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Service Providers

The Physical: 40 GbE at the Core of the On-Demand Data Center

by mschiff on ‎04-30-2013 09:30 AM - last edited on ‎10-28-2013 10:52 PM by bcm1 (2,438 Views)

Today, Brocade announced it strategy to bridge the physical and virtual worlds of networking to enable customers to build an “On-Demand Data Center”.  For service providers, an On-Demand Data Center means getting closer to becoming the greatly sought after cloud provider by increasing business agility, reducing complexity and scaling virtualization. In this blog I will focus on the announcement of the new 40 GbE interface module we have added to the Brocade MLX Series to enhance the physical aspects of the data center core that are required as the foundation for the On-Demand Data Center.


In the core of the service provider data center, network operators need to be able to respond in real time to dynamic business needs by delivering applications and services on demand. At the same time, they must contain costs through more efficient resource utilization and simpler infrastructure design. Traditional network topologies and solutions are not designed to support increasingly virtualized environments. With the Brocade MLX 4-port 40 GbE module, in conjunction with Brocade VCS Fabric technology, you can scale the data center fabric and extend across the Layer 3 boundary between data centers. High 40 GbE density with advanced Layer 3 capabilities helps consolidate devices and links needed in the data center core. Large Link Aggregation Group (LAG) capabilities provide capacity on-demand and reduce management overhead. By consolidating devices and simplifying the network, customers can reduce capital expenditures and operational expenditures in terms of power, space, and management savings, minimizing TCO. In addition to massive scalability from the 40 GbE density, the rich feature set of the Brocade MLX 4-port 40 GbE module eliminates the need for additional edge routers by enabling Layer 3 data center interconnect with full featured support for Access Control Lists (ACLs), routing, and forwarding in the data center core


Prior to 2012, optical equipment dominated the 40 GbE market. 40 GbE is now taking off on Ethernet routers and switches, principally in data centers because it helps to bridge the bandwidth and economics gap between 10 GbE and 100 GbE for customers. The market for 40 GbE in high-end routing applications is expected to ramp up quickly, with CAGR from 2013 to 2016 expected to be 125% with a total market size in 2016 of $239M (Source: Dell’Oro, 2012). Similar to 10 GbE, business drivers will be the growth of bandwidth-intensive applications:

  • Virtualization
  • High-performance computing
  • Business continuity
  • Video on demand and video surveillance
  • iSCSI, FCoE, and NAS storage
  • Social networking
  • VoIP




The image shows a primary deployment model for the 40 GbE module in the Core of the data center. The high density, wire-speed performance enables 40 GbE connection with the aggregation layer – in this case the Brocade VDX 8770 supporting the VCS Fabric.  Also supporting advanced MCT, this new module enables data center cores to scale in in highly resilient and efficient manner.


The MLXe also serves as an ideal border router to interconnect the data center to the WAN – or other data centers.  Here 40 GbE or 100 GbE is typically used.  The new 40 GbE module is often used, especially where underlying WAN optical infrastructure does not yet support 100G.