Brocade Debuts Long-Overdue Router Refresh

Brocade has introduced a new high-end router that even the boss says should have come out a year ago. The SLX 9850 router is designed to "move [Brocade] up" into bigger data centers and bigger customers -- big service providers, cloud providers, colocation providers and large enterprises, a company executive says.

The new router is designed to provide greater network visibility through a combination of hardware and operating system software that Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) calls the Brocade SLX Insight Architecture, Daniel Williams, principal director, product marketing for data center routing, tells Light Reading.

Previous routers provided information using polling at intervals, but the new line provides real-time visibility, Williams says. By building visibility into the architecture, rather than adding it as "bolt-on," the router can deliver insights without degrading performance, he says.

The router provides a KVM virtual environment to run Brocade, open source, custom or third-party management apps without degrading performance or control, Williams says.

And the router provides a dedicated 10Gbit/s Ethernet interface to stream data to external analytics systems, the Brocade executive said.

The router supports Brocade's Workflow Composer software, which provides automated IT and network automation in a single toolset. Workflow Composer builds on Brocade's acquisition of startup StackStorm in March, to bring DevOps style automation to Brocade's networking strategy. (See Brocade Looks to Bridge Network & Cloud Automation and Brocade Buys StackStorm to Boost DevOps.)

The router is available for orders now, shipping in the fourth quarter.

On Brocade's earnings call August 26, the company cited slow routing sales as a drag on financial results. CEO Lloyd Carney said the browser refresh was long overdue. Brocade "probably should have refreshed this box a year ago," Carney said. The platform is seven or eight years old, Carney said. Also on that call, Carney said there would be a refresh to the router line coming in mid-September; this is that announcement. (See Brocade Revenue Climbs on Ruckus Acquisition, But Earnings Fall Hard and Brocade Teases Big September Router Launch.)

Brocade's competition in the router market is primarily Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Arista Networks Inc. , Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) and -- outside the US -- Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , Williams said. The Brocade product is priced "aggressively" against Cisco and Juniper, and is comparable with Arista in performance, with added features.

Moreover, the product offers scalability that the competition lacks, Williams says. Competitors' products are based on older architectures, while Brocade's is new, providing future-proofing for customers.

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Real-time analytics is a hot item with vendors looking to help network operators stay on top of the demands of video, Internet of Things and other applications requiring high bandwidth and performance. In addition to Brocade, Arista introduced new real-time technology late last month, aimed at cloud operators. (See Arista Launches Real-Time Telemetry for Cloud Networks.)

Cisco introduced Tetration Analytics in mid-August, designed to track "every packet, every flow, every speed" inside the data center. (See Cisco Launches Data Center Analytics for Obsessives.)

And Kentik Technologies, a startup founded by former network operators to provide analytics in the cloud, received $23 million in a third round of funding in early August, bringing its total to $38.2 million. (See Kentik Scores $23M in Funding for Cloud Network Analytics.)

— Mitch Wagner, Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor, Light Reading Enterprise Cloud

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