Brocade Shows Some Backbone


Brocade this week unveiled what the company claims is a new class of director switch.

The DCX Backbone is the centerpiece of Brocade's data center networking vision and will compete with rival Cisco's own Data Center 3.0 initiative.

Brocade is positioning the offering as a data center backbone instead of a director because it supports servers, networks and clusters and a wide range of protocols in addition to storage, said Brocade product marketing director Mario Blandini.

The DCX Backbone supports a wide range of current and future protocols, including 1, 2, 4, 8 and 10-gigabit per second Fibre Channel, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Data Center Ethernet, iSCSI and FCIP.

It supports storage and network consolidation, storage and server virtualization, data migration, replication and encryption through the likes of EMC Invista and RecoverPoint and Fujitsu Eternus. It also offers advanced networking features like quality of service, bandwidth management and line rate limiting.

The DCX delivers 12TB/second bandwidth, which Brocade claims is five times more than other systems, and provides 768 ports and 128 inter-chassis links with no oversubscription.

Brocade has also added 8-gig Fibre Channel support to its 48000 Director to make both the industry's first 8-gig offerings; Cisco plans to follow later this year. DCX is fully interoperable with existing Brocade and McData SANs.

Enterprise Strategy Group founder and senior analyst Steve Duplessie said the DCX "has the same value proposition" as server virtualization, and "should make production virtualization deployments happen more rapidly by taking away many of the performance and scalability concerns that server virtualization may present downstream. Bandwidth, density, power consumption and scale can really matter when you are collapsing thousands of physical servers down to hundreds."

The platform is available now from Brocade and Sun Microsystems, and is expected to be available from all Brocade OEM Partners by mid-year. Early customers include SunGard, Lufthansa, KPN and EDEKA Data Center.

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