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Brocade New 10GbE And FC Modules Increase Capacity

Brocade is doubling its 10GbE capacity in its flagship MLX router platform and increasing the capacity of the company's DCX Backbone SAN Switch. The need for higher density and higher capacity network and storage infrastructure is driven by the increased use of virtualization in the data center and the explosion of data that needs to be stored and accessed. However, rack space and square footage in existing data centers is at a premium. Increasing density is the logical step in supporting denser data centers.

The 8x10G blades are half-height slots carrying eight optical SFP+ ports per blade. A fully populated MLX can support a total of 256 ports. The 8x10G blades comes in two models. The 8x10G-M is aimed at carriers supporting metro or carrier Ethernet and supports VPLS/MPLS and IPv4 and IPv6. The 8x10G-D is aimed at data center deployments without the VPLS and MPLS support and a smaller route table. Both blades are hot swappable and have the hardware support necessary for supporting data center bridging and Fibre Channel of Ethernet. Both the 8x10G cards an run line rate into the MLX backbone which means you don't have to take switch module over-subscription into network designs. The MLX-32 supports 7.68 Tb/s switching capacity and 5.12 Tb/s routing capacity. The cards support 1GB of buffer per/card for packet queuing.

While the 8x10G blades double the port capacity of the MLX router chassis, they did so while lowering the cost per port by 40 percent and using a claimed 45 percent less power and cooling per 10GbE port. The cost, power and cooling savings are compared to existing Brocade full width 10Gb modules, and benefits from new engineering as well as higher port density that doesn't necessarily double heat and power requirements in lockstep with doubling port density.

 "Brocade's new blades for the NetIron MLX will prove to be interesting for service provider customers and the largest data center networks. However, it is unclear how this announcement integrates Brocade's NetIron MLX and the DCX Backbone. The products show that Brocade is going to continue to develop for both platforms, which is a good thing, but these new blades are hardly platform integration," says Steven J. Schuchart Jr., Principal Analyst, Current Analysis

Brocade also announced a card with 64 8Gbps FC, which allows the DCX Backbone to support 512 8Gbps FC ports and 256 8Gbps port on the smaller DCX-4s. The cards support line rate for all ports with the DCX supporting 4.6Tbps and the DCX-42 suppoting 2.3Tbps. Each card contains a 1GB buffer for queuing and can be hot swapped into existing DCX Backbones. The MLX 8x10G-M starts at 39,995 and is available today. The 8x10G-D start at $27,995 and will be available in the summer of 2010. Brocade refused to disclose the suggest list price for the FC8-24 pricing deferring to channel and OEM partners instead. Checkout Next-Gen LAN: Everything Except the Kitchen Sink to find out how to take advantage of network enhancements.