Brocade Delivers 100 Gigabit Ethernet Solutions for Software-Defined Networks

Delivers First Phase of Roadmap with OpenFlow Support across the Brocade NetIron Router Family

Brocade (Nasdaq: BRCD) today outlined its strategy for software-defined networking (SDN), a technology gaining broad support across network operators and enterprises on a global basis. In support of its SDN strategy, Brocade also announced that it has integrated hardware based OpenFlow support in the Brocade® MLX® Series of routers and related Brocade NetIron® platforms, enabling customers to deploy SDN at wire-speed 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) performance.

OpenFlow is a protocol standardized by the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) and a key component of SDN. OpenFlow enables programmatic control of network infrastructures and rapid network service development and deployment.

The strategy Brocade introduced today will guide the company’s SDN investments, marketing and partner relationships to deliver highly flexible, end-to-end networking solutions. The focus of these solutions will be on network virtualization, automation and simplification in large-scale data centers, along with traffic engineering and flow management on high-speed networks. The Brocade strategy provides a clear upgrade path to SDN, leveraging existing network investments and enabling network operators to start now with a low level of risk as they begin to provide services in a highly predictable, non-disruptive manner.

The Brocade SDN strategy includes the following key technologies and capabilities:

  • Resilient and auto-forming Ethernet fabrics will enhance SDN. Brocade VCS® Fabric technology is optimized for virtualized applications through its active-active topology and virtual machine (VM)-aware intelligence that enables seamless VM mobility without manual configuration, including the network policies associated with each VM. In addition, multiple switches that make up the fabric can be managed and programmed as one logical switch, dramatically reducing operational complexity and improving SDN controller scalability. Finally, VCS fabrics, with a self-forming and self-healing architecture, are highly resilient to help increase availability.
  • Network virtualization via overlay technologies will offer flexibility to networks, enabling on-demand infrastructure in highly scalable multi-tenancy environments. Brocade products have a tunnel technology-agnostic design that supports overlay technologies such as Network Virtualization using Generic Routing Encapsulation (NVGRE),, STT, and VXLAN as well as emerging standards.
  • Brocade will be the industry’s first network vendor to deliver OpenFlow in hybrid mode. With Brocade Hybrid Mode, customers can simultaneously deploy traditional Layer 2/3 forwarding with OpenFlow. This unique capability enables network operators to integrate OpenFlow into existing networks, giving them the programmatic control offered by SDN for specific flows while the remaining traffic is handled as before. The Brocade hardware support for OpenFlow enables customers to apply these capabilities at line rate in 10 GbE and 100 GbE networks.
  • With programmatic control of network infrastructure through partnerships with a broad set of OpenFlow controller vendors, Brocade enables service innovation via open APIs. Specifically, Brocade is delivering industry-standard OpenFlow for Layer 2/3 forwarding and the Brocade OpenScript™ engine for Layer 4/7 switching to unlock the network to increase service velocity for highly customized services.
  • Brocade is providing a single common cloud management and orchestration interface through northbound standards-based plug-ins and standards-based RESTful interfaces. The plug-ins to cloud management frameworks—including Cloudstack, Microsoft System Center, OpenStack, and VMware vCenter/vCloud™ Director —provide comprehensive orchestration capabilities for cloud service delivery and automated operations.

In support of this strategy, Brocade is delivering an SDN-ready product family that enables customers to build a network infrastructure today that will serve as the foundation for their SDN architecture in the future. These products include the Brocade VDX® family of data center switches, Brocade ADX® Series application delivery switches, Brocade MLX Series of 100 GbE routers, Brocade NetIron CER Series routers and Brocade NetIron CES Series switches.

Brocade is also building an ecosystem of partners for SDN through strategic investments, solution designs and interoperability testing. Brocade recently unveiled an OpenFlow lab in Japan designed to demonstrate Brocade and partner technologies to aid in the development of tested and validated solutions. Brocade is also a member of the Indiana Center for Network Translational Research and Education (InCNTRE), which seeks to advance development, increase knowledge, and encourage adoption of OpenFlow and other standards-based SDN technologies. Brocade has also participated in a number of industry multi-vendor demonstrations with NEC, including at the Open Networking Summit (ONS) in Santa Clara, CA in April 2012, and Interop Las Vegas in May 2012.


“Software-defined networking is a networking paradigm to transition wide-area data networking from a pure transport business to a model that allows providers to optimize traffic flows based on a centralized, customizable control plane by utilizing technologies such as OpenFlow.  This will enable service providers to offer cloud applications with on-demand end-to-end SLAs and innovative service offerings,”' said Nathan Raciborski, co-founder and CTO, Limelight Networks,  “We are working closely with Brocade and other SDN technology leaders to innovate and deliver rich cloud based content services to our customers.”

“As we look to build our network of the future to meet the challenges of Big Data science, we see SDN as a critical component of that. SDN creates a platform that can be uniquely and dynamically customized based on our specific needs,” said Matthew Davy, chief network architect, Indiana University. “We chose the Brocade MLX because of its support for OpenFlow at speeds up to 100 Gigabit. We will be able to programmatically control the network without sacrificing performance, scalability or reliability.”

As Microsoft’s cloud-optimized operating system and management solution, Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 enable customers to rapidly deploy workloads to the private, public, and hybrid cloud,” said Ross Ortega, principal program manager, Windows Networking, Microsoft. “Hyper-V Network Virtualization allows customers to orchestrate and automate multi-tenant clouds with high levels of reliability, scalability, and agility. Brocade’s support for the NVGRE protocol will help optimize network virtualization across large datacenter environments.”

“SDN will transform networking infrastructure into a platform for innovation, enabling customers to deliver new services and applications faster and at greater scale,” said Ken Cheng, vice president of the service provider business at Brocade. “Brocade is already a pioneer in defining SDN standards and, by executing on our SDN strategy we believe we will be going further than any networking vendor by broadly embedding SDN technologies into our solutions.”

Additional Assets:

Video: Matthew Davy, chief network architect, Indiana University, discusses his mission to create service-based platforms for innovation.

Video: Daniel Williams, director product marketing, Brocade interviews Dan Pitt, executive director Open Networking Foundation, about the Foundation, software defined networking and OpenFlow.

Video: Ken Cheng, vice president service provider products, Brocade, outlines the company’s strategy for software defined networking and OpenFlow.

Social Media Tags: Brocade, Open Networking Foundation, ONF, Software-Defined Networking, SDN, OpenFlow, Ethernet Fabrics, SAN, Storage Area Network, IP, Fibre Channel, Ethernet, WAN, LAN, Networks

About Brocade

Brocade (Nasdaq: BRCD) networking solutions help the world’s leading organizations transition smoothly to a world where applications and information reside anywhere. (


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