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Data Center

Everything You Wanted to Know About Brocade VCS Fabrics—But Were Afraid To Ask

by lcaywood on ‎05-08-2012 04:40 AM (2,243 Views)

As an adjunct event to Gestalt IT's Networking Field Day a few weeks ago, our Solutioneer Chip Copper sat down with a group of leading independent bloggers, including Greg FerroIvan PepelnjakStephen Foskett and others, to talk fabrics: what they are, how Brocade’s in particular works, and what problems fabrics solve. The whole discussion was captured on video and is now available here, divided into four easy-to-digest segments centered on some key networking topics:


Segment 1: What is an Ethernet fabric?

This is a relatively brief overview of the fabric concept and Brocade’s approach to it. If you’re interested in a more detailed introduction to fabric technologies as a group, you may also want to check out the Fabrics 101 seminars. These are half-day, in-person classes led by Brocade solutions architects (including Chip!), designed to be vendor- and protocol- agnostic, with plenty of opportunities to ask questions. Upcoming dates are in Japan and Korea, with more seminars coming in other regions soon. A virtual seminar is also available.


For even deeper dives into one of the cornerstone fabric technologies, you may also want to listen to Packet Pushers’ podcasts on The Future of TRILL and Spanning Tree (part 1 AND part 2).


Segment 2: Converged Networking and Storage

This segment covers storage networking trends, from FCoE to Ethernet-based storage, and where fabrics can be valuable in supporting converged traffic.


Segment 3: Multi-Path vs Multi-Chassis

Why use a fabric instead of traditional approaches to link aggregation? Chip goes to the whiteboard to explain Brocade’s approach.


Segment 4: Hard Cores and Soft Edges

Discussion of different approaches to VM networking, including security considerations, how to achieve VM mobility over distance, and more.


The Brocade VCS Fabric Technical Architecture paper delves into the VCS implementation of many of the topics covered in these videos. If all that sounds interesting in theory, but you need to SEE how it really works, watch this VDX demo, which covers fabric set-up, Brocade VCS’ autotrunking and load-balancing, and VM networking features. And then you may want toread about use cases and best practices for deploying VDX switches in an enterprise data center


Still have questions about VCS? Don’t be shy…We’ll be delving more deeply into various aspects of VCS fabrics in the coming weeks. Let us know what you’d like to learn more about.