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Brocade bulks up DCX switch

Continues remorseless push to Ethernet convergence

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Brocade has extended its DCX fabric backbone switch technology to inter-connect data centres and enable a bunch of servers to send FCoE traffic to it.

The DCX backbone switch is Brocade's play in the converged Ethernet and storage networking data centre that everyone appears to be adopting. Together with Cisco, Brocade is proposing that all networking in the data centre should be converged onto Ethernet. Server and storage interconnect and array manufacturers are all falling into line.

Brocade is building out its product set while waiting for a low-latency and lossless version of Ethernet to arrive, what it calls Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) and Cisco calls Data Centre Ethernet (DCE).

The FX8-24 Extension Blade "is designed to connect two or more data centres to enhance business continuity and disaster recovery", while the FCoE 10-24 Blade "provides Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) capabilities for server I/O consolidation in the data centre."

The FX8-24 has twelve 8Gbit/s Fibre Channel ports, ten 1Gbit/s Ethernet (GbE) ports, and up to two optional 10 GbE ports, making 24 ports in total. There can be up to two FX8-24 blades in a DCX or DCX-4S backbone switch, and customers can double the aggregate bandwidth to 40Gbit/s by activating the optional 10 GbE ports.

The DCX also gets FCIP Trunking, enabling FCIP tunnels with up to 10Gbit/s bandwidth using 10GbE ports and 4Gbit/s using 1GbE ports, with failover and load balancing capabilities for resilience and performance. Other new features include Adaptive Rate Limiting, FCIP Quality of Service (QoS), and more effective compression.

Brocade also announced the availability of the 7800 Extension Switch, which offers the same functionality as the FX8-24 Extension Blade but as a fixed-configuration switch. It is aimed at smaller data centres and remote offices implementing point-to-point disk replication in open systems environments. It provides up to sixteen 8Gbit/s Fibre Channel ports and six 1GbE ports, and can be upgraded through software licensing.

Both extension products will be available through EMC, Hitachi Data Systems and HP.

Brocade says the FCoE 10-24 blade delivers "the first high-density, end-of-row option for consolidating server I/O connectivity". It has 24 10Gbit/s CEE (Converged Enhanced Ethernet) ports. Storage traffic is delivered to the storage area network (SAN) through 8Gbit/s Fibre Channel blades in the DCX.

The FCoE 10-24 Blade will be available through the same OEMS as the extension blades plus NetApp. NetApp, which has a strategy of adding native FCoE interfaces to its arrays, supports the new blade on its FAS and V-Series products. ®

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