Data Center

Overview and Key Themes from NANOG 70

by asardell ‎06-09-2017 02:34 PM - edited ‎06-10-2017 08:56 AM (5,109 Views)

This week, network operators at NANOG 70 (Bellevue, WA) checked in with us continually for updates on the status of various solutions in our data center portfolio. I’ll talk about these and other questions here. 


A Hybrid Cloud Connectivity Template for Colocation Providers

by asardell ‎06-01-2017 07:15 AM - edited ‎08-17-2017 09:17 PM (7,217 Views)

In the last couple of months, we’ve explored how colocation facilities (Colo), especially those that provide Internet Exchange (IXP), can enhance their service offerings for hybrid cloud connectivity.


Here, we'll look at prerequisites for creating enterprise hybrid clouds that include multiple Cloud Service Providers (CSP), and connection options both inside and outside the Colo. This allows colocation service providers to be a viable option in a cloud-centric world, meeting the needs of cloud-first, Mode 2 enterprises, as outlined in the Gartner report entitled, Four Strategies for Colocation Technology Product Management.


See Us at NANOG 70 in Bellevue Next Week

by asardell ‎05-30-2017 09:21 AM - edited ‎05-30-2017 12:22 PM (3,894 Views)

Brocade is a perennial sponsor at NANOG, and NANOG 70 is no different. The Product Management team in our Switching, Routing and Analytics BU will be meeting a host of customers all week long. We’ll discuss all the solutions are gaining traction in SP networks, colocation providers, and Internet and Cloud Exchanges, as well as other areas. 


Use Cases for Intent-Based Networking

by asardell on ‎05-24-2017 02:43 PM (5,200 Views)

This is Part II of a Two-Part Series; in Part I we discussed the components and attributes of intent-based networking. Here, we’ll detail several use cases in the areas of traffic management and threat mitigation for intent-based networking.


The classes of use cases we will examine are:


  • Traffic Management
  • External Risk Mitigation
  • Network Security Hardening

Thanks to Brocade Product Managers for the core concepts in this article. The material was presented by Ravi Rao at a Silicon Valley Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum held at Stanford University this past May 6.


Components of Intent-Based Networking

by asardell ‎05-20-2017 09:45 AM - edited ‎05-24-2017 05:07 PM (5,002 Views)

This is Part I of a Two-Part Series, where we discuss the components and attributes of intent-based networking, including the capabilities for visibility, monitoring, and programmability from the Infrastucture. In Part II, we’ll detail several use cases for intent-based networking.


Thanks to Brocade Product Managers for the core concepts in this article. The material was presented by Ravi Rao at a Silicon Valley Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum Held at Stanford University this past May 6.


Internet and Cloud Exchanges: Become Trusted Advisors for Your Enterprise Customers

by asardell ‎05-15-2017 06:49 AM - edited ‎05-24-2017 02:31 PM (5,364 Views)

According to IDC, worldwide spending on public cloud services is expected to grow from USD 96.5 billion in 2016 to more than USD 195 billion in 2020. And Gartner points out that the worldwide public cloud services market will grow 18% in 2017


As an Internet or Cloud Exchange Provider (IXP/CXP), you can become a trusted advisor to your enterprise customers (and ultimately your CSP ones as well) by being conversant in the issues of where best to place application workloads.


What’s Good for the Business is Good for the Network

by asardell ‎05-08-2017 02:24 PM - edited ‎05-08-2017 10:33 PM (4,785 Views)

Boosting Agility with Visibility and Analytics


Networks, like all of IT, are beholden to business policies (intent) as well as to the state of the infrastructure (inventory, traffic, topology) at the time that changes are made.  Both of these categories are crucial, and are taken into account with pervasive visibility, relevant analytics and cross-domain, workflow-based automation. 


Network Infrastructure Visibility and Analytics with Data Streaming

by patild on ‎05-04-2017 09:47 AM - last edited on ‎05-04-2017 11:42 AM by Community Manager (4,873 Views)

Given all the emphasis today on Data Analytics for driving business growth and increasing business efficiency, it is no surprise that data streaming is everywhere in the news.


What Data Streaming is, and Why it Matters
Data streaming is the mechanism by which you can collect comprehensive real time data from your applications and infrastructure, for analysis by various tools and


Fit for the Future

by Marcus Thordal ‎05-01-2017 10:50 PM - edited ‎05-01-2017 10:57 PM (5,004 Views)

 The theme for DELL EMCWorld 2017 is Realizing your digital future; here at Brocade we have packed a booth full of experts and great demonstrations for your inspiration and to learn from on


The Path to 5G is Paved with Cloud Mobility

by asardell on ‎05-01-2017 07:10 PM (4,878 Views)

How Packet Brokers Drive Efficiency in Analytics Infrastructure at the Mobile Edge


As mobile data traffic continues to grow exponentially, there’s widespread preparation for 5G networks, the Internet of Things (IoT), and machine-to-machine communications. This entails many critical decisions at the mobile packet edge, and high volume analytics tools need to process appropriate traffic to make these decisions.


Accordingly, mobile operators are embracing packet brokers, and numerous Tier 1's in every theatre are using Brocade's Session Director. 


Announcing the 2.0 Release of Flow Optimizer

by asardell ‎04-24-2017 08:56 AM - edited ‎04-26-2017 04:46 PM (4,172 Views)

IP Blacklisting, Workflow Composer Integration, and New Platforms

Brocade Flow Optimizer (BFO) 2.0 is now available. This is the first release that incorporates Workflow Composer, and it continues the progression of supporting new platforms, as well as new visibility options and match actions.


How Can Colocation Providers Address Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Strategy?

by asardell ‎04-20-2017 01:51 AM - edited ‎08-18-2017 09:38 AM (5,632 Views)

Two weeks ago, we talked about how a leading IXP addressed their challenges with SLX. Here, we’ll look at the Internet and Cloud Exchange (IXP/CXP) business for colocation providers from the point of view of their end customers who need cloud connections to fulfill their IT strategies through hybrid clouds. This allows colocation service providers to be a viable option in a cloud-centric world, meeting the needs of cloud-first, Mode 2 enterprises, as outlined in the Gartner report entitled, Four Strategies for Colocation Technology Product Management.


Getting Storage Right for Business Critical Applications on VMware

by Marcus Thordal ‎04-14-2017 11:28 AM - edited ‎04-14-2017 11:31 AM (3,759 Views)


With more than 75% of all workloads in the enterprise data center virtualized predominantly on VMware (according to Gartner) combined with the power of flash storage technologies; getting storage right for Business Critical Applications on VMware is more important than ever.


How a Leading IXP Addressed Key Challenges with SLX 9850

by asardell on ‎04-06-2017 06:08 AM (3,921 Views)

AMS-IX Saves Costs by Reducing Number of Core Sites


For Internet and Cloud Exchange Points (IXP/CXP), there are a variety of challenges in reducing costs and increasing revenue opportunities. AMS-IX moved to SLX 9850 to reduce complexity and increase scale. 


Visibility Everywhere in the Data Center Network

by asardell ‎04-02-2017 02:36 PM - edited ‎04-02-2017 02:42 PM (3,591 Views)

Network Visibility and Flexible Infrastructure Lead to Intelligent Automation 


You need to see what's going on at run time in order to take actions. Armed with a closed feedback loop of automation and visibility, you can verify that network updates deliver the behavior you want.        


The Questions We Ask of Networks

by asardell ‎03-27-2017 06:33 AM - edited ‎03-27-2017 06:39 AM (4,088 Views)

From Visibility to Collection, and on to Intelligent Automation


Even the first small steps you take towards collecting, collating and automating based on network-provided information lead to operational improvements. I’ll explain why here. 


Secure High Performance DCI with Brocade and Coriant

by asardell on ‎03-20-2017 03:46 PM (4,907 Views)

Pretested Integration on Key DC Interconnect and Intra-DC Scenarios


Brocade and Coriant have woven together solutions for several use cases in this area to provide very high density and high performance interconnect services as well as payload encryption across DWDM systems. The solutions include Brocade’s service provider DC WAN portfolio (including SLX and MLX routers) and Coriant’s G30 DCI Platform



Site Reliability Engineers. They’re Here, Happy, Hurting.

by plaporte ‎03-18-2017 02:39 PM - edited ‎03-18-2017 03:09 PM (3,940 Views)

Last week, I attended my first SRE Con in San Francisco. In case you’re unfamiliar, SRE stands for Site Reliability Engineer.

It’s the hot new job title and role as more and more organizations embrace Digital Transformation and Cloud operations models. For two days, the StackStorm team met with and fielded


Towards Machine Learning in Networking: Benefits Begin Now

by asardell on ‎03-13-2017 07:50 AM - last edited on ‎03-13-2017 09:13 AM by Community Manager (7,437 Views)


Last Thursday, Packet Pushers featured a thought-provoking podcast on the applicability of machine learning (ML) to networking. David Meyer, Chief Scientist, VP and Fellow at Brocade discussed the challenges, opportunities and realities.


Visibility innovations such as SLX Insight Architecture and SLX Visibility Services are facilitating this ability in the data center, particularly in support of DevOps-style workflow automation such as Brocade Workflow Composer.


Network Auto-Remediation with Workflow Composer

by asardell ‎03-07-2017 01:20 PM - edited ‎03-08-2017 10:55 AM (2,733 Views)

Here we look at auto-remediation means today and what it aspires to mean. We do this with a concrete example using Brocade Workflow Composer. This is an examination of network assurance and what it implies in the larger world of intent-based networking. As you following these exciting trends, you can get started with Workflow Composer today! 








Exploring the Network Essentials (Now GA!) and the Data Center Fabric Automation Suites  


Last week I touched on architectural choices for service providers (particularly Internet exchanges and colocation providers) for connecting customers to their networks. Virtual Private LAN Service (VPLS) is a mature option that allows enterprises to connect to the network and have all of their sites connected via pseudowires so that they can all be dealt with as if they were part of the same LAN.




Solutions for Service Provider Data Centers

by asardell ‎02-21-2017 10:53 AM - edited ‎02-26-2017 05:20 PM (3,777 Views)

Last week I talked about some convergence trends in the service provider space, particularly for IXP's, collocation facilities, and cloud exchanges.  If you're in this space, you know what it is to deal with huge traffic growth and demanding customers that want high bandwidth and always-on connectivity with access to advanced cloud services.


Convergence Trends in Interconnection

by asardell ‎02-15-2017 01:48 PM - edited ‎02-24-2017 10:19 AM (4,685 Views)

IXPs, Colocation providers, and cloud exchanges for a vibrant ecosystem. Understanding these trends is of interest to the players in this space, as well as to the many enterprises seeking to increase the use of public clouds in their IT. 


IT agility needs automation and DevOps culture to go together

by savitakini ‎02-03-2017 11:19 AM - edited ‎04-25-2017 11:50 AM (5,354 Views)


Digital transformation is forcing permanent, long standing disruption across all industries and organizations. To stay competitive, remain agile and innovate, IT  has to evolve and adapt. DevOps culture is proving to be the answer, but automation is intrinsic to this culture, the processes and tools that make it happen. 


Document Library Includes Detailed Reference Architectures and Feature Usage Descriptions


Unified Visibility Across the IT Stack

by yhasan ‎01-24-2017 10:56 AM - edited ‎01-26-2017 02:43 PM (4,437 Views)

How do I get end-to-end visibility across my IT stack?


Using DevOps to Fulfill IT Agility Requirements

by asardell ‎01-20-2017 08:32 AM - edited ‎01-24-2017 03:46 PM (4,130 Views)

Reconciling the Roles of SDN Controllers, DevOps Solutions, and Orchestration Software


Using Visibility and Automation Together

by LindsayHillBRCD on ‎01-09-2017 11:42 AM (3,226 Views)

In Nabil Bukhari's blog on December 6, he detailed the vision outlined in our announcement that day: multidimensional agility, with visibility and automation working in concert.


On December 14, we showed at a very high level how Brocade Workflow Composer can be used to automate troubleshooting and remediation by using information from the SLX Insight Architecture and Visibility Services.


In this blog, we’ll walk through a specific example of how to use this combination of platform and automation features to determine the root cause of an application performance problem, whether it has to do with the network, the application itself, or another reason having to do with the physical or virtual compute resources.


Our Scenario

Let’s assume that your software team has deployed a distributed application on a scale-out leaf-spine IP fabric network (Figure 1). The fabric uses BGP-EVPN, and application isolation, to provide Layer 2 services across the fabric.

Figure 1: Distributed Application across Scale-Out IP Fabric

Figure 1: Distributed Application across Scale-Out IP Fabric


Selected users have been reporting intermittent, inconsistent performance problems. The software team suspect a network problem, and have passed it to the network team to investigate further.


How do we go about troubleshooting the problem? We start at a high level, then work down to deeper detail until we isolate the issue:

  1. Check overall traffic – look for any link congestion problems
  2. Drill into specific per-application server traffic levels to identify abnormalities
  3. Capture traffic from anomalous servers to drill down into specific packets

Streaming Data: The Big Picture

Brocade SLX switches support streaming interface counters. Using Brocade Workflow Composer, we can run a workflow to configure the streaming settings on our switches. This pushes out a profile that defines the statistics we want to stream, and where to send the data to. No need to login to each individual switch. Our profile needs to include interface counters.


This data can be collected and displayed by tools such as Splunk, Influx DB, Grafana, or the Elastic Stack.

Our starting point is to login to a dashboard showing interface utilization graphs (Figure 2). This will tell us if there is any congestion occurring on links within the fabric, or at the edge ports:




Figure 2: Sample Dashboard Showing Interface Utilization


But these graphs don’t show anything unusual. Traffic levels are normal, no interfaces are showing congestion. We need to go deeper.


Visibility Services

SLX Visibility Services gives us multilayer classification capabilities including network parameter filters such as IP and MAC addresses, port numbers, VNIs, and workload matching. We can then take action on matching packets, such as count, drop or mirror.


We want to get traffic counters for each of our application servers, at every leaf switch that the application currently uses.


We need to:

  • Identify the IP addresses used by our application, which compute nodes they currently run on, and which switch ports they are connected to
  • Figure out which VNIs are used for that traffic
  • Create rules to match that traffic, and install on all relevant leaf switches
  • Monitor the results

The first three steps are tedious, repetitive work: a perfect case for automation. So we run a workflow to gather the IP addresses from our compute system, identify the VNIs used, and pass the details through to a workflow that sets up the matching rules, with a “count” action.


Watching the results, we can then see traffic on a per-IP basis, rather than the aggregated interface stats we had earlier. This reveals something unusual: one of the servers has lower traffic volumes than the other. It’s not zero, but it is lower than the others. What’s going on with that server?


SLX Insight Architecture

So now we want to dig deeper into that traffic. We run a new workflow that applies a “mirror” action to the interesting traffic, and sets up a packet capture on our Guest VM in the SLX Insight Architecture. No dedicated taps or hardware needed.


Now we have a pcap file that we can analyze in Wireshark. Looking at the packets in more detail, we see something a little unusual: one of the application components isn’t loading. Clients are timing out with that component, and failing over to another server.


Armed with this information, we can go back to the software team, who resolve the issue. Traffic is now balanced properly across all systems, all are working as expected, and users are happy.


Finally, we run a “cleanup” workflow that removes our packet capturing rules, and we’re done!


Related Links  

SLX Insight Architecture User Guide

Visibility in the Modern Data Center with SLX Switches and Routers

Brocade Workflow Composer Automation Platform

Adaptability in Fixed Form Switches

by asardell ‎01-03-2017 03:03 PM - edited ‎01-06-2017 07:47 AM (4,280 Views)

Adaptable, Agile Switches at the Leaf, Spine and Border Leaf


Jumpstarting Your Automation Journey

by asardell on ‎12-19-2016 12:28 PM (3,984 Views)

Accelerating Network Automation with These Turnkey Suites  


We are excited to announce that the vADC, vRouter, vEPC and SDN Controller Acquisitions from Brocade are complete!
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