Brocade unveils converged datacentre plan

Brocade One, aimed at speeding the transition to fully virtualised datacentres, brings the company into competition with Cisco and Juniper's network-based unified setups

Brocade has launched a converged datacentre strategy called Brocade One, which aims to reduce the complexity of datacentre architectures and ease the move to full virtualisation.

The initiative, launched on Wednesday, brings the company into direct competition with Cisco's Unified Computing System (UCS), and Juniper Networks' Project Status.

Like those groups of technologies, Brocade One is aimed at unifying and simplifying the datacentre fabric. Unlike them, it is focused on shifting the datacentre intelligence away from servers and on to the network. Brocade One is in part based on technologies acquired with Brocade's buyout of Foundry Networks for $3bn (£2bn) in 2008.

The removal of network layers and simplification of management will ease the transition to flexible, virtualised datacentre fabrics, which will help datacentres meet the growing need for on-demand delivery of services via the cloud, according to Brocade.

"Virtualised datacentres will enable the realisation of cloud architectures where services and applications can be delivered on-demand and at much greater speeds than is possible today," said Brocade chief executive Mike Klayko in a statement.

As part of Brocade One, the company is planning to release new products alongside consulting and support services from Brocade Global Services. The products will include Virtual Cluster Switching (VCS) switches, an operating system called Brocade Network OS, and several management tools.

These new releases will incorporate a technology called Virtual Access Layer (VAL). The logical layer between the fabric and the virtualisation hypervisor is designed to ensure consistent quality of service for virtual machines. VAL will support hypervisors from VMware, Microsoft and other vendors via standards such as Virtual Ethernet Port Aggregator (VEPA) and Virtual Ethernet Bridging (VEB), Brocade said.

There will be three new 10Gb Ethernet switches under the VCS product line, with 24, 48 and 60 ports respectively. The switches support Fibre Channel and IP services on a Linux core.

Clusters of VCS switches will be able to support 1,000 10Gb ports and 10,000 virtual machines, all of which can be managed as a single switch, Brocade said. The switches will begin shipping in the fourth quarter of this year, with pricing to be announced at a future date.

Other elements of Brocade One include Open Virtual Compute Blocks, which will be pre-tested and verified datacentre blueprints, and Brocade Network Advisor, an element management toolset integrating Ethernet, fibre channel and datacentre bridging capabilities. Brocade Network Advisor will be compatible with management software from other major vendors.


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