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Brocade delivers 10gig FCoE switching

VDX products

Broken CD with wrench

Brocade is ready to deliver 10gig Ethernet switching with end-to-end Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), opening the way for its customers to move away from costly physical Fibre Channel and embrace converged networking with Ethernet economics.

This is the first product implementation of a technology outlined in the summer by Brocade. The VDX 6720 line comprises two products: a 1U, 6720-24 24-port switch and a 2U, 6720-60 60-port switch. These are 10GbitE ports, which can be configured for 1GbitE, and which provide full wire speed with a latency of 600 nanoseconds.

The switches include Virtual Cluster Switching (VCS) firmware, enabling up to 10 of them to be clustered together in order to provide a single virtual resource of up to 600 10Gbit/e ports which can support, Brocade claims, up to 8,000 virtual machines (VMs). The apps on these VMs can use the single 10GBitE wire for LAN traffic, IP wide-area networking, iSCSI and FCoE block access storage traffic and NFS and CIFS file traffic.

The VMs can be moved between physical servers with the VDX switch or cluster-preserving network access as the VM is moved and redirecting network access to the new VM location once the move is complete.

The overall pitch is that this enables a single logical wire to carry most if not all data-centre network traffic. This makes for good use of expensive network sysadm resources and better utilisation of the network cabling and switches.

The VDX switches use DCB (Data Centre Bridging) technology as a way of linking Ethernet nodes without using the existing Spanning Tree Protocol. Brocade says its VDX switches enable end-to-end FCoE between VMs in servers and storage arrays. It is thought it will take two or three years before FCoE starts being widely deployed.

Cisco, Juniper and Avaya are working in the same general area and there will be intense competition to preserver each supplier's customer base and expand it.

The VDX 6720 starts shipping in December with a starting configuration costing around $10,700. Users can expand capacity in an 8-port increment for the 16-port 6720-20 and 10-port increments for the 6720-60. ®

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