Brocade has introduced analytics tools designed to help mobile network operators scale for the demands of New IP networks.
Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) introduced a new Network Visibility line of products that includes hardware and virtual packet brokers, session directors, probes and a set of APIs designed to allow network operators to manage high traffic, rapidly growing numbers of devices, video and other OTT apps and 4G/LTE and eventually 5G networks. It's part of Brocade’s New IP strategy.
"First and foremost, we're helping customers scale the analytics and monitoring infrastructure to address not only the volume of traffic but the number of devices, as well as managing costs," Daniel Williams, Brocade principal director of product marketing for network visibility and analytics, tells Light Reading.
Previous generations of network packet broker were hardware-based, and tapped production optical networks to direct traffic to the appropriate tool, such as service-level monitoring, security, capacity planning or law enforcement. That worked on 3G networks, but the underlying complexity of 4G and all-IP networks requires putting intelligence in software, which Brocade has done using the new Brocade Session Director, Williams says.
Brocade also introduced an open API to allow the session director to communicate with analytics tools, and allow analytics tools to communicate through the session director with the underlying packet broker infrastructure, and reprogram it in real time to manage specific traffic, Williams says.
Additionally, Brocade announced the Virtual Packet Broker, which moves all the intelligence of the hardware packet broker and session director into an NFV instantiation of packet broker capabilities, which can be deployed on blade servers and scaled to support large number of devices for IoT and machine-to-machine communications, Williams says. It's designed for vEPC environments.
And Visibility Manager software is a configuration management application for physical and virtual packet brokers, reducing the need for network operators to manage physical devices, instead managing the devices through a GUI-based application.
Brocade hasn't forgotten about hardware; it also introduced two hardware packet brokers. The MLXe Packet Broker is a NEBS Level 3-certified node with four chassis sizes -- 4, 8, 12, 16 and 32 slots -- available, supporting 1Gbit/s, 10Gbit/s, 40Gbit/s and 100Gbit/s Ethernet. Brocade ICX packet Brokers are 1 RU nodes designed for the edge of the mobile network, with 1Gbit/s, 10Gbit/s and 40Gbit/s Ethernet. Up to 12 ICX devices can be stacked into a single logical node for up to 2.88Tbit/s bandwidth.
Brocade is looking to the New IP as the future of the company, as its much larger, core SAN business declines. In its last quarterly earnings statement in August, Brocade reported IP networking revenue reaching $154 million, up 16% year-over-year, while SAN revenue was $309 million, down 5% annually. Overall revenue was $552 million, up 1% year-over year. The company said it was targeting 8-12% growth for IP networking in the 2015-16 fiscal year, with SAN projected at 0-2% growth in the same period. (See New IP Drives Quarterly Growth at Brocade.)
CSPs say they plan to use analytics to deploy new services in real time as part of the New IP, according to a survey sponsored by Brocade and reported by Heavy Reading analyst Jim Hodges in August. Some 38% of operators say they are using analytics, 27% say will use it in the near future and another 15% say they planned to do so in the next year. (See It's (Real) Time for Analytics.)