Brocade in the Data Centre: Let’s Talk About Scale Now
By Cat Yong
On September 12th, the whole globe had waited with bated breath (again) as Apple released the sixth iteration of their ridiculously popular iPhone smartphone. As reported by EITN, the iPhone 5 is new, improved and aiming to make more consumers part with loads of cash. No surprise there.
But, the thing that most of those glued to the Apple launch didn’t realise, was another event on the same day, that announced technologies, roadmaps and solutions that ultimately allows the world to see more launches of more smartphones like the iPhone.
Not just the iPhone actually, but other mobile devices of all shapes and sizes and operating systems as well..
To put some perspective on the situation, content delivery network specialists, Akamai, serves 2 trillion requests and 432 million hours of content every day, global cloud traffic is expected to increase 12 times by 2015 and cloud investments by venture capitalist for 2011, increased 68-percent to a whopping US$6.9 billion.
Basically, if the Internet continues chugging along the way it has for the past two decades, it is going to break down from all the traffic it has to carry to and fro between data centres and end point devices. Dave Stevens, Brocade CTO even said, “Internet infrastructure has to be upgraded by the next decade.”
Brocade’s Tech and Analyst Day at their headquarters in San Jose, California, saw the SAN and IP networking vendor, taking cues from their customers whilst building upon their existing Ethernet fabric solutions. According to Jason Nolet, VP of Brocade’s data centre networking group, early adopters are loving the automation – zero-touch virtual machine discovery, configuration, self-forming trunks and minimal configuration to add links – and find that with Brocade soutions, additional network capacity is 5 times faster to deploy, and there is 2 times better network utilisation.
Nolet added they have an install base of 700 customers with Brocade virtual cluster switching (VCS) fabric technology alive and humming in production environments. “But, now they want to scale and we have had to bring VCS across the rest of the data centre.”
This need spearheads the launch of Brocade’s latest VDX 8770 switch which touts the key differentiation of having been purpose-built for VCS fabric technology; together they aim to serve the largest data centres and offer simplicity, automation, scalability and performance.
The VDX 8770 can scale up to 8000 ports and 384,000 VMs; 20 times more than the nearest competitor. It also boasts lowest port-to-port latency, improved load balancing of Layer 3 gateways in the fabric, 4Tbps backplane, future-readiness for 100GbE devices with port hardware to support it expected to debut next year, and even support for software-defined networking (SDN) architecture.
Nolet added, “Nobody else can offer this and after being in beta for 2 and half months, the switch which comes in 8-slot and 4-slot chassis, will be released in 3 weeks’ time.” This new addition sees Brocade now having the broadest portfolio of fabric switches, from 12 all the way to 8000 ports.
Also announced on that day was a new 24-port 10GbE module for the MLXe series routers. It is scalable to 768 ports and is based upon 4th generation silicon, the MaxScale -160 Packet Processor which is claimed to have 40-percent more transistors than Intel’s IvyBridge chips.
The module which can triple existing 10GbE density, targets large high-port density, service provider data centres. It also supports SDN protocols like OpenFlow which allow adoption of external controllers.
Ken Cheng, VP of service provider and application delivery products commented about this new module’s OpenFlow hybrid mode support, “Customers don’t want to replace their existing traditional technologies, they want to run both high-end carrier class networks, but also support OpenFlow.”
(Enterprise IT News was in San Jose, California, as an invited guest to Brocade’s Analyst and Tech Day 2012)
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