Brocade Bulks Up VCS Fabric, VDX Switching Portfolios


Brocade this week expanded its network virtualization line-up with new versions of its VDX switches, Vyatta virtual router and VCS fabric software.

The new products, Brocade said, are part of its broader "On-Demand Data Center" strategy, which aims to combine physical and virtual networks to create a new breed of data center infrastructures that are automated, easier to manage and scalable enough to support high-performance applications, such as those tied to big data or the cloud.

At the forefront of these new products is a revamped version of Brocade's VCS fabric technology. Introduced in 2010, Brocade's VCS fabric is meant to increase network automation by automatically detecting devices like servers and switches and providing a centralized system that lets users manage groups of switches as a single switch.

[Related: Brocade To Cut 300 Jobs, Align Resources Around SDN]

Brocade this week updated that fabric technology with a new capability called VCS Virtual Fabric, a multitenancy solution that lets cloud service providers "slice up" their networks into different compartments -- or VLANs -- to host customer data in its own unique network container. Prior to the updates made this week, Brocade's VCS fabric let users create up to 4,000 unique network "slices." But, this new multitenancy architecture lets them scale far beyond that, explained Sanjib HomChaudhuri, principal director, product management at Brocade.

"What we are doing here is enhancing this technology with another standard called FGL, which stands for fine grain labeling," HomChaudhuri told CRN. "And with that technology, we can take the number of slices from 4,000 to many thousands, and even into the millions."

Also new with Brocade's VCS fabric is a capability called AutoQoS, which extends VCS Fabric Intelligence to storage traffic. This, HomChaudhuri said, means VCS fabric can now automatically recognize and prioritize storage traffic, just as it's done with compute traffic for years.

These new VCS features are supported by a new family of Brocade VDX switches, the VDX 6740 series, also unveiled this week. The series consists of the VDX 6740 and VDX 6740-T, which both have 48 ports of 10 GbE and four ports of 40 GbE. The difference between the two is that the 6740-T has a copper interface, whereas the 6740 has a fiber interface.

Both switches are available now starting at $15,995.

The VDX line was a bright spot in Brocade's otherwise sluggish data center IP business last quarter, with VDX revenue jumping 80 percent-year-over, compared to the 8 percent year-over-year decline the business unit saw as a whole.

Brocade also introduced this week a new virtual router -- or vRouter -- called the Vyatta 5600. Targeted largely at the service provider market, the Vyatta 5600 is meant to help users take advantage of the new packet processing capabilities found in more recent x86-based servers, but through a software-based router instead of proprietary or purpose-built routing hardware.

Brocade said the new Vyatta 5600 complements its Vyatta 5400 vRouter series, which is designed for cloud service providers and used today by companies including Amazon and Rackspace.

Brocade's Vyatta line came to Brocade through its 2012 acquisition of SDN start-up Vyatta. The legacy Vyatta business now makes up Brocade's Software Networking division.

PUBLISHED SEPT. 19, 2013