Brocade just got Bigger and Better

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A couple of months ago Brocade invited me to come to San Jose for their “next-gen/new/great/ what-have-ya” big box. Unfortunately I had something else on the agenda (yes, my family still comes first) and I had to decline. (they didn’t want to shift the launch of the product because I couldn’t make it. Duhhhh.)

So what is new? Well, it’s not really a surprise that at some point in time they had to come out with a director class piece of iron to extend the VDX portfolio towards the high-end systems.  I’m not going to bore you with feeds and speeds and other spec-sheet material since you can download that from their web-site yourself.

What is interesting is that the VDX 8770 looks, smells and feels like a Fibre-Channel DCX8510-8 box. I still can’t prove physically but it seems that many restriction on the L2 side have a fair chunk of resemblance with the fibre-channel specs. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, flat fabrics are not new to Brocade. They have been building this since the beginning of time in the Fibre-Channel era so they do have quite some experience in scalable flat networks and distribution models. One of the biggest benefits is that you can have multiple distributed locations and provide the same distributed network without having to worry about broadcast domains, Ethernet segments, spanning-tree configurations and other nasty legacy Ethernet problems.

Now I’m not tempted to go deep into the Ethernet and IP side of the fence. People like Ivan Pepelnjack and Greg Ferro are far better in this. (Check here and here )

With the launch of the VDX Brocade once again proves that when they set themselves to get stuff done they really come out with a bang. The specifications far outreach any competing product currently available in the market. Again they run on the bleeding edge of what the standards bodies like IEEE, IETF and INCITS have published lately. Not to mention that Brocade has contributed in that space makes them frontrunners once again.

So what are the draw-backs. As with all new products you can expect some issues. If I recall some high-end car manufacturer had to call-in an entire model world-wide to have something fixed in the brake-system so its not new or isolated to the IT space. Also with the introduction of the VDX an fair chuck of new functionality has gone into the software. It’s funny to see that something we’ve taken for granted in the FC space like layer 1 trunking is new in the networking space.

Nevertheless NOS 3.0 is likely to see some updates and patch releases in the near future. Although I don’t deny some significant Q&A has gone into this release its a fact that by having new equipment with new ASICS and functionality always brings some sort of headaches with them.

Interoperability is certified with the MLX series as well as the majority of the somewhat newer Fibre-Channel kit. Still bear in mind the require code levels since this is always a problem on supportcalls. 🙂

I can’t wait to get my hand on one of these systems and am eager to find out more. If I have I’let you know and do some more write-up here.

Till next time.

Cheers,
Erwin

DISCLAIMER : Brocade had no influence in my view depicted above.

About Erwin van Londen

Master Technical Analyst at Hitachi Data Systems
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