Campus Networks

HyperEdge Architecture Distributed Chassis Scale-Out Solutions

by ajolly ‎11-13-2014 01:30 PM - edited ‎11-13-2014 01:32 PM (3,123 Views)






September 2014








HyperEdge Architecture Distributed Chassis Scale-Out Solutions













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Today’s campus network is critical for business connectivity to customers, vendors, and partners. At the same time, to ensure business agility and competitiveness, the campus network must support new applications, cloud-based services, and mobile users. However, after decades of limited innovation, legacy campus networks remain rigid, complex, and costly to maintain. Organizations are learning the hard way that these networks were not built to meet today’s business challenges and user demands. The campus network for today and tomorrow should be flexible, easy to manage, and cost-effective


Since 2012, Brocade HyperEdge Architecture has been changing the status quo by offering unique capabilities such as shared services and consolidated management domains designed to simplify legacy three tier networks. Now with our 2014 delivery of our latest distributed chassis solution we expand HyperEdge Architecture’s capabilities to mitigate issues associated with legacy networks while providing increased scalability for Pay as you grow networks that are easy to manage. The distributed chassis solution with scale-out networking flexibility provides an additional benefit of in-service scalable deployment and a single point of management.



As organizations such as research, education and government agencies feel the impact of mobile and social trends on their IT infrastructure; many are in need of a refresh for their IT networks. The primary reason for a refresh is that traditional network architecture options and legacy network switches are not suited for the delivery of large quantities of data, the proliferation of mobile devices and the additional layers of security required today that can easily scale with ever changing network demands Many chassis based network switches solutions cause over provisioning of the network upon initial deployment and then are often rendered obsolete before the chassis is fully populated to fulfill its original projected port density. Until now fixed form factor stackable switches were incapable of offering the performance, reliability and scale of chassis solutions.

The solution to this historical dilemma is the new Brocade® ICX® 7750 Switch, which delivers the same simplification and automation which is a hallmark of  Brocade HyperEdge™ Architecture switches while also adding unprecedented scale. The Brocade ICX 7750 is the first high-density 10/40 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) fixed-port solution purposely designed to enable scale-out solutions for campus aggregation and core.

This powerful stackable switch enables simplified distributed chassis deployments for the scale-out campus aggregation and core networks, helping organizations seamlessly add network capacity in an agile, cost-efficient manner.

Purpose of This Document


The main purpose of the document is to define the various deployment solutions using the Brocade ICX 7750 for scale out enterprise campus networks. The document will discuss the stacking capabilities of the ICX 7750 across distance along with the various topologies supported. It would then cover complete Enterprise use cases using the entire ICX product portfolio to build out the overall campus network from core to access edge.


The document is intended for network designers, administrator, and support personnel and will provide a technical overview of the product offerings that make up Brocade HyperEdge Architecture solutions.

Document History






Reviewed By




Anubhav Jolly





Anubhav Jolly

Jose Martell, Prasida Menon




Anubhav Jolly

Mary Lenehan







About Brocade


Brocade® (NASDAQ: BRCD) networking solutions help the world’s leading organizations transition smoothly to a world where applications and information reside anywhere. This vision is designed to deliver key business benefits such as unmatched simplicity, non-stop networking, application optimization, and investment protection.


Innovative Ethernet and storage networking solutions for datacenter, campus, and service provider networks help reduce complexity and cost while enabling virtualization and cloud computing to increase business agility.


To help ensure a complete solution, Brocade partners with world-class IT companies and provides comprehensive education, support, and professional services offerings. (

Brocade ICX 7750- Overview


The Brocade ICX 7750 is a stackable 1RU high-performance, high-availability, and market-leading-10/40 GbE density switch solution that meets the needs of business-sensitive campus deployments and demanding data center Top-of-Rack (ToR) environments. With industry-leading price/performance and a low-latency, non-blocking architecture, the Brocade ICX 7750 as showed in Figure-1provides a cost-effective, robust solution for the most demanding deployments. It is part of the Brocade ICX family of Ethernet switches for campus LAN and classic Ethernet data center environments, and runs on Brocade FastIron software operating system.

7750.pngFigure-1: Brocade ICX 7750-1RU solution in 3 different SKU’s

The Brocade ICX 7750 offers the following benefits to customers:

  • Offers industry-leading 10/40 GbE port density and flexibility in a 1U form factor with up to 32×40 GbE or 96×10 GbE ports per unit, saving valuable rack space and power in wiring closets
  • Provides chassis-like high availability with up to 6×40 Gbps stacking ports per switch, Hitless Stacking Failover, Hitless Switch-Over, In-Service Software Update (ISSU)**, and hot-swappable power supplies and fan assemblies.
  • Delivers superior value by incorporating enterprise-grade advanced features such as VRRPe, BGP, robust IPv4/IPv6 support, Multi-Chassis Trunking (MCT)with L2 and VRRP support and Virtual Routing and Forwarding (VRF)
  • Provides unprecedented stacking performance with up to 480 Gbps full duplex (6X 40G X 2) of stacking bandwidth.
  • Provides OpenFlow support in true hybrid-port mode, enabling Software-Defined Networking (SDN) for programmatic control of the network data flows (available in a future software release)

Brocade ICX 7750 Switches can be stacked using 6 X 40 Gbps QSFP+ ports per switch, providing up to 480 Gbps of full duplex stacking bandwidth. Two 1 Gbps HA IPC (Inter-Processor Control) ports on each switch can be used to create a dedicated path for forwarding system health and control information across the stack for maximum reliability.

The Brocade ICX 7750 Switch is available for ordering with below system options. For ease of ordering and delivery, all SKUs ship with an Advanced L3 Software feature set, though customers planning to use routing and advanced functionality should purchase the Certificate of Entitlement (ICX775-L3-COE). The Certificate of Entitlement is serialized certificate for audit compliance tracking yet is not tied to any particular switch so no switch configuration or activation is required. The optional 6 X 40 GbE QSFP pluggable module offers additional port density. The Brocade ICX 7750 can take either AC or DC power supplies but. It supports both forward and reverse airflow schemes.





ICX 7750 Stacking Overview


7750 stacking.pngFIGURE-2: ICX 7750 Stacking architecture


** Will be supported in a future release

The Brocade ICX 7750 can be stacked with up to 12 units with a stacking bandwidth of 480 GBPS, refer to Figure 2. The units can be stacked using the 40 G ports on the front or the back (flexible) module. There are two stacking links per switch, (one for uplink and one for downlink). The ports can be trunked together for higher stacking bandwidth. The trunks can be in the sets of two or three ports. The maximum trunk links supported each direction is 3. The user can configure stacking links using the front 40G ports or back 40 Gig ports only but not with a mixture of the front and back in the same switch. Each switch can support up to 480 G of stacking bandwidth (40 X 3(trunk) X 2(uplink and downlink) X 2(Bi directional)).


 ICX 7750 Stacking Topologies


ICX 7750 can be stacked together in a linear or ring topology. By default the stacking ports are 1/2/1 and 1/2/4. The user can change the default ports to 1/3/1 and 1/3/4 respectively. The stack ports for the uplink and downlink connections must be on the same module (front or rear) for the same switch and the same stack; we cannot mix the front and rear ports for the connection on the same switch or the same stack. Please refer to Figure 3 Below.



New Microsoft Visio Drawing.jpgFigure 3: Supported and Non supported cases with 7750 Stacking


Note: Port 1 of each module can connect to either 1 or 4 of the same module on the other switch, similarly 2 can connect to 2 or 5 and 3 can connect to 3 or 6.

The stack ports can be trunked together with the maximum of 3 ports in each direction. The only possible trunks configurations on the same switch are as following.


Three port Trunks.

  1. 1/2/1 to 1/2/3
  2. 1/2/4 to 1/2/6
  3. 1/3/1 to 1/3/3
  4. 1/3/4 to 1/3/6


Two port Trunks

  1. 1/2/1 & 1/2/2
  2. 1/2/4 & 1/2/5
  3. 1/3/1 & 1/3/2
  4. 1/3/4 & 1/3/5


NOTE: While trunking the stacking ports, the default stacking ports need to be the primary port of the trunk and the each trunk links needs to be in consecutive order.


ICX 7750 Stacking ports on the front Panel

front stacking ports.jpg 

ICX 7750 Stacking ports on the Rear Panel

rear stacking ports.png 

Figure 4-: 40 GIG ports on the front or back can be used for stacking







ICX 7750 Ring stack from the front panel ( No Stack Trunks )

Front stack connect.png

ICX 7750 Linear stack from the Rear panel ( No Stack Trunks )

rear stacking linear.png

ICX 7750 Ring stack from the Rear panel ( No Stack Trunks )

linear ring.png

Figure 4:- Examples of supported stacking topologies.




To summarize, the ICX 7750 Stacking supports Linear and Ring Topology up to a maximum of 12 units in a stack. The maximum stacking distance supported will be 100M in the initial software release (8.0.20). The 40 GbE ports on the Front (module 2) or Rear (Module3) can be used for stacking with a maximum of 3 X 40 GbE ports in each direction. The maximum supporting stacking bandwidth is 480 Gbps. The default stacking ports are 1/2/1 and 1/2/4. The default stacking ports can be changed with performing default-ports and Stack-ports command. Both Hitless Failover and Hitless Switchover are supported on stacking. There is no licensing required for the stack-port configuration. Users can choose to configure the stack manually or automatically using the secure setup. For more information, please refer to the Fast iron Ethernet switch Stacking configuration Guide <provide hot link for html and pdf versions>.

Brocade Hyper-Edge Architecture


The Brocade HyperEdge Architecture increases organizational agility by bringing the campus network into the modern era. This evolutionary architecture collapses network layers of legacy campus architectures to radically simplify networks by eliminating legacy protocols such as Spanning Tree. HyperEdge Architecture integrates innovative new wired and wireless features with existing network technologies to streamline application deployment, simplify management, and reduce operational costs.

HyperEdge Key Design Principles: Brocade HyperEdge Architecture is driven by three key design principles to modernize and simplify the network and achieve better business agility and productivity:

  1. Consolidated management: Reduces unnecessary network layers and create large HyperEdge management domains that eliminate individual switch touchpoints to ease maintenance time and costs.
  2. Shared network services: Allows all switches, premium or entry-level, sharing a common HyperEdge management domain to share advanced L2/L3 services and achieve lower price-per-port without compromising functionality.
  3. Scale-out networking: Aggregate high-performance fixed form factor switches into a single logical device, regardless of their physical location, to scale ports when and where needed across the campus.
  4. HyperEdge Implementation Options: Brocade offers multiple implementation options to realize the benefits of the HyperEdge Architecture.
  • The mixed stack design integrates premium and entry-level Brocade ICX switches to collapse the network access and aggregation layers into a single HyperEdge logical device and share services while reducing management touch points and network hops.
  • The distributed chassis design integrates high-performance 10 GbE/40 GbE Brocade ICX stackable switches to collapse the network aggregation and core layers into a single HyperEdge logical device with the density and reliability of large chassis switches at a fraction of the cost, while putting ports where needed on the campus. These implementation options are not mutually exclusive and can be combined to provide a complete end-to-end network solution. They can also be integrated into an existing legacy network for incremental adoption. As Brocade continues to further develop and expand the HyperEdge Architecture, new implementation options will be available that deliver the benefits of the key HyperEdge design principles of consolidated management, shared services, and scale-out networking across an ever increasing number of network ports.
  • For both of these deployment options, Brocade offers a truly distributed architecture, where all the components can be spread across the entire campus—due to the use of long-distance optical links—yet, the whole system can be managed as a single entity.

HYperedge.pngFigure 5-: Simplifying Legacy three-tier architecture with Brocade HyperEdge Architecure


Hyper-Edge Architecture Implementation Options

HyperEdge Mixed Stack with Shared services

Mixed stacking is the ability to combine premium and entry-level switches in the same stack. Mixed stacking provides all the benefits of traditional stacking, in which all switch members are alike, all links within the stack are active (no Spanning- Tree Protocol [STP]), and management is accomplished from a single IP address. However, when HyperEdge Shared Services is used, a mixed stack becomes unique and powerful. HyperEdge Shared Services enables the extension of premium switch services to all ports of all members of the stack, including entry-level switches. This capability provides two distinct advantages: significant per-port cost reduction and long-term investment protection.


Mixed stack.pngFigure 6:- Brocade Mixed stacking-enabling advanced layer 3 capabilities on access devices.


An additional benefit of combining Layer 2/3 switch functionality with Distributed Services in a single stack is the reduced management time enabled by combining the Access and Aggregation layers of traditional three tier networks while providing higher efficiency providing transparency to the applications. The solution becomes extremely cost effective with the lower acquisition and operation cost.


HyperEdge Distributed Chassis for Scale-Out networking

The Distributed Chassis feature leverages the capability to combine up to 12 Brocade ICX 7750 Switch units in a single logical switch spread across the campus. This distributed chassis offers a level of flexibility, ease of deployment, and total cost of ownership unmatched by traditional aggregation and small-core chassis solutions. Due to rapid technology evolution and innovative development,

Brocade is able to offer the first 10 GbE/40 GbE stackable solution for the campus aggregation and core layers that delivers higher performance and port density than a traditional midsize chassis, while offering the same level of reliability and availability.


Brocade HyperEdge Architecture Distributed Chassis solutions further simplifies network deployment and maintenance and makes higher port density scale-out networks much easier to deploy and more cost effective than traditional networks based on a legacy three tier architecture. Within the legacy enterprise three- tier architecture the Aggregation and Core traffic is handled by bulky chassis systems which are rigid and cannot scale out easily. The port density is limited with high initial cost. The cost of maintenance is extremely high and it takes up a lot of space in the wiring closet.

To improve on the limitations, Brocade ICX 7750 is introduced in the Aggregation and core layers with a distributed chassis architecture design to enable SCALE-OUT Networking. The ICX 7750 units can be stacked together horizontally where needed across the campus with the required port densities and it provides the users to expand their future network with “pay as they grow”. And with long distance stacking network operators can disperse the Distributed Chassis over various locations within the campus and still be managed as one entity. The ICX 7750 comes with chassis like capabilities on the hardware and software side and the Non-Blocking 10/40GbE port density offered is much higher and efficient compared to a fixed chassis.



Distributed chassis.png 



















Figure 7-: HyperEdge Architecture withICX 7750 deployed at the aggregarion/Core with distributed chassis to enable SCALE-OUT Networking


Brocade HyperEdge Architecture enables the enterprise with cost effective and Scalable solutions providing true Scale-Out Networking. Organizations can future proof their network to meet their growing needs and be flexible to expand and Pay as they grow. The highly scalable ICX 7750 provides industry leading hardware and software features including advanced layer 3 with a Trust-based License. With the approach of HyperEdge Architecture involving Mixed stacking and Distributed chassis, organizations can evolve their architectures slowly as business needs and budget permit, while also gaining increased confidence in the capabilities and savings promised.

Hyper-Edge Architecture Delivers the Effortless Network


Campus networks built with HyperEdge Architecture technologies are ready to take on the challenges of streaming video, Unified Communications, VDI, and cloud-based applications, as well as demanding mobile users, with flexible, application-centric, automated, and cost-effective network solutions. With innovations such as Shared services, Consolidated Management, and Distributed Chassis HyperEdge Architecture improves organizational agility by reducing network complexity, application deployment time, and operational costs. With Brocade, owning and maintaining your entire campus network is one step closer to being effortless.


                          Campus.png Figure 7-: Brocade HyperEdge Architecture with SCALE-OUT Networking-Enabling the Effortless Network.




For product and solution description please refer to

Brocade ICX Stacking Refernce guide-




Stacking Configuration


User needs to enable stacking on the units



ICX7750-48F Router#

ICX7750-48F Router# configure terminal

ICX7750-48F Router(config)# stac

stack Configure stack local parameters

ICX7750-48F Router(config)# stack en

enable Enable stacking

ICX7750-48F Router(config)# stack enable




ICX7750-48F Router# stack se

secure-setup perform secure setup for stack units

ICX7750-48F Router# stack secure-setup

ICX7750-48F Router# Discovering the stack topology...

Current Discovered Topology – RINGè TOPOLOGY IS DETECTED                                    

Available UPSTREAM units

Hop(s) Id Type Mac Address

1 new ICX7750-48XGF cc4e.246d.8d80

2 new ICX7750-48XGF cc4e.246d.9b00

3 new ICX7750-48XGF cc4e.246d.9c80                            

4 new ICX7750-20QXG cc4e.2439.2a80

5 new ICX7750-20QXG cc4e.2439.3700

6 new ICX7750-20QXG cc4e.2439.3880

7 new ICX7750-20QXG cc4e.2439.2d00

8 new ICX7750-48XGC cc4e.2439.1a00

9 new ICX7750-48XGC cc4e.2439.1680

10 new ICX7750-48XGC cc4e.2439.1d80

11 new ICX7750-48XGC cc4e.2439.1280=è ALL UNITS ARE DISCOVERED

Available DOWNSTREAM units



Hop(s) Id Type Mac Address

1 new ICX7750-48XGC cc4e.2439.1280

2 new ICX7750-48XGC cc4e.2439.1d80

3 new ICX7750-48XGC cc4e.2439.1680

4 new ICX7750-48XGC cc4e.2439.1a00

5 new ICX7750-20QXG cc4e.2439.2d00

6 new ICX7750-20QXG cc4e.2439.3880

7 new ICX7750-20QXG cc4e.2439.3700

8 new ICX7750-20QXG cc4e.2439.2a80

9 new ICX7750-48XGF cc4e.246d.9c80

10 new ICX7750-48XGF cc4e.246d.9b00

11 new ICX7750-48XGF cc4e.246d.8d80

Do you accept the topology (RING) (y/n)?: y

Confirm Stacking Links...

UPSTREAM Unit: Id new at 2 hop(s) ICX7750-48XGF cc4e.246d.9b00

Enter the desired links(1-2)[1]: 2

UPSTREAM Unit: Id new at 4 hop(s) ICX7750-20QXG cc4e.2439.2a80

Enter the desired links(1-2)[1]: 2

UPSTREAM Unit: Id new at 6 hop(s) ICX7750-20QXG cc4e.2439.3880

Enter the desired links(1-3)[1]: 3

UPSTREAM Unit: Id new at 9 hop(s) ICX7750-48XGC cc4e.2439.1680

Enter the desired links(1-2)[1]: 2

UPSTREAM Unit: Id new at 10 hop(s) ICX7750-48XGC cc4e.2439.1d80

Enter the desired links(1-2)[1]: 2

UPSTREAM Unit: Id new at 11 hop(s) ICX7750-48XGC cc4e.2439.1280

Enter the desired links(1-2)[1]: 2

Selected Topology:

Active Id Type Mac Address

1 ICX7750-48XGF cc4e.246d.9e00

Selected UPSTREAM units

Hop(s) Id Type Mac Address

1 2 ICX7750-48XGF cc4e.246d.8d80

2 3 ICX7750-48XGF cc4e.246d.9b00

3 4 ICX7750-48XGF cc4e.246d.9c80

4 5 ICX7750-20QXG cc4e.2439.2a80

5 6 ICX7750-20QXG cc4e.2439.3700

6 7 ICX7750-20QXG cc4e.2439.3880

7 8 ICX7750-20QXG cc4e.2439.2d00

8 9 ICX7750-48XGC cc4e.2439.1a00

9 10 ICX7750-48XGC cc4e.2439.1680

10 11 ICX7750-48XGC cc4e.2439.1d80

11 12 ICX7750-48XGC cc4e.2439.1280

Selected DOWNSTREAM units

Hop(s) Id Type Mac Address

1 12 ICX7750-48XGC cc4e.2439.1280

2 11 ICX7750-48XGC cc4e.2439.1d80

3 10 ICX7750-48XGC cc4e.2439.1680

4 9 ICX7750-48XGC cc4e.2439.1a00

5 8 ICX7750-20QXG cc4e.2439.2d00

6 7 ICX7750-20QXG cc4e.2439.3880

7 6 ICX7750-20QXG cc4e.2439.3700

8 5 ICX7750-20QXG cc4e.2439.2a80

9 4 ICX7750-48XGF cc4e.246d.9c80

10 3 ICX7750-48XGF cc4e.246d.9b00

11 2 ICX7750-48XGF cc4e.246d.8d80

Do you accept the unit id's (y/n)?: y

ICX7750-48F Router# T=4m43.4: Election, was alone --> active, ID=1, pri=128,

2U(1,12), A=u1, nbr#=0 1, reason: u12: port-up, ,

T=4m47.0: Election, was active, no change, ID=1, pri=128, 12U(1-12), A=u1, nbr#=11



ICX7750-48F Router#

ICX7750-48F Router#sh stack

T=7m32.7: alone: standalone, D: dynamic cfg, S: static, A=10, B=11, C=12

ID Type Role Mac Address Pri State Comment

1 S ICX7750-48XGF active cc4e.246d.9e00 128 local Ready

2 D ICX7750-48XGF standby cc4e.246d.8d80 0 remote Ready

3 D ICX7750-48XGF member cc4e.246d.9b00 0 remote Ready

4 D ICX7750-48XGF member cc4e.246d.9c80 0 remote Ready

5 D ICX7750-20QXG member cc4e.2439.2a80 0 remote Ready

6 D ICX7750-20QXG member cc4e.2439.3700 0 remote Ready

7 D ICX7750-20QXG member cc4e.2439.3880 0 remote Ready

8 D ICX7750-20QXG member cc4e.2439.2d00 0 remote Ready

9 D ICX7750-48XGC member cc4e.2439.1a00 0 remote Ready

10 D ICX7750-48XGC member cc4e.2439.1680 0 remote Ready

11 D ICX7750-48XGC member cc4e.2439.1d80 0 remote Ready

12 D ICX7750-48XGC member cc4e.2439.1280 0 remote Ready


+---+ +---+ +---+ +---+ +---+ +---+

-2/1| 1 |2/4--3/1| C |3/4==2/1| B |2/4==2/1| A |2/4==2/1| 9 |2/4--2/1| 8 |2/4-

| +---+ +---+ +---+ +---+ +---+ +---+ |

| |

| standby |

| +---+ +---+ +---+ +---+ +---+ +---+ |

-2/4| 2 |2/1==2/4| 3 |2/1--2/4| 4 |2/1==2/4| 5 |2/1--2/4| 6 |2/1==2/4| 7 |2/1-

+---+ +---+ +---+ +---+ +---+ +---+

Standby u2 - Learn other units for 2 sec, protocols may not be ready in 68 s.

Current stack management MAC is cc4e.246d.9e00

ICX7750-48F Router#