Brocade Expands 'Effortless Network' Strategy With New Product Launch

Brocade Communications launched a new enterprise stackable switch and new HyperEdge architecture technology on Tuesday to continue the San Jose, Calif.-based company's efforts to push partners toward software-defined networking solutions.

Brocade's Effortless Network vision, enabled by the company's HyperEdge architecture, integrates innovation with legacy technologies to improve network flexibility and reduce management complexity, application deployment time and operational costs, according to Siva Valliappan, vice president of product management for campus products at Brocade.

"This launch showcases where we are going so our partners are prepared, plus to reassure them that the hardware they're buying today is capable of all of this future innovation and that all of the Brocade ICX 7000 [switching] family is ready to support such product standards," Valliappan told CRN. "We want to create this environment in networking where your solution doesn’t necessarily have to come from the vendor. It could be an application riding on top of this SDN-enabled network that could come from a partner, another company or could come from a vendor -- that's really what we want to get to, where we can solve different problems in a kind of [application]-centric way for the network."

[Related: Brocade Beefs Up Data Center, Service Provider Portfolio With Riverbed SteelApp Acquisition]

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The new enterprise stackable ICX 7250 switch delivers the industry's highest 10GbE port density for any switching in its class to address increasing campus bandwidth demands, according to Valliappan.

Brocade also unveiled a new centrally managed switch port extender for its HyperEdge architecture technology that is designed to simplify network deployment and maintenance, as well as reduce operational expenditures. The port extender enables shared network services and management between Brocade's ICX switching line.

The vendor also extended its OpenFlow 1.3 support to its ICX 7450 and 7750 switches in order to enable SDN solutions in local area network architectures, said Valliappan.

John O'Shea, president of Vology, a Tampa, Fla.-based solution provider and Brocade partner, said customers are asking him about the future of SDN and how it's going to drive ease of management, investment protection and scalability. He said Vology has had success delivering solutions with Brocade's HyperEdge architecture mixed stacking technology.

"So this launch is a real practical application that we feel will help us in being able to drive our customers into an entree point into SDN," said O'Shea. "We're pretty excited about that."

Partners said the ICX 7250, with a list price starting at $2,000, lowers the cost of ownership and will give customers more bang for their buck.

"The pricing is significantly an advantage compared to other offerings in the market, and we really think that’s going to resonate with our customers as we're trying to design solutions that are addressing the needs of the ever-increasing demand on the network," said O'Shea. "The fact that we're able to offer them something as cost effectively as their new ICX series with the capability to expand built into it is really exciting."

Danny Zheng, managing partner at VIRE Technologies, an Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based solution provider, and Microsoft and Brocade partner, said the new products are addressing customers' need of increased bandwidth through SDN implementation.

"I do think Brocade is leading in SDN," said Zheng. "Their driving SDN business even more with this launch."

Infonetics said in a recent report it expects the global carrier SDN and Network Functions Virtualization markets to grow to more than $11 billion in 2018, up from less than $500 million in 2013.

In February, Brocade unveiled plans to acquire Riverbed Technology's virtual application delivery controller SteelApp product line, including assets of the SteelApp business unit and personnel. Brocade told CRN it was a move to align itself with the trend toward SDN and NFV.