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Data Center

Reduce your Network TCO by 50% with Brocade VCS and IBM Flex

by royg on ‎10-07-2013 09:43 AM (11,405 Views)

Several important industry trends such as virtualization, cloud computing, hyper growth of unstructured data and business analytics are affecting existing data center enviornments.


As a result of this phenomenal growth in data, corporations are experiencing new requirements for their underlying Data Center infrastructure, primarily enhancements to their network and storage architectures. They need to...

  • Enable an elastic, scale-out model
  • Optimize East West network traffic
  • Provide simple, predictable, efficient and available compute and storage access.

So how do IT organizations keep up with the constant demand of the business and improve quality of service, while battling tighter operating budgets?


IBM and Brocade have partnered to deliver an open architecture based on the industry leading IBM’s Flex System combined with Brocade’s VCS Ethernet Fabric technology (the EN4023 10Gb Scalable Switch Module) and IBM NAS storage products…SONAS, Storewise v7000 Unified, and the N series (N3000, 6000, 7000).


The IBM Flex with its high density packaging, allows more servers and switching components into less space, sharing many common components, greatly reducing cabling and optic cost and provides integrated solutions that:

  • Consumes less power and cooling, especially important for data centers with strict power budgets.
  • Conserves data center space and resources, providing flexibility when and how to expand your data center.
  • Simplifies operational processes via VCS Fabric technology for connecting multiple Flex systems both intra and inter rack for low-touch scale out architecture.
  • Improves IT responsiveness to business needs by simplifying data center management that includes compute, network and storage required for fast application delivery.


Now let us look at how the IBM EN4023 with Brocade VCS Fabric technology embedded in the IBM Flex Chassis can help you build a more efficient Data Center.


Compared to the traditional 3 tier networking architecture, VCS Fabrics increase network efficiency, simplify the network architecture, and reduce the time for adding  network capacity.


The three-tier legacy architecture induces significant inefficiency in the network and hinders application performance due to increased latency between the multiple tiers. Another issue is that adding additional compute and network capacity on demand is not possible.  You may have to re-architect your network for maintaining the same performance bandwidth (e.g. oversubscription ratio) between the network tiers. These changes require significant manual intervention to simply add additional switching capacity and trunk bandwidth.


IBM Flex with the Brocade VCS Fabric alleviates these issues.


Brocade VCS Fabric greatly simplifies the network architecture by collapsing multiple tiers into a flat architecture. All the switches are connected via active-active links and using intelligent multi-pathing capabilities. The end result is a network that is ideal for heavy East West server traffic and providing lower latency, predictable performance and very fast application response time.  Net-Net VCS Fabrics increase the efficiency of your network by 2x compared to traditional networks.


VCS Fabrics also offer unprecedented automation in setting up and managing a highly virtualized scale out network. The VCS Fabric provides a single point of management for all the switches in the Fabric so that you can provision, monitor and troubleshoot your entire Ethernet fabric from a single point within the Fabric.


With VCS Fabrics, supporting VM’s on the network is seamless and automated using Automatic Migration of Port Profiles (AMPP) and integration with VM Ware vCenter offering zero-touch VM discovery, configuration, and mobility.


Another unique feature of VCS Fabrics is the self forming trunks which significantly reduces manual labor, planned downtime and human error by eliminating any CLI commands for configuring the trunks and adding switches in the network. This helps you to deploy additional network capacity 5x faster than the competition.




Figure 1 – VCS Fabric Optimized for Scale out deployments


VCS Fabrics offers the industry’s most advanced capability for adding capacity non-disruptively to the network.  Innovations like Auto-QoS for NAS traffic, VM Aware network automation, auto configuration of ISL trunks and fabric formation truly offer unprecedented automation and flexibility for supporting scale out storage designs. Combined with the inherent scalability capabilities of IBM Flex System and NAS storage, the EN4023 10/40Gb Scalable Switch module and its VCS Fabric capabilities provide IT departments an elastic server, network, storage infrastructure that addresses the business challenges for on-demand capacity growth and fast application delivery.Existing VCS customers have realized over 50% TCO savings for network alone.  Check out the TCO tool.