Brocade unleashes a data center barrage

Brocade this week extended its data center networking portfolio with hardware and software enhancements designed to better integrate and align physical and virtual resources.

For virtual networking, Brocade rolled out the vRouter virtual router, obtained from its recent acquisition of open source networking software company Vyatta; and the Virtual ADX Application Delivery Switch. For physical networking, the company unveiled new modules for its MLXe core router and NetIron Carrier Ethernet switch, as well as updated operating system software for that product.

Brocade also announced an OpenStack plug-in and an Application Resource Broker for data center orchestration and management.

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The Brocade Vyatta 5400 vRouter is software for highly virtualized data centers. It is designed to enable the configuration of multitier networks that can be deployed, configured or changed on demand. Brocade Vyatta vRouter is already deployed in Amazon Web Services, and supports VMware, Microsoft, Citrix and Red Hat hypervisors.

Release 6.6 of the vRouter includes support for multicast routing and dynamic multipoint VPN (DMVPN), for secure transmission of content to selected end-points.

Brocade Virtual ADX is designed to increase the speed of application resource and services deployment for cloud environments. The software controls application management and provisioning via the SOAP/XML API, enabling integration with third-party or homegrown orchestration and automation tools, Brocade says.

That API, along with support for OpenScript, allows for programmatic control of Layer 4-7 functions in a virtualized infrastructure, the company says. Virtual ADX is also intended to simplify orchestration of the application delivery network, and provide the ability to validate, test and replicate production or QA environments on demand.

For physical networking, Brocade rolled out 40G Ethernet interfaces for its MLXe core router, higher-performance modules for the NetIron CER Routers and expanded SDN capabilities in the NetIron OS.

The new four-port 40G Ethernet module for the MLXe features wire-speed performance for connecting with Brocade VDX/VCS fabric switches to construct an end-to-end, multitenant 40G data center. It also allows the router to support 128 40G ports per chassis.

The 40G-enabled MLXe will go up against Cisco's Nexus 7000 and 6000 switches, and Catalyst 6500 with 40G interfaces; Juniper's EX9200 and QFabric switches; HP's new 12900 and 11900 switches; and those from Dell, Extreme, Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent and other Ethernet switching combatants. It may also soon face core 40G competition from Arista Networks.

For smaller data centers that are integrated into Carrier Ethernet networks, Brocade's new four-port 10G modules for the NetIron switches are designed to extend the reach of Carrier Ethernet and enable rapid deployment of new services at the network edge.

The updated operating system software for the NetIron switches enhance high-performance routing and SDN capabilities, Brocade says. The new release supports OpenFlow Hybrid Port Mode technology, to help customers simultaneously deploy OpenFlow and traditional routing on the same port for a migration path to SDN.

Hybrid Port Mode is designed to enable customers to optimize specific data flows using OpenFlow without disrupting the existing production traffic. The new software also features support for multitenant data center environments to improve cloud service delivery and enforce tighter service level agreements between customers sharing the same cloud infrastructure.

For orchestration of the physical/virtual data center and cloud, Brocade released the first in a series of OpenStack plugins for its products. The initial release, for its VDX fabric switches, enables customers to include the Brocade fabric technology in an OpenStack-managed data center/cloud environment where administrators can provision and decommission pools of compute, networking and storage resources on-demand.

OpenStack plugins for Brocade's ADX, Virtual ADX, Gen 5 FibreChannel and Vyatta vRouter will be available in the second half of this year.

Also for provisioning, the updated Brocade Application Resource Broker is designed to automate the rollout of new services and adapt to changing business conditions. The update enables hybrid cloud services, as well as business continuity across globally distributed data centers for disaster avoidance, Brocade says.

Taken together, the new hardware and software is intended to give incumbents and startups alike with a contender in the data center fabric and software-defined networking arena. Forty gigabit Ethernet will stretch the boundaries in physical density, while features like an OpenStack plugin and OpenFlow forwarding will enable programmability in clouds and SDNs.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 25 years, 21 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.

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Tags Data Centerhardware systemsbrocadeOpenFlowVyattaConfiguration / maintenanceOpenStackLAN & WANSDNEthernet fabricscloud orchestrationdata center networking

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