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Brocade launches VDX switches for virtualized, cloud-optimized data centers

November 25, 2010

Brocade recently launched what it claims is the industry’s first true Ethernet fabric switching solutions that are purpose-built for highly virtualized and cloud-optimized data centers.

Its VDX product family of Ethernet fabric switches makes use of Virtual Cluster Switching (VCS) technology. These are based on a scaled virtualized environment without adding network complexity, and enables building flexible, open and hypervisor-agnostic networks.

Brocade also launched the VDX 6720 switches – the first in VDX family. These feature 10 GbE wire-speed, low latency, LAN/SAN  convergence. They run on sixth generation fabric ASIC and proven O/S technology. The key things — you pay as you grow ports-on demand and low power usage.

What’s new?

Rajesh Kaul, country manager, Brocade.

Rajesh Kaul, country manager, Brocade.

So, what’s new about this switch? Rajesh Kaul, country manager, Brocade, said: “The technology underlying the Ethernet fabric — it has all of the resiliences of the fiber fabric and the simplicity of the Ethernet built on to it.

“Every point of the network is connected to every other point on the network — rather than the classical Ethernet. Also, we don’t use spamming tree protocol (STP). We use the TRILL protocol. In this case, every path is active.”

Brocade is working with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) on a standard called Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links (TRILL). This provides multiple paths via load splitting.

TRILL will allow reclaiming network bandwidth and improve the utilization by establishing the shortest path through Layer 2 networks and spreading traffic more evenly. Hence, the network can respond faster to failures.

Kaul added that these devices act on a layer 2 level. “Every device is intelligent and a master device. So, this is a masterless switch.”

What’s in it for the CIO?
How does this fit into the IT-as-a-service role? And, what’s going to be useful for the CIOs?

Kaul said that the ultra low latency between ports is extremely low — 600ns. It also has non-blocking architecture.

He added: “From a CIO’s perspective, he or she can now have an architecture, which allows for larger scaling of the network bandwidth. Also, the CIO can now think of having a huge number of virtual machines. Depending on app needs, he can move virutal loads dynamically in real time.”

Further, the number of devices in his network will be reduced, leading to a reduction in TCO by 30 percent. “The CIO can treat all devices as a single logical chassis. So. it is less costly and less complex to manage. Also, in a cluster network, a lot of packet drops are happening. This is a lossless network,” Kaul added.

He elaborated that the CIO should look at a deterministic network. “In real-time applications, such as video or data migration, the CIO cannot afford to lose packets. This switch solves the problem. Another aspect that a CIO should look at is: how much bandwidth is available. Here, every port and link is active.”

Challenges solved
What are the challenges that Brocade’s switches are solving?

According to Kaul, going forward, as you move on to the cloud, over the next two to three years,60 percent of the applications will reside in the cloud, These will enable you to get into the cloud.

Can the CIO also have the same Ethernet fabric delivering different types of traffic on the network? As per Brocade, VCS technology allows both IP and data traffic to move on the same fabric.

Brocade’s VCS technology is based on three pillars. The first is fabric — all paths are active. “It is auto and non disruptive. Brocade has built distributed intelligence into the fabric. Anohter advantage is the auto migration of port profiles,” said Kaul.

Flexible topology is the next pillar, enabling masterless control. Everything is auto configured. This allows for a logical chassis — the third pillar. It is all on open standards. Incidentally, Brocade is using a new OS — IronWare.

As for taking on the likes of Cisco and Juniper, Kaul suggested that this is the first Ethernet fabric swithch ever to be launched so far. “You can preserve your existing network. The 10Gbps connectibity at each port is also what server vendors are looking at.”

Brocade already has 300 evaluation units. It has also received orders from utilities, serivce companies, etc.

 

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  1. Hillol Sarkar
    November 25, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Bob Borchers may be right about future trends. Qualcomm is remarkably well positioned for UMTS. Corporate America will not store data in the cloud. The rest is very easy to understand.

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