Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Sunday, October 17, 2021

Brocade ‘Data Center Router’ Aimed at Future Network Traffic 

Brocade, the San Jose-based data and storage networking provider, today announced the SLX 9850 that the company bills as a data center routing solution designed to support exponential growth in network traffic. The new router provides the density, scale and performance for 10/40/100 GbE data center use cases.

The SLX 9850 router includes the Brocade’s embedded SLX Insight Architecture for network visibility and incorporates Workflow Compose for server-based, DevOps-style network automation that integrates across IT domains for workflow automation.

Gartner forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020.   In 2021, video will account for about 70 percent of mobile data traffic.   Brocade’s new router is intended to scale to support the emerging network environment in which cloud services, video streaming, IoT and mobile connectivity all will evolve rapidly.

Brocade is seeking to serve the needs of the growing number of organizations pursuing digital transformation, which requires the underlying network infrastructure to provide agility, visibility, and scale in support of initiatives such as cloud, IoT, mobility, and video,” said Brad Casemore, research director, datacenter networks, at industry analyst firm International Data Corp.

“The SLX 9850 includes two notable software capabilities,” Casemore said. “Brocade Workflow Composer, a network-automation platform that facilitates cross-domain workflows for operation agility, and an embedded analytics engine for visibility. Clearly, the platform also features the density, performance, and scale that customers will need, but you can see that software has figured prominently with this product. Performance attributes will always be key considerations for routing, but increasingly differentiation will be achieved through software capabilities.”

According to Daniel Williams, Brocade’s principal director of product marketing for data center routing, the SLX 9850 was built to address current and future port speeds and density requirements.

“We worked very closely with some of our largest service provider and enterprise customers in developing this platform,” he said. “They’re trying to deal with massive amounts of traffic, and that’s an important aspect. But the other area they’re trying to address is the growing number of devices and users and applications, and this translates into things such as how many devices it can support, how many routes, how many policies you can apply because of the depth and complexity of traffic. It (the new product) was really a strong move to IoT and what impact that will have

He said that even though many IoT devices are low bandwidth, “the more challenging area is when you start marrying some of the different technology enablers in a world that’s going to be completely transformed, where you have IoT and cloud models, cloud application models, cloud resource models and high definition video.”

“So that is one of the key areas we’re trying to solve in terms of networking capability and the platform,” he said. “Something that would not only support where customers are today but also where we see things going, we see that growing significantly over the next several years.”

Product SLX 9850 features include:

The SLX Insight Architecture provides network monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities, according to Brocade, that gives users real-time visibility into network operations and automation. Network visibility is embedded on every router for “pervasive visibility” and faster identification of problems.

The architecture includes an open kernel-based virtual machine (KVM) environment to run third-party and customer-specific monitoring, troubleshooting and analytics applications. It also provides a dedicated 10 GbE analytics path between the packet processor on each SLX 9850 interface module and the KVM environment on the management modules. This allows applications running in the KVM environment to extract data via an internal, isolated link, without disrupting forwarding or control plane traffic. To move the captured data to analytics applications off the platform, the architecture provides streaming options, including a dedicated 10 GbE services port on each management module for out-of-band streaming as well as streaming via any interface module port.

The Workflow Composer network automation platform is designed to automate the network lifecycle, from initial provisioning and validation to troubleshooting of multivendor networks. Powered by the StackStorm open source project, Workflow Composer also automates workflows across multiple IT domains within the services delivery chain, such as network, compute, storage and applications to bridge organizational silos within the data center.

The SLX 9850 delivers 230 Tbps non-blocking chassis fabric capacity providing 10/40/100 GE price and port density per blade. With a 1.5 RU modular line card designed for density and scale, the routing platform can support up to 4 million routes, 2 million full-color statistics and 2 million policies.

“We need to support our customers with ever increasing capacity,” said Henk Steenman, CTO, AMS-IX (Amsterdam Internet Exchange), a Brocade customer, “especially for 100 GbE access links, at lower price points while at the same time rapidly turning up these services. With Brocade, we can significantly increase the number and density of 100 GbE services in a cost, space and power-efficient footprint while gaining significant headroom to grow the platform well into the future.”

Brocade said the product will be generally available in the fourth quarter of 2016.

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