling for a need to be vigilant against these risks. Brocade, a Broadcom company has been working towards expanding the traditional IT definitions of business continuity and disaster recovery with cyber resilient networks. To know more about the efforts & initiatives being made towards digital transformation in the BFSI sector, Srajan Agarwal of Elets News Network (ENN) interacted with Scott Shimomura, Head of Product Marketing & Technical Education, Broadcom

Q. Tell us about Broadcom and its vision for Brocade products and services.
Ans. The Brocade storage networking division at Broadcom develops the industry’s leading Fibre Channel Storage Area Networking (SAN) switches, software, and support. Our vision is to build innovative products that set a standard for reliability, performance and security and enable our customers to deliver differentiated products and services in their markets. Banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) is the key vertical for Broadcom that drives our technology innovation and product roadmap.

Our customers leverage our products and technology to support their most critical applications and data. Any downtime, poor performance, or security breach can severely impact their businesses. Brocade products have become the trusted brand in the data center as evidenced by our twenty-plus years as the SAN market share leader. While there have been many technology shifts in the data center, Brocade Fibre Channel has remained the dominant network for storage because no other network products or technologies can match its capabilities.

With every subsequent generation of products, we double the speed and add features that improve reliability, simplify management, and increase security. Our current Gen 7 products deliver 64G speed, autonomous SAN management, and unmatched network security for SCSI and NVMe enterprise flash storage systems.

Also Read | At Axis, we pursue a holistic cyber security program: Avinash Raghavendra, EVP and Head – IT, Axis Bank

Q. The banking landscape has changed significantly in recent years. What are the new trends driving change in the BFSI sector?
Ans. We are continuously engaged with our BFSI customers to make sure that we understand the dynamic changes in their infrastructure requirements. There’s a constant need for better reliability and performance driven by new storage technologies such as NVMe and flash storage that’s always factored into our roadmap. However, we have focused our recent development efforts to address a higher prioritisation by our customers on automation and security.

Our customers are dealing with an IT workforce that’s smaller and spread across diverse technologies. In other words, there are fewer people in IT with deep levels of expertise or specialised knowledge. There are fewer dedicated SAN admins and more IT generalists in the data center. With this in mind, we started developing autonomous SAN management technology, i.e. self-learning, self-healing, and self-optimising network capabilities to simplify and automate SAN management. Brocade SANs can identify potential network reliability or performance issues and take corrective actions before they impact a customer’s mission-critical applications and data. This reduces administrative expertise and the number of resources required without sacrificing SLAs.

The other priority we have focused on in our current products is security. Cyber-attacks and hackers are continuously evolving and our customers need to be able to adapt to these threats. We are expanding the traditional IT definitions of business continuity and disaster recovery with cyber resilient networks. Our intent is to protect our customers against cyber-attacks in the same way they mitigate the risks of IT disruptions and disasters. A cyber-resilient network builds upon the inherent reliability and availability of Fibre Channel and strengthens security through new capabilities that are unique in networking. Fibre Channel has always been secure by design given it’s a closed network isolated from wired and wireless IP networks that often serve as the point of most attacks. We have invested in hardening the SAN hardware and software to significantly reduce vulnerabilities from malware and hijacking attacks. Our Gen 7 switches integrate hardware and software integrity and security checks from the time they boot up and throughout daily operations to provide peace of mind in a world of increasing threats.

Q. Please give insights into API-driven innovation in banking & finance.
Ans. One of the ways to make SANs easier to manage is to adopt open APIs so our BFSI customers can integrate SAN management into broader DevOps initiatives or infrastructure orchestration platforms. We have embraced REST APIs to enable other tools to execute common SAN provisioning, monitoring, and reporting tasks. This simplifies operations and accelerates the time for customers to deploy new applications by enabling application admins to provision storage through pre-configured SAN management tasks that are normally done by a storage administrator. Using the APIs, we can also feed metrics to application and storage management tools to ensure we understand the underlying health and performance of the SAN. These are examples of how we have modernised the Fibre Channel by leveraging new technology and APIs to ensure its integration into the next generation of data centers.

Growing customer expectations, digital transformation, and competition are increasing pressure on banks & financial institutions to innovate with their services. How do your solutions/services help the BFSI industry ease this pressure?

A Brocade SAN is generally the underlying infrastructure for the applications that matter most to our BFSI customers. Our networks connect application servers to their high-performance storage. Server, storage, and SAN innovation fuels the infrastructure to enable applications to run faster, more reliably, and at a cloud scale. This infrastructure provides a platform for our BFSI customers to develop innovative and differentiated applications and services faster and at a greater scale. Our offerings help to ensure that infrastructure doesn’t become an innovation bottleneck. The benefit to end-users is they can be on any connected device performing transactions that rely on non-stop systems and flawless performance at all times.

Also Read | Cybersecurity will become a productivity enhancer and not an enigma

Q. How do your partnership approach and solutions make it easy to unlock data and assets?
Ans. Partnering is foundational to the way Broadcom develops storage networking solutions. For example, we partner across the industry to develop new standards for future generations of Fibre Channel and NVMe technologies. Our go-to-market model is based on partnering, developing solutions, and selling with the leading storage OEMs across the industry. We collaborate extensively at an engineering and development level with our partners to address the current and future requirements of our shared end-users. These partnerships drive solutions that are at the heart of unlocking the full value of data, information, and knowledge. Our high-speed, low latency networks break performance barriers for applications to process and transform raw data into meaningful and useful intelligence. Our non-stop availability and security ensure that customers always have access regardless of threats to their data. In the end, customers can buy storage solutions with confidence from any of our partners knowing that they will unleash the full value of their data.

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