Brocade Delivers 100 Gigabit Ethernet Solutions for Software-Defined Networks

Brocade (Nasdaq: BRCD) outlined its strategy for software-defined networking (SDN), a technology gaining broad support across network operators and enterprises on a global basis. In support of its SDN strategy, Brocade also announced that it has integrated hardware based OpenFlow support in the Brocade® MLX® Series of routers and related Brocade NetIron® platforms, enabling customers to deploy SDN at wire-speed 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) performance.

OpenFlow is a protocol standardized by the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) and a key component of SDN. OpenFlow enables programmatic control of network infrastructures and rapid network service development and deployment.

The strategy Brocade introduced today will guide the company’s SDN investments, marketing and partner relationships to deliver highly flexible, end-to-end networking solutions. The focus of these solutions will be on network virtualization, automation and simplification in large-scale data centers, along with traffic engineering and flow management on high-speed networks. The Brocade strategy provides a clear upgrade path to SDN, leveraging existing network investments and enabling network operators to start now with a low level of risk as they begin to provide services in a highly predictable, non-disruptive manner.

The Brocade SDN strategy includes the following key technologies and capabilities:
  • Resilient and auto-forming Ethernet fabrics will enhance SDN. Brocade VCS® Fabric technology is optimized for virtualized applications through its active-active topology and virtual machine (VM)-aware intelligence that enables seamless VM mobility without manual configuration, including the network policies associated with each VM. In addition, multiple switches that make up the fabric can be managed and programmed as one logical switch, dramatically reducing operational complexity and improving SDN controller scalability. Finally, VCS fabrics, with a self-forming and self-healing architecture, are highly resilient to help increase availability.
  • Network virtualization via overlay technologies will offer flexibility to networks, enabling on-demand infrastructure in highly scalable multi-tenancy environments. Brocade products have a tunnel technology-agnostic design that supports overlay technologies such as Network Virtualization using Generic Routing Encapsulation (NVGRE),, STT, and VXLAN as well as emerging standards.
  • Brocade will be the industry’s first network vendor to deliver OpenFlow in hybrid mode. With Brocade Hybrid Mode, customers can simultaneously deploy traditional Layer 2/3 forwarding with OpenFlow. This unique capability enables network operators to integrate OpenFlow into existing networks, giving them the programmatic control offered by SDN for specific flows while the remaining traffic is handled as before. The Brocade hardware support for OpenFlow enables customers to apply these capabilities at line rate in 10 GbE and 100 GbE networks.
  • With programmatic control of network infrastructure through partnerships with a broad set of OpenFlow controller vendors, Brocade enables service innovation via open APIs. Specifically, Brocade is delivering industry-standard OpenFlow for Layer 2/3 forwarding and the Brocade OpenScript™ engine for Layer 4/7 switching to unlock the network to increase service velocity for highly customized services.
  • Brocade is providing a single common cloud management and orchestration interface through northbound standards-based plug-ins and standards-based RESTful interfaces. The plug-ins to cloud management frameworks—including Cloudstack, Microsoft System Center, OpenStack, and VMware vCenter/vCloud™ Director —provide comprehensive orchestration capabilities for cloud service delivery and automated operations.

In support of this strategy, Brocade is delivering an SDN-ready product family that enables customers to build a network infrastructure today that will serve as the foundation for their SDN architecture in the future. These products include the Brocade VDX® family of data center switches, Brocade ADX® Series application delivery switches, Brocade MLX Series of 100 GbE routers, Brocade NetIron CER Series routers and Brocade NetIron CES Series switches.

Brocade is also building an ecosystem of partners for SDN through strategic investments, solution designs and interoperability testing. Brocade recently unveiled an OpenFlow lab in Japan designed to demonstrate Brocade and partner technologies to aid in the development of tested and validated solutions. Brocade is also a member of the Indiana Center for Network Translational Research and Education (InCNTRE), which seeks to advance development, increase knowledge, and encourage adoption of OpenFlow and other standards-based SDN technologies. Brocade has also participated in a number of industry multi-vendor demonstrations with NEC, including at the Open Networking Summit (ONS) in Santa Clara, CA in April 2012, and Interop Las Vegas in May 2012.