SDN Technology

Brocade Boosts SDN Network Performance

CHICAGO -- Big Telecom Event -- Brocade on Tuesday introduced Flow Optimizer, a router app designed to improve performance of OpenDaylight-based SDN networks.

The Flow Optimizer app -- which Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) is being demonstrated at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event Tuesday and Wednesday in Chicago -- is designed to fulfill Brocade's vision of "the New IP," making carrier networks more programmable, flexible and fit for uses such as the Internet of Things, social media, cloud and mobility, Sultan Dawood, senior product marketing manager, told Light Reading. (See Making SDN Consumable.)

The app works with any OpenDaylight -compliant controller, including Brocade's own Vyatta Controller.

Performance is a priority on SDN and other networks, "right up there next to security." It's key to cloud services, Dawood says.

"We really tried to address the network performance challenge, which continues to be a problem for customers," he adds.

Flow Optimizer is designed to address both performance and security. By providing visibility into flows, Flow Optimizer provides information required for capacity planning. It identifies congestion and routes traffic around it, to take the load of busiest network segments. And it detects bad flows coming in that signify Layer 2-4 attacks.

The app sits on any off-the-shelf server running any virtual machine, using the sFlow Traffic Analyzer to sample flows. Customers can manage flows using profiles provided by Brocade, or they can make their own profiles.

The software is licensed for 20Gbit/s or 200Gbit/s networks, and independent of specific hardware or network ports.

The app supports REST APIs, to integrate into standard orchestration systems.

It also works with Brocade's MLX Series routers and ICX campus switches.

Dawood compares Brocade's open approach to competitors HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR), which he claims are taking proprietary approaches to SDN. "You're getting innovation, but you're getting it at the price of proprietary -- you're locked into the vendor," he says.

HP provides a network app which optimizes Microsoft Lync performance. The Brocade software does that and other applications too, Dawood says.

Dawood also compares the Flow Optimizer favorably to products such as VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW)'s NSX, which uses an overlay to build a parallel network on top of the existing network, or Cisco, which asks customers to rip and replace its existing equipment with the Cisco Nexus line. Flow Optimizer allows network operators to preserve their existing networking investment, he says.

Dawood provided a roster of use cases for the Flow Optimizer, in some cases aleady implemented by test users.

Test customers are using the app for Layer 2 and Layer 3 services including VPN, MPLS, anti-DDOS and to block malware. It's an alternative to products from companies like Arbor Networks, which are expensive -- priced at nearly $250,000 -- with performance of just 40-80 Gbit/s, not conducive to high-performance business cases. By comparison, the Brocade MLXe router can handle 6.4 terabits performance for nearly the same price. "I can get nearly line rate performance, the price points are really attractive, and I also have the benefits of SDN technology," Dawood says.

University campuses can use the app with the MLX router to throttle Netflix at peak usage times to avoid interfering with mission-critical apps, Dawood says.

An enterprise customer can use the app to block employee access to Facebook, except during lunch hour.

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An application service provider can use the app to guide traffic to an appropriate service provider, such as Amazon Web Services Inc. or Microsoft.

The application supports Flow Port Mirroring, to mirror traffic from one port to another and attach a monitoring device, Dawood says.

Managing traffic using Flow Optimizer will help service providers offer service-level assurance, for which financial users and other enterprise customers will pay a premium to receive, Dawood says.


— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to [email protected]

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