100 Gigabit Ethernet Industry Milestone Achieved; Brocade Delivers 100TH Blade

Renowned International Research Institute, CERN, Advances Particle Physics Research Using Brocade 100 Gigabit Ethernet Solution

From initial customer shipments of 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) in June 2011, Brocade established itself as a leading provider of carrier-grade 100 GbE routing solutions for service providers and enterprises worldwide.  By November 2011 the Company delivered its 100TH two-port blade to the European particle physics laboratory, CERN, one of the world’s largest centers for scientific studies, as a critical component to accelerate its research.

Exponential bandwidth growth and the need for faster connectivity has forced network operators to carefully plan for future capacity requirement. This growth affects virtually all networks, including the public Internet where bandwidth is doubling every 18 to 24 months. CERN’s demanding environment exceeds 15 petabytes or 15 million gigabytes of data traffic per year. To put this number in perspective, 15 petabytes is equivalent to approximately 200 years of continuously running HD-quality video. Similar to other organizations with high volumes of variable traffic flows and continued bandwidth growth requirements in the coming years, it was necessary for CERN to select a cost-effective solution with dense 10 and 100 GbE routing capabilities today as well as the ability to deliver massive scalability for anticipated bandwidth spikes in the future.

Many of the world’s top service providers and premier research institutes have surpassed the performance requirements that 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) can deliver via their high throughput networks and applications. This growing demand and requirement for greater bandwidth is clear, according to estimates by Infonetics Research, between 2010 and 2015, 100 Gigabit port sales are expected to have a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 214 percent compared to 58 percent for 10 Gigabit connectivity.

“We first selected the Brocade MLXe routers one year ago because it was a perfect fit for our stringent networking requirements in the near-and-long term (we test products to destruction); now that we are ready for 100 GbE, it was a simple line card addition to multiply our network performance,” said Jean-Michel Jouanigot, Communication Systems Group Leader, IT Department, at CERN. “I do not see our appetite for data waning in the future, so with the addition of the Brocade MLXe with 100 GbE in our environment, I am confident we have a blueprint for success.”

Service provider and high performance computing (HPC) environments must continually evaluate their networking requirements to manage a surge in Internet traffic due to expanding broadband penetration, bandwidth-intensive multimedia and research applications, and mobile application growth worldwide. Delivering up to four times the 100 GbE wire-speed density and nine times the system capacity of competing routers, the Brocade MLXe router helps ensure greater simplicity with significantly less infrastructure and operational overhead, by supporting 32 wire-speed 100 GbE ports and a total switching capacity of 15.36 Terabits in a single chassis.

“Gigabit Ethernet connectivity is still going strong in the enterprise LAN, but within performance-driven environments the CAGR is at a negative growth rate,” said Zeus Kerravala, principal at ZK Research. “While some organizations will continue to grow incrementally by link aggregating multiple ports of 10 GbE, there is a growing group of ultra high performance research institutes and service providers that will need to jump immediately to 100 GbE to remain competitive. Since these organizations’ bandwidth requirements are increasing exponentially, the use of a 100 GbE terabit trunk router will provide substantial scalability for future needs.”

To help reduce operational expenditures and promote service provider expansion, the 2-port 100 GbE blades cost just a fraction of competitive offerings and offer the widest range of supported CFP optics. When installed in the Brocade MLXe routers, the Brocade 100 GbE blades enable service providers to deploy the industry’s first Terabit-per-second trunk, which utilizes multiple ports in a single logical link for greater bandwidth and reduced management up to capacities of 1.6 Terabits. 

In addition to CERN, Brocade has had successful 100 GbE deployments with large Internet Exchange Points (IXPs), content delivery network (CDN) providers, and research organizations, such as the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX), Limelight Networks and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).


  • CERN Builds Research Network to Support Future Growth
  • Wide Area 100 GbE Testing with Indiana University at Supercomputing 2011

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