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Campus Networks

8 Ways Brocade is Building the Network of Tomorrow, Today

by Rick Freedman ‎04-07-2015 05:01 AM - edited ‎04-07-2015 08:00 AM (8,570 Views)

This morning Brocade announced new product and technology enhancements for its HyperEdge Architecture Campus Networks. The really exciting parts of the announcement were the new software technologies – Switch Port Extender and OpenFlow 1.3 support, which will simplify network management and enable software defined network innovations.


The hardware addition is the Brocade ICX 7250 Switch – a new entry-level switch that allows organizations and businesses to easily scale 10G uplink capacity and port density for increasing campus video and wireless demands. Combine these new hardware and software additions foreshadow how customers will be able to adapt and scale their network of today into the future.


The announcement demonstrates examples of how Brocade is working to directly address the very same 8 challenges we discussed in my blog last week – network scale and future-proof readiness

  1. More users and more ports: How easy is it to add more ports and more switches to your network?
    • The ability to stack the new ICX 7250 Switch, just like the existing ICX 7750 and ICX 7450 Switches, up to 12 units in a single stack delivers up to 576 x 1GbE ports managed as a single IP address. That’s a 50% or more increase over its closest competitor.
    • The new Switch Port Extender technology will provide the capability to mix Brocade ICX 7750, ICX 7450 and ICX 7250 Switches into a single HyperEdge domain to further expand services between switches and simplify overall management of campus networks.
    • Brocade Network Subscription makes it easier than ever for customers to add, or remove, equipment to their network without capital expenditures. This subscription model is a pure pay-as-you-grow proposition designed for customers to scale up or scale down their networks with no commitments.
  2. Higher overall network capacity: Independent of growth in terms of network size, total capacity, or bandwidth, continues to grow. The advancements in wireless, such as 802.11AC (Wave 1 and Wave 2) and increasing use of video means more data over the network. Can existing network equipment support more traffic without oversubscription?
    • Brocade ICX Switches are designed to operate at line speed – no oversubscription. Further, they are designed to expand and scale as customer requirements grow. All of the Brocade ICX 7xxx family of switches can stack up to 12 switches in a single stack – as a single management touch-point.
    • The new ICX 7250 Switch has 8 x 10 GbE ports for uplink or stacking – two to four times the density of competitive switches in the same class. They’re ready to handle whatever users throw at it [or plug into it].
  3. Higher network speeds: Supporting growing requirements sometimes requires higher data speeds. Can your existing equipment be upgraded from 1 Gbps to 10 Gbps, or to 40 Gbps?
    • The uplink/stacking ports on the Brocade ICX 7250 Switch can all be upgraded from 1 Gbps to 10 Gbps on demand. Are two 10 Gbps ports enough? Or, upgrade all eight ports if needed. No hardware replacement or upgrade required.
    • The Brocade ICX 7450 Switch has three slots for optional modules, either 4 x 1 Gbps, 4 x 10 Gbps or 1 x 40 Gbps. Simple to upgrade or replace as needed.
  4. Advanced network services (e.g. advanced Layer 3 services such as VRF or BGP). New network functionality can require new network services and protocols. Do you need to purchase everything today you might possibly need in the future? Or, can your network equipment be upgraded, such as adding advanced Layer 3 services?
    • The Brocade HyperEdge Architecture provides that, with Mixed Stacks or the new Switch Port Extender technology. In either implementation, the advanced network services available in the master/controller switch are inherited by the access switches. No hardware or software upgrades required to the entry-level switches. Purchase only what you need today knowing that you’ll be able to upgrade the network services on entry-level switches at a later date.
  5. More power: PoE, PoE+ and PoH for devices such as VoIP phones, wireless access points (802.11 AC Wave 1 and Wave 2), surveillance cameras, video displays, etc. What if the need for power-over-Ethernet increases beyond what’s already planned? How difficult will be to add more PoE ports? Or upgrade to PoE+ or PoH?
    • The internal power supply in the ICX 7250 Switch supports PoE (15 watts) to all ports or PoE+ (30 watts) to approximately half the ports. Need more power? Add an external power supply that not only provides redundancy in the event of a failure, but also injects additional power to support PoE+ to all ports.
    • Need even more power? The ICX 7450 Switch supports the new Power-over-HDBaseT (PoH) standard for up to 95 watts of power. We’re ready for the next generation of Ethernet Internet-of-Things just beginning to roll out now.
  6. Advanced networking technologies: It’s difficult to predict advances in technologies. We don’t know what they are, but you can be assured that there will be new features, new standards and new advancements in the coming years. Will you be able to integrate those into your network? Will your network be compatible with hardware or software from other vendors?
    • Brocade is absolutely committed to supporting open standards and interoperability with other vendors’ hardware and software. From support for stacking switches with non-proprietary cables that saves customers money and allows them to stack over distances up to 80 km to active participation in IEEE and Software Defined Networks standards organizations Brocade strives to ensure the broadest industry compatibility.
  7. Take advantage of software networking innovations: Is your network ready for Software Defined Networking (SDN)? Or will you need to replace your network hardware, or at least re-configure your network before you can begin down that path?
    • Brocade has invested heavily in Software Defined Networks and is implementing OpenFlow 1.3 across it Campus Network switches, as well as Data Center and Router products. Brocade is delivering unique enhancements to its implementation of OpenFlow including support for OpenFlow with stacking, with high availability and Hybrid Port mode that supports both legacy network protocols and SDN flows on the same port. These capabilities make it easier for customers to transition to SDN gradually over time rather than make them to force-fit SDN into their networks.
  8. Increasing complexity of managing all of the above: How do all of these change, this growth, this scalability affect the complexity of your network management challenge? Can your IT team handle all this without having to scale your staff as well?
    • The Switch Port Extender technology takes the HyperEdge Architecture to the next level of scale with the industry’s most advanced solution for collapsing network layers and simplifying management.
    • Brocade Network Advisor software helps simplify network management for our customers who don’t want to rely on network engineers using CLI commands to configure and management their network.

The new technologies introduced by Brocade with this announcement further enhance the Brocade difference in delivering Campus Network solutions to customers that meet their needs of today, while providing a foundation to grow and scale with our customers – in many dimensions. Read more about Brocade Campus Network solutions. Or better yet, hear what our customers are saying here, here, here and here about how Brocade helps them future-proof their networks on the road to the New IP.

by mhong
on ‎04-08-2015 09:49 AM

Another great post Rick. Thanks for insight!