Brocade increases blade port density

Three new blades are designed to deal with increasingly complex, virtualised datacentre environments and rapidly increasing network traffic

Brocade has added three new blades for its datacentre and carrier switches, increasing wire-speed performance and density to deal with increasingly complex virtualised environments and booming network traffic.

The new introductions include two blades for the NetIron MLX Series switch: the 8x10G-M series blade for carrier Ethernet networks and 8x10G-D series blade for the datacentre.

Brocade has also released a 64-port, 8Gbps Fibre Channel blade for the DCX Backbone, called the FC8-64. The product, aimed at storage area networks (SAN), delivers wire-speed density of up to 512 ports per chassis, Brocade said in its announcement on Wednesday. The DCX competes with systems such as Cisco's MDS9500, which supports 528 ports per chassis.

The added capacity of the FC8-64 should help organisations deal with increasingly complex, virtualised datacentres, Brocade said.

"As your networks become more dynamic as you're moving to a cloud environment, (the FC8-64) allows you to simplify your network design as you're not trying to design around bottlenecks or oversubscribed line cards," said Doug Ingraham, Brocade's vice president of product management, during a webcast accompanying the launch.

The 8x10G-M series blade for service providers doubles the MLX switch's 10Gb Ethernet density to 256 ports per chassis. The 10Gb Ethernet product supports MPLS, VPLS, IPv4 and IPv6 with a forwarding information base capacity of up to 512,000 IPv4 routes.

The companion product for datacentres and high-performance computing environments — the 8x10G-D Series blade — supports the same features but with a lower forwarding information base capacity of 256,000 IPv4 routes. The new blades reduce the MLX's power consumption by up to 45 percent, according to Brocade.

The 8x10G-M series blades are available immediately, with prices starting at $39,995 (£27,589). The 8x10G-D series blades will be available in the middle of this year, with prices starting at $27,995.

Brocade said the new blades are designed to deal with the rapid growth of IP traffic, a trend also highlighted by others in the industry.

In its annual Visual Networking Index, released on Wednesday, Cisco predicted that global internet traffic will more than quadruple by 2014, driven by increases in video traffic and the proliferation of connected mobile devices. The company said IP traffic will grow to about 64 exabytes per month in 2014, compared with about 15 exabytes per month in 2009.

The FC8-64 blade for SANs is expected to be available later this year via resellers such as EMC, IBM and HP. Brocade did not release pricing details for the product.

The company said it has begun looking at the deployment of 100Gb Ethernet technology for high-performance networking applications, and has begun taking early orders for 100Gb Ethernet-based products.


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