The DCX man has retired.

In 2008 Brocade announced the 8G director class switches DCX and DCX-4S. A rather impactful release of a new piece of hardware where the next generation FC ASIC saw light. The Condor.The marketing department of Brocade back then had probably been smoking something as the introduction of the platform was accompanied with a rather cringy “Marvel-like” super-hero called DCX-man. (uhhhhh… shivers….)

Anyway, next to a new chip design the architecture of the system itself also parted from earlier versions like the 12K and 24K in the way that the back-end switching capability moved from the CP’s to dedicated core-blades. This improved stability as CP issues would now no longer impact the actual back-end bandwidth.

End of Support

November 15th marks the End of Support for the DCX and DCX-4S switches and this will be a very hard EoS as Broadcom no longer accepts support-calls unless some exception are in place. Spare-stock is, or will be, depleted relatively soon so any hardware issues can only be addressed on a “best-effort” and “if you’re lucky” basis.

FOS

The kicker is in the way the stop of support is enforced. The last version of FOS being supported will be 7.4.2e and that version has a hard-cut off date when it comes to troubleshooting efforts. That version will stop commands that would allow collection of logs like supportshow and supportsave. Opening cases with your vendors will therefore be of no use as they cannot embark on a diagnostics path without this information. Secondly NONE of the vendors will be able to escalate cases to Broadcom for support on the DCX(-4S) platform.

The “Oh-sh*t” erlebnis.

The support situation becomes even more problematic when you have the DCX or 4S still sitting in a production network after EoS as this will render the entire fabric un-supported. If you have issues in your fabric consisting of the latest and greatest kit but for some you decided to hang on to some old End-of-Support kit and have that still lingering in your production network, the vendors and broadcom will not look at your problem before you have physically disconnected that End-of-Support equipment from the fabric.

This is all in line with more stringent support requirements from Broadcom as many very high severity cases that were escalated to Brocade were deemed to be caused by outdated hardware running incompatible versions of FOS.

My take.

I think this is a good step as it forces people to plan well ahead of time for updates and replacement. Both technical and economical life expectancy of equipment is around 5 years. The End of Life notice for the DCX platform was announced in July 2015. That would have given you over 4 years to plan ahead and keep your infrastructure in a good condition. The 8510 and X6 platforms have been available for 6 and 3 years respectively so there really is no reason to have kept things running on the DCX unless you’re cash-strapped. In that case you should have a look at your budgeting processes which I cannot solve. 🙂

I sincerely hope that you have, or soon will be, retiring the DCX’s as problems that arise in your environment because of them still lingering will cause an issue in your operations.

One more thing. If ANYONE approaches you with promises to extend support they are definitely lying and trying to swindle there way into your wallet. DO NOT fall for this and save your money to spend on new equipment.

Regards,

Erwin

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About Erwin van Londen

Master Technical Analyst at Hitachi Data Systems
Brocade, Storage Networking , , , ,