Brocade refreshed its campus networking portfolio and unveiled a new architectural vision for the campus built around availability of its next-generation stacking technology, HyperEdge.
Brocade HyperEdge, announced a year ago and available now, provides administrators with a single point of oversight for all HyperEdge-compatible switches in a network. It establishes a single management IP address for all switches, giving administrators a much coveted, single pane of glass for configuring and managing a network.
"There's a big push for that single pane of glass," said John Mazur, senior analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group. "I see HyperEdge as being part of an architecture for an underlying network [that] in the future can become more dynamic either through network virtualization or through OpenFlow."
Brocade is using the release of HyperEdge as a pillar of a new approach to campus network architecture that focuses on collapsing switching from three tiers to two. That architecture also includes pre-existing multi-chassis trunking on is FastIron SX core switches, as well as new wireless LAN technologies available through the company's OEM relationship with Motorola.
Brocade HyperEdge: Stacking everything
With HyperEdge, a network operator can run all the switches in a network as a single logical device. To that end, an admin can take the high-end ICX 6610 switch, which might be in the aggregation tier of a campus network, and combine it with ICX 6450 edge switches.
"We allow you to manage your ICX 6450 entry-level stackable platforms with the ICX 6610, and also you can distribute services and functionality on the 6610 down to the 6450, so effectively you are building a logical router, even if those switches are distributed geographically," said Siva Valliappan, Brocade's senior director of enterprise networking.
HyperEdge is available now as a software upgrade in Brocade FastIron 8.0. It requires no additional license.
Integrating wireless LAN into campus portfolio
Meanwhile, Brocade enhanced its switch software and its network management platform, Brocade Network Advisor, to integrate wireless LAN technology from OEM partner Motorola into its campus portfolio. Network Advisor will now allow operators to manage wired and wireless networks on a single console. Motorola features such as self-healing access points (APs), distributed AP forwarding and wireless mesh will now be available.
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Planning a campus core refresh
Brocade will also start selling the latest generation of Motorola's wireless LAN products, including the RFS9510 wireless LAN controller, which can control 10,000 APs. Brocade also added three APs to its portfolio: the entry-level 802.11n 1220, the 3x3x3 MIMO 1240 and the 802.11ac 1250. The first two models are available in May and the 1250 will be available in the third quarter of this year.
Campus switch refresh
Finally, Brocade unveiled some enhancements to its campus switching line, highlighted by the premium ICX 6650, a 1.6 Tbps, one rack-unit switch available in two configurations: 56x10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports with 6x40 GbE ports or 64x10 GbE ports with 4x40 GbE ports. Brocade is positioning the ICX 6650 for both the campus and the data center. The ICX 6650 is available now with a starting list price of $19,200.
The FastIron SX core campus switch also received an update in the form of a new management module that offers an eightfold boost in performance to enable such features as Virtual Routing Forwarding. The management module will ship in June with a list price of $3,995.
With these additions, Brocade is offering more of an "end-to-end solution from the mobile device all the way back to the data center," said Mazur of Enterprise Strategy Group. This contrasts with some vendors that have created a demarcation between data center and campus networking. Enterasys Networks and HP Networking have pushed similar approaches and were met with some success, he added.
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