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Brocade is baking new campus LAN products with its HyperEdge technology providing mix-'n'-match edge switch stacking and single point management.

The HyperEdge technology is said to facilitate simplified and automated access layer networks that will be able to accommodate the expected flood of data traffic to/from smartphones and tablets and be able to scale as traffic grows.

Brocade claims that "single-point management ... enables users to manage their entire access-switching layer as if it were a single device, from initial deployment to ongoing configuration, software upgrades and monitoring." Several switches on different floors of a building can be managed as if they constituted a single logical device.

Brocade claims that entry-level and more expensive edge switches can be stacked so that "entry-level switches inherit all of the feature richness of the premium switches in the stack," and says this is cheaper than building stacks from costlier switches – which means future switches can be added to the stack instead.

There are two new ICX 6430 and 6450 self-stacking switches with layer 2 and layer 3 functionality are able to support Energy-efficient Ethernet (EEE) and MACsec encryption for link-level data protection. There are 24-access port and 48-access port 1GbitE models and optional 1/10GbitE uplink/stacking ports. Up to 384 ports can be stacked in total. The 6430 has 4 X 1GbitE SFP uplinks and the 6450 4 X 10Gbit SFP+ uplinks.

They join the existing FCX and ICX 6610 access switches which are ready for HyperEdge technology as well. They all connect to aggregation and core switches such as the 6610, which is a cross-over switch, the Fastiron SX and the MLX products.

Brocade is marketing all of this as the "effortless" network, which is nice marketing.

The HyperEdge technology will be available on Brocade's stackable access switch portfolio through a software upgrade which will be made available next year. This aspect of Brocade's announcement is somewhat vapour-like as it involves a nine-to-15-month wait. But customers are assured that the access switches they buy between now and then will be upgradable to the HyperEdge technology.

The ICX 6430 and 6450 switches are available today directly from Brocade and its channel partners at a starting list price of $1,295. HyperEdge technology is planned to be available for purchase in the first half of 2013. ®

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