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SDN Technology

Brocade Intros New SDN-Enabled 'Spine' Switch

Brocade has today introduced hardware and software enhancements to its VDX switches designed to enhance programmability, orchestration, automation and flexibility to the spine, or core, of a data center architecture.

Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) introduced a new fixed-configuration switch for "spine" configurations, as well as adding support for major software standards including OpenFlow 1.3, VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) management tools, Puppet, Python and OpenStack.

The new fixed-configuration VDX switch, the VDX 6940, is a 40GbE switch optimized for high-density deployments.

"We see a number of our larger customers opting for fixed-configuration scale-out spine configurations rather than chassis," says Jason Nolet, senior VP of switching, routing and analytics products for Brocade. Chassis switches can be customized by swapping line cards, but fixed-configuration switches are smaller and easier to swap out. "Customers are gravitating to the simplicity and cost structure of the fixed switches rather than the chassis at the spine."

While the 6940 is not Brocade's first fixed switch, it's the first designed specifically for the spine; previous models were designed to be installed at the leaf layer.

The VDX 694 will be available in March in a 1U configuration, and June in a 2U configuration, with a starting price of $27,995.

On the software side: OpenFlow 1.3 support on the VDX line will allow those switches to be controlled by Brocade's new Vyatta Controller and other OpenDaylight and OpenFlow standard controllers. OpenFlow 1.3 support will be available in NOS 6.0 in April. (See Brocade Ships Its Open SDN Controller and Who Does What: SDN Controllers.)

Brocade's MLX router products previously supported OpenFlow 1.3.

The VDX line will support enhanced VMware VXLAN Gateway capabilities and new IP Packs for vRealize fabric monitoring software, to monitor both physical and logical networks.


Find out more about key developments related to the systems and technologies deployed in data centers on Light Reading's data center infrastructure channel


Support for the Puppet standards will let data center operators use Puppet to make configuration changes, and operators will be able to write management scripts using Python. Support for Puppet and Python will help integrate VDX switches into a DevOps environment.

And cloud operators will be able to use OpenStack to orchestrate their VDX switches.

"We've been on a mission for four years now to deliver simplicity through automation," Nolet says. "That's where most cloud service providers and enterprises are looking to save opex or decrease time to new services and new customer bring-up. While we've had very rich native automation within the fabric itself, the addition of these other capabilities around Python scripting, Puppet agents, SDN controller support and OpenFlow 1.3 extends the storyline for customers that want to do their own automation and not just rely on automation native in the fabric."

— 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]

Mitch Wagner 2/5/2015 | 10:02:42 PM
Surprised I'm surprised Brocade hasn't been OpenFlow 1.3 compliant before now -- OpenFlow and OpenDaylight are clearly strategic Brocade's future. 
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