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Brocade Recognized for NFV Innovation in Network Visibility for Virtual Workloads

by Daniel.Williams ‎05-04-2016 05:00 AM - edited ‎05-04-2016 05:14 AM (3,559 Views)

Virtual network functions (VNFs) hold promise to help increase network agility and scale, aligning it with underlying application and service needs while driving out Capex and Opex in the process.  The process of network functions virtualization (NFV) that once started with service providers is increasingly extending across networks of all types and into data centers of the largest organizations. Nowhere is this more apparent than in mobile operators as they seek to support increasing numbers of users and their bandwidth requirements and cost effectively scale out infrastructure to support new service models with IoT.  Virtualization of the EPC moving forward is top of mind, but virtualization is elsewhere such as in the IMS core as well.


A key need, however, has been that of network visibility.  Increasingly important to making IT infrastructure safer and more efficient — and more effective at its goal supporting application and service workloads — network visibility is no longer something that can be an afterthought for any organization. Understanding the traffic entering, crossing and exiting a network is a critical first step in the security, service levels and planning to support end user customer requirements. Traditional network visibility solutions have been designed for hardware-centric network infrastructure and require a new way of thinking as organizations move to virtualize that infrastructure through NFV.  


The first challenge is how to get the data off these new network architectures, otherwise known as “tapping.”  The second unmet challenge is how to cost effectively scale out the network visibility infrastructure in tandem with this new, highly virtualized, production network.  The first challenge has been the initial focus of many vendors, which simply put, provides a virtual tap — software that reside in the virtualized infrastructure “tapping” inter-VM traffic — feeding that data to legacy hardware-based packet brokers for subsequent processing and forwarding to analytics tools.  This is a valid first step and where most organizations want to go with their visibility infrastructure, initially.  But this approach does not go far enough. The packet broker itself needs to be virtualized to truly support agility, scale and cost requirements in line with the virtualized production networks. Brocade Virtual Packet Broker addresses both these challenges.


In October 2015 Brocade announced our vision and strategy for the evolution of network visibility infrastructures, disrupting traditional monolithic hardware-centric approaches.  Brocade Virtual Packet Broker is an important part of our approach and after successful demonstration at Mobile World Congress in February 2016 and subsequent release to our customers, we have most recently been recognized in the industry for our innovation by INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine through their INTERNET TELEPHONY NFV Pioneer Awards, which honors products that have demonstrated innovation, unique features, and noteworthy developments toward improving network function virtualization.  Brocade was selected not just for our leadership in visibility networks with Brocade Virtual Packet Broker, but also for our innovation at the mobile edge – the only 2-time winner by the publication. This recognition continues to confirm Brocade leadership and execution across network function virtualization, addressing the underlying needs of our customers.