Brocade pushing the gamut of the virtual machine

The gift of virtualization has always come with a price: Keeping control over the easily created virtual machines and their attached applications running across the network.

At its annual press and analyst briefing day, Brocade Communications Systems Inc. extended its vision of helping IT administrators to create automated network fabrics to handle the load by adding a powerful switch and enhancing its core router platform.

The new VDX 8770 modular core Ethernet switch for large enterprises and service providers, to be released next month, can handle up to 384 10Gigabit Ethernet links or 96 ports of 40GbE.

The top of the VDX line switch, which starts at $65,000, has a backplane that can handle 4 terrabytes of data per slot backplane so it will be able to handle 100 GbE line cards in the future.

In addition, Brocade said the switch’s customer ASIC processors are built to support next-generation tunnelling protocols.

More importantly, said Jason Nolet, VP of Brocade’s data centre networking group, with the VDX 8770 organizations building data centre fabrics on the company’s VCS design can scale a fabric up to 8,000 switch ports and 384,000 virtual machines attached to the network.

“This now gives us the industry’s broadest portfolio of fabric switches,” Nolet said, that includes the three-member fixed-configuration VDX 6700 series.

Customers can start building a fabric with two top-of-rack switches and go from there, he said.

Brocade is also giving customers of its MLXe core router the option of buying a 24 port 10 GBE module, which would give the ability to have up to 768 10GbE ports on a single chassis.

Finally, the company said a new version 12.5 operating software for its ADX Application Delivery Switches adds multitenancy to the hardware, allowing multiple departments within organizations to use the controller. Or, up to 32 of the units can be consolidated into one.

The announcements impressed industry analysts at the company’s San Jose, Calif., headquarters, where the briefing took place.

Bob Laliberte of the Enterprise Strategy Group, called the VDX 8770 an “impressive piece of technology.” Zeus Kerravala of ZK Research admitted that the market for the switch is limited to large enterprises and service providers, but, he added, that’s historically been Brocade’s target market.

Noting that the company says it has some 700 VDX customers, the 8770 “is a good upgrade for those customers because it allows them to take the scale of that fabric much higher than they can today.”

The briefing could be the last for CEO Michael Klayko, who announced last month that he will step down after heading the company since 2005 after the board selects a new chief executive officer.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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