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.
The VDX 6710 Data Center Switch is available in a 1U model, the VDX 6710-54. Here is a picture of the new switch.
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:
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.
VDX 6710 in Two Switch VCS Fabric
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.
VCS Ethernet fabric with VDX 6710, VDX 6720 and 6730 Switches
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.
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.