Brocade's SDN Strategy: Build VCS Fabric With Partners

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Brocade on Wednesday detailed its software-defined networking strategy, a strategy for developing a flexible, virtualized networking architecture based partly on its VCS fabric technology and partly on working with third-party partners.

Brocade discussed its SDN and other strategies at the Brocade Technology and Analysts Day, held Wednesday in its San Jose, Calif., headquarters.

Ken Cheng, vice president and general manager for service provider and application delivery products for Brocade, said for SDN to be properly implemented, it must provide three basic features, including network virtualization, programmatic control using the open-source OpenFlow standard and cloud orchestration using the OpenStack standard.


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Software-defined networking is regarded as the descendent of OpenFlow, an open-source method to move the high-level data routing management in a network from the routers and switches to applications as a way to handle new IT functionality such as the movement of virtual machines or the building of mobile networks. SDN adds a virtual layer over networking hardware that allows developers and applications to better control the resources needed to keep data flowing efficiently.

For Brocade, SDN starts with the company's VCS Fabric as a foundation, Cheng said.

Brocade's VCS Fabric is a networking fabric that is optimized for server virtualization and the cloud and provides an easy system for discovering moving virtual machines and related data across a network, said Jason Nolet, vice president of Brocade's Data Center Networking Group.

VCS provides the ability to scale out a network as needed simply by adding more switches to a fabric, as well as such automation services as the ability to self-form links between ports and to self-heal connections as needed, Nolet said.

Cheng said the Brocade VCS Fabric provides an efficient infrastructure on which SDN can be built, as well as full support for OpenFlow and a plug-in for OpenStack.

Because the Brocade VCS Fabric provides a base on which virtualization of networking resources can happen, the company believes VCS to be an ideal base on which SDN can be built, Cheng said.

For that reason, Brocade is adding SDN capabilities to many of its new and upcoming products. For instance, the company on Wednesday unveiled the new Brocade MLXe Core Router, which is SDN-enabled with OpenFlow support and features 24 10-Gbit Ethernet ports per half-slot or up to 768 10-Gbit Ethernet ports in a single router, Cheng said.

NEXT: Brocade Extends OpenFlow Beyond Data Center

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