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Brocade Communications, United States

Wednesday 14 Sep 2011

'Work hard, play hard, make a difference'

Brocade Communications by RMW architecture & interiors in United States
Brocade Communications by RMW architecture & interiors in United States Brocade Communications by RMW architecture & interiors in United States Brocade Communications by RMW architecture & interiors in United States Brocade Communications by RMW architecture & interiors in United States Brocade Communications by RMW architecture & interiors in United States Brocade Communications by RMW architecture & interiors in United States
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Complete redesign of Brocade's work spaces demonstrates the power of staff collaboration 

Voted one of the 'Best Places to Work' by Fortune Magazine and the San Francisco Business Times, Brocade's energetic work force is driving growth even in a down economy. Consolidating five locations into a new 560,000 sq ft campus gave Brocade the chance to express the cornerstones of its culture. The first two 7-storey, 220,000 sq ft buildings house approximately 2,300 employees and an additional 4-storey, 125,000 sq ft building houses Brocade's corporate data centre. 

Like the rigorous engineering of its 'extraordinary networking solutions', the new home had to be a good financial investment that was flexible and scalable to new challenges and enhanced its performance capabilities. To succeed, Brocade engaged staff from the earliest programme design.

From CEO to receptionist, boomer to millennial, engineer to marketer, they share the same mantra: work hard, play hard, make a difference. Those attitudes are reflected in the new campus and into their overall workplaces as follows:

Clarity of planning allows flexibility and scalability. Zoning optimises daylighting for interaction and technology applications capture energy savings for data centre needs. This plus innovative technology layouts in the data and solution centres minimise power use enough to achieve LEED® Gold certification. Scalability was tested with the acquisition of Foundry Networks midway through construction; increasing staff by over 40% and merging three data centres into one.

"Now that all of our local Bay Area employees are brought together on this beautiful new campus, Brocade promises to be an even more rewarding employer of choice." (Lisa McGill, VP of Worldwide Human Resources, Brocade.)

"The new campus is fantastic sales tool for us to demonstrate to our customers that we're on the leading edge of technology. It's a tremendous showcase for all of our products and technologies." (Ian Whiting, Senior VP of Worldwide Sales, Brocade.)

Communication is Brocade's business and face-to-face time is key. Workspaces are universal and lean but numerous interaction spaces are sprinkled throughout: in constructed hubs and left-over spaces; in raked presentation theatres and outdoor cafés. Many have large and small group A/V capability and all are connected with Wi-Fi and Brocade's patented network solutions. Working seamlessly with global partners is possible over the entire campus, enhancing design efficiency.

Comments drawn from the 2010 Campus Relocation Employee Post Occupancy Survey by DataCycles, August 2010 include the following: "a more collaborative environment"; "communication between team members has greatly improved"; "I'm more likely to see the company's leadership because of the café and common spaces" and "I have a feeling of pride that this is our campus".

Mike Klayko, CEO of Brocade, states: "I'm thankful for the campus we've built here: there's a lot of energy in building this world-class facility. What's so great is we've been able to showcase what we've done around the innovation we've brought to market and using our products... We've been able to use the campus as a draw for customers. We're all in one place and the pace of innovation has quickened because we can do that all in one location." (Brocade Reports Record-Setting Q4 FY10 Earnings).

Community encourages teamwork and engages the passion of the workforce and its partners. From chili cook-offs in the Bladerunner Café, Wii matches in the Game Room or pick-up basketball games, the team comes together, engages and innovates together. Brocade's partner network is enhanced by the transparency and hands-on experiences of the briefing and solution centres that allow unparalleled access to test, modify and collaborate on precise customisations.

The responses from employees, customers and partners says it all: "...we didn't expect the new space to be this great..."; "...there is something different about our buildings that creates more energy and collaboration..."; "...the depth of thought that the Brocade team put into its buildings sets a new standard..." (Michael Hirahara, VP of Global Real Estate, Brocade.)

Since its founding in 1995, Brocade Communications has grown from four engineers and a dog in a back office to the Employer of Choice in the San Jose area with a workforce of over 4,500 people worldwide. Brocade's new campus is a great tool that effectively stimulates its core culture of innovation, efficiency and communication for the next leap forward.


Engineering excellence is an intrinsic value in Brocade's culture, evident in the design of the Data Center and Lab. The goals of the Data Center and Engineering Labs project were:

• Consolidation
• Scalability of Design
• Best in Class Energy Performance

Consolidation: Three data centres (7,000 sq ft, 150 racks) were consolidated into one 5,000 sq ft Data Center with 117 racks. Rack utilization was reduced by 40%. 83,000 sq ft and 1,978 R&D racks spread were consolidated from five sites. Decommissioning 400 racks and re-racking equipment resulted in reduced peak electrical demand and space required.

Scalability: Instead of a raised access floor, a space-efficient flat floor, cold row/hot row configuration was planned with hot row containment. The flat floor provided 12% more vertical space within the same footprint. Floor space saved from not having to provide ramping and vertical circulation is used for more rack space. Custom in-row cooling units, the same width as Brocade's racks, are 40% more energy efficient than off-the-shelf models and are now a standard offering by the manufacturer.

Energy Efficiency and Savings: The Data Center is projected to achieve a power usage effectiveness (PUE) of less than 1.2, saving more than 14 million kilowatt-hours each year. Brocade is the single largest 'Data Center Project' incentive ever awarded by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) – evidenced by a rebate of $2.1 million under PG&E's Non-Residential New Construction Program.


Earlier this year, Brocade was formally acknowledged for its long-standing commitment to sustainability when the new headquarters campus received LEED® Gold certification. Utilising principles of flexibility, scalability and energy efficiency, the new campus reflects large-scale, cost effective and environmentally friendly design.

Amenities such as multiple cafes, dining terraces, a coffee bar, bike storage, a Fitness Center, a Sports Court and a dry-cleaning drop-off service provide Brocadians with on-site convenience and reduced car trips. Brocade increased wireless capability and video conferencing/broadcasting facilities to reduce travel between offices.

Workplace: There is a 'universal' planning module for the office floors designed to be flexible enough to accommodate organisational changes. Small conference rooms and private offices are designed to be interchangeable. The Allsteel Stride 'Cradle to CradleSM' and 'Sustainable ChoiceTM' certified workstations and office furniture provide a basic kit of parts to meet the needs of the present and future workforce in a compact footprint.

Energy Use: Workstations and offices were planned to maximize natural daylighting and views and utilise strategically located photo sensors in the overall lighting strategy to reduce the energy consumption. HVAC equipment is controlled, managed and monitored by a building management system that uses direct digital control technology. The building HVAC systems provide cooling and ventilation on an on-demand basis, providing energy savings throughout the whole year and reducing electricity costs by $1.5 annually. In addition, Brocade's Data Center reduced energy usage by 37% and received the largest energy efficiency incentive awarded by PG&E.

Key Facts

Status Completed
Value 0(m€)
RMW architecture & interiors
Reinventing Cities

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