Brocade releases virtual data centre switches

Clusters of switches can be managed like a single logical switch.

Networking vendor Brocade has announced a new range of Ethernet switches designed for virtualised data centres and clouds.

The new Brocade VDX 6720 Data Centre Switches are a family of 10Gbps Ethernet products that does away with the need for the need for Spanning Tree Protocol, according to the company.

By integrating the access and aggregation networking layers, Brocade claims virtual machines (VMs) will have greater mobility, increased network utilisation and the management of data centre networks will be simplified.

Brocade’s regional manager for Australia and New Zealand Graham Schultz said today’s infrastructure is not sufficient to handle new applications, and not flexible enough for a world where applications are mobile.

“It’s clear that data centre networks need to be upgraded to increase performance, reduce latency and eliminate downtime. They also need to be designed specifically to support highly virtualised and cloud-optimised data centres,” Schultz said.

“We are delivering upon our Brocade One unified network strategy and vision by dramatically simplifying networks and increasing scalability without adding complexity.”

Schultz said the VDX line is “not just a re-hashed fibre channel switch”, but there are some similarities in functionality like distributed intelligence.

“VDX not replacing the need for Fibre Channel, it complements it,” he said. “In today’s data centres there is limited mobility of VMs. VDX enables the movement of VMs from one server to another without losing the characteristics of the VMs.”

Brocade senior systems engineer Phillip Coates said the new switches can connect to legacy networks and “talk those protocols”.

“We are also hypervisor agnostic [and] customers can deploy as little or as much Ethernet fabric into an existing environment,” Coates said.

According to IDC, more than half of all IT workloads will run on virtual machines by the end of this year, with that number climbing to beyond 70 per cent by the end of 2013.

Cindy Borovick, vice president of enterprise communications infrastructure and datacenter networks at IDC, said the new Brocade VDX 6720 switches take the best attributes from Fibre Channel and apply that to form a comprehensive Ethernet fabric.

The VDX 6720 Data Centre Switches are available in 1 or 2U form factors and provide the ability to scale from 16 to 60 ports with Ports on Demand (POD) licensing.

The switches provide 10Gbps wire-speed performance from any port to any port, with a latency of 600 nanoseconds. A switching cluster supports a sphere of 600 10Gbps ports and 8000 VMs.

Clusters of switches can be managed like a single logical switch.

The Brocade VDX 6720 Data Centre switches will be available on November 22, starting at $US10,700.

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