It is common knowledge that IT budgets continue to shrink, especially in the context of current economic times. Data centers are traditionally viewed as cost centers. Because the majority of IT budgets today are spent on running day to day operations, strategic IT investments often take a back seat.
At the same time, technical requirements for cloud data centers dictate unprecedented scale and simplicity, elasticity for rapid resource scaling and cost effectiveness when deploying services and applications. Resource pooling and consolidation of many applications via virtual machines on high performance physical server infrastructure to improve asset utilization are the foundation of cloud computing in data centers. True application location independence and service transferability are key characteristics of such cloud environments. Even a small, local outage can potentially bring down not one but many applications at the same time. Therefore, high availability, reliability and resiliency are of paramount importance.
Although the cost reduction of server virtualization is compelling, the networks do not scale easily and efficiently since they use Ethernet with STP and its variants. These protocols are the bane of data center network administrators due to their complexity and temperamental nature. Scaled-out networks are possible, but at extremely high costs and complexity but, MPLS and its variants and complex L3 tunneling/encapsulation protocols were never designed to build data center networks. The same redundancy models that are so critical in these environments are complex and prohibitively expensive. Management of a multitude of data center network elements with disparate, inconsistent protocols and operational requirements is cumbersome, time consuming, and expensive. Network technologies perpetuated over decades with numerous incremental updates are complex and less flexible and do not allow for rapid service delivery.
It was against this backdrop that we began our journey to find a solution to these data center network challenges. The goals were clear - how to scale out data center networking environments efficiently and reliably while vastly simplifying the engineering, operations and management of these networks. That seminal goal led to the birth of Brocade Virtual Cluster Switching (VCS™) technology. Brocade VCS delivers simpler, flatter network architectures, based on a revolutionary technology, the Ethernet fabric. We realized early on that it wasn’t about capacity in itself - it was about flexible capacity that’s simple to deploy and manage with plug-in scalability. The Ethernet fabric delivers all these benefits.
Today marks delivery of the industry’s first Ethernet fabric capable switches, the Brocade VDX data center switch family build with Brocade VCS technology.