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Brocade launches management tools and 100GbE router

The networking specialist has unveiled a console that allows unified management of SAN and IP networks, alongside its first 100Gb Ethernet router chassis and blade
Written by Jack Clark, Contributor

Brocade has launched Brocade Network Advisor, a converged management platform for both storage area network and IP networks, and a high-density 100Gb Ethernet router, as part of its overall datacentre strategy.

The products, unveiled on Wednesday, are part of the networking specialist's Brocade One strategy, which seeks to simplify the architecture of the modern datacentre. It competes with datacentre packages offered by other major hardware companies, such as Cisco's Unified Computing System and Juniper Networks's Project Status.

"Brocade Network Advisor (BNA) helps reduce customer operational expenditure by minimising training, increasing automation and consolidating tools," Jason Nolet, vice president of the company's datacentre and enterprise networking group, said in a statement.

BNA allows management of both storage area network (SAN) and IP networks within one console, and it simplifies the steps needed to configure, monitor, manage and receive reports from products across Brocade's entire networking portfolio.

BNA fuses the capabilities of two previously disparate tools — the Data Center Fabric Manager, designed for SAN networks, and the IronView Network Manager, designed for IP-based networks, such as those used in the datacentre, campus or service provider network environment. IronView is a product developed from technology acquired by Brocade when it bought Foundry Networks two years ago.

The management platform is designed to bridge the "disparate islands of tools and fragmented lifecycle management processes" that suffuse the datacentre software environment, Nolet said. It will allow administration of the Brocade DCX Backbone, Brocade IP switches and routers, Host Bus Adapters (HBAs), Converged Network Adapters (CNAs), and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) switches.

The platform also integrates with management products from Brocade's partners, such as VMware's vCentre, Microsoft System Center Operations Manager, IBM Systems Director and IBM Tivoli. BNA will be available in November 2010.

At the same time, Brocade unveiled its Brocade MLXe Core Router chassis and its 100Gb Ethernet blade, which marks the company's first outing into 100Gbps-capable Ethernet hardware. Both devices are compatible with the BNA management console and are designed to add capacity and reduce the amount of hardware needed for datacentre operators to run high-traffic networks.

The MLXe, when loaded with the new blades, can deliver one terabit-per-second through a single trunk. A trunk is essentially a single logical pathway made up of traffic inputting and outputting across multiple ports, and it provides administrators with massive bandwidth across a single point of hardware.

To demonstrate instances where the MLXe can be used, Brocade announced that the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) has doubled its network capacity by deploying seven 32-port MLXe routers to use alongside its existing Brocade-based infrastructure. The upgrade means that although the routing exchange is still deploying 10Gb Ethernet blades, it has the router capacity and hardware available to move to 100Gb Ethernet, according to Henk Steenman, chief technology officer for AMS-IX.

The Brocade MLXe router was made available on Wednesday in four, eight, 16 and 32-slot configurations and has a US pricing of $22,245 (£14,308). The 100Gb Ethernet blade was made available for order on Wednesday, with general availability planned for the first half of 2011. It will have a list price of $194,995 for two 100Gb Ethernet ports in a single blade.

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