The SilkWorm family has had its missing member added. The 16-32 port 4100 fits in above the 8-port 3250, the 16-port 3850 and Brocade's two directors; the 64-port (dual domain) 12000 and 128-port 24000. All use the same code-base and management tools.

Brocade's Fabric operating system has been also been updated to feature improved scalability, security, distance and FICON support. The 4100 comes with 32 ports which are are made available in either 16, 24 or 32-port form via a software key.

Chris Vance, Brocade's systems engineering manager, said: "We're first to market with a 4Gbit/s product at the 2Gbit/s price point." The 4100 can connect across a 500km distance. Vance sees 4Gbit/s HBA products coming out next year. At present, "4Gbit/s is for inter-switch links. Four gig tape drives will arrive in the firsat half of 2005 and four gig drive arrays in the second half. The four gig transition will be complete in the first half of 2006."

The SilkWorm family will be extended next year when a 256-port 24000 director will be announced. Upgrade will be possible with 4Gbit/s blades being added. Brocade sees 8 and/or 10Gbit/s blades coming, for inter-switch links, for example. Vance said: "We're not seeing any great demand for ten gig and eight gig is certainly on Brocade's road map."