Ethernet Fabric (VDX, CNA)

VDX 6710 - VCS Fabric Technology For 1 GE Servers and Storage

by brook.reams on ‎08-30-2011 05:50 AM - edited on ‎04-18-2014 09:08 AM by pmadduru (1,495 Views)

Brocade has announced availability of the VDX 6710 Data Center Switch and Brocade Network Operating System (NOS) 2.1.  The VDX 6710 can connect to the VDX 6720 and newly announced VDX 6730 switches. The VDX 6710 economically extends the value of a VCS Ethernet fabric to 1 GE servers, and to GE iSCSI and NAS storage.

 

VDX 6710-54 Data Center Switch

The VDX 6710 Data Center Switch is available in a 1U model, the VDX 6710-54.  Here is a picture of the new switch.

 

9752_VDX 6710-54 Switch.bmp

VDX 6710-54 Data Center Switch

 

The switch contains 48 1-GE ports and six 10 GE ports.  The 10 GE ports are for uplinks to the aggregation/core and for creating a VDX fabric with any of the VDX switches running in VCS mode, whether another VDX 6710 or the VDX 6720 and VDX 6730.

When adding the VDX 6710 to a VCS Ethernet fabric, 10 GE ports in the VDX 6710 are connected to 10 GE ports in other VDX switches in the VCS fabric.  ISL connections and Brocade ISL Trunks form automatically.  For uplinks, Brocade vLAG allows 10 GE ports in multiple VDX 6710 switches to form a LAG for better resiliency and fault tolerance.

 

The Brocade VDX 6710 supports all the features of a VCS fabric including:

  • Automated Migration of Port Profiles (AMPP)
  • VMware Network Automation
  • Lossless fabric links with DCB
  • Automatic formation of 10 GE ISL links
  • Automatic formation of Brocade ISL Trunks
  • Brocade virtual LAG (vLAG) to other devices (servers, switches, routers) for resiliency and high availability.

VDX 6710 Use Cases

Separate VCS 1 GE and 10 GE Dual Switch Fabrics

Shown below are multiple VCS fabrics of dual top of rack switches.  Each fabric is managed as a separate entity.  This is a simple example for deploying VDX switches including the VDX 6710.

 

9757_6710 Use Case-Two Switch  Fabric.jpg

VDX 6710 in Two Switch VCS Fabric

 

Multi-switch VCS Fabric with 1GE and 10 GE Switches

As shown below, larger configurations can be easily created by connecting VDX 6710 with VDX 6720 switches.  In fact, you can build a VCS fabric using only VDX 6710 switches. The NOS 2.1 release provides support for up to 24 VDX switches of any variety per fabric.

 

9754_6710 Use Case-Mixed Switch Fabric.bmp

VCS Ethernet fabric with VDX 6710, VDX 6720 and 6730 Switches

 

VCS Fabric Compared to Stacking

Stacking is often used to simplify management of multiple GE switches.  However, these implementations require dedicated stacking ports, only support a ring-like topology and often are unable to maintain oversubscription ratios as switches are added to the stack.  Resiliency and high-availability features usually rely on a single “master” switch for all control plane processing. VCS fabrics remove these constraints providing more flexibility, simpler configuration and management and improved resiliency and availability.

VCS Fabrics Simplify Virtualization on 1 GE Servers

Data centers still contain a lot of servers with 1 GE NICs, which may not be scheduled for near-term refresh for reasons ranging from budget to depreciation cycles to workload stability/certification.  Nonetheless many 1G servers are deployed with virtualization to improve resource utilization and lower operating costs.  However, virtual machine (VM) migration impacts network policies and requires network administrators to monitor and update these policies when VM migration occurs.  With VCS fabrics, AMPP ensures policies can be set once and will be automatically applied to traffic arriving on any port, whether 10 GE or 1 GE, in the VCS fabric.

 

FCoE storage traffic requires 10GE links with DCB extensions and is therefore not supported on the 1 GE ports in the VDX 6710.  Many 1 GE server farms host virtualization connecting to storage networks using either Fibre Channel HBAs to access Fibre Channel storage or GE NICs to access iSCSI and NAS storage.  Adding a VCS fabric to 1 GE servers offers improved storage performance and scalability without bottlenecks while providing efficient east-west traffic support.  Inside the VCS fabric, Brocade ISL Trunks ensure storage traffic can use all least cost paths and delivers near perfect load-balancing across links in the Trunk.

 

With the introduction of the VDX 6710 and VDX 6730, VCS technology is better than ever. A VCS Ethernet fabric provides a scalable way to connect to GE servers and storage with all the advantages of VCS technology.

 

This document / wiki was generated from the following discussion: Bringing VCS Fabric Technology to 1 GE Servers and Storage

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