Brocade Pitches Extension Switch as Replacement for WAN Optimization Appliances
A Brocade 7800 Extension Switch (Image: Brocade)

Brocade Pitches Extension Switch as Replacement for WAN Optimization Appliances

Improves replication performance with =data compression and disk and tape protocol acceleration

Brocade has enhanced remote data center disaster recovery and replication capabilities with a new extension switch and enhancements to its Fabric Vision technology. The extension switches are an alternative to Wide Area Network (WAN) optimization appliances and used for remote replication and backup.

Brocade said its enhanced remote data center DR is achieved through what it calls superior WAN link utilization and new unique failover functionality. The company said it provides shorter recovery points and faster recovery times in the event of a disaster or in routine backup and replication tasks, over what the company calls "unreliable" WAN links.

The DR platform also extends and enhances Brocade’s Fabric Vision technology. Fabric Vision is a fabric network monitoring solution. It has improved its long distance monitoring of remote data centers, useful if the data center isn't physically reachable. It helps companies troubleshoot over distance and detects WAN anomalies. Companies can monitor dispersed data center for performance and hopefully avoid unplanned downtime. It speeds up replication as well.

Brocade is tackling two trends with its fabric networking solutions: the explosion of data and the pressure on IT to keep this data highly available across multiple data centers, hence better DR and replication capabilities over distance.

The new Brocade Extension Switch is denser, improving performance, and offers simplified remote data center management. Replication performance over distance has been improved using data compression and disk and tape protocol acceleration. Brocade said the switch has 80 Gbps of application data throughput over long distances with 256-bit IPsec encryption, and does this without a performance hit.

The new Extension Switch is part of its Gen 5 Fiber Channel SAN portfolio. It has 80 Gbps of application data throughput while securing data flows over distance with 256-bit IPsec encryption without a performance penalty, according to the company.

Other enhancements to 7840 Extension Switch include:

  • WAN-side non-disruptive firmware upgrades
  • Extension trunking: combines multiple WAN connections into a single, logical, high-bandwidth trunk, providing active load balancing and network resilience to protect against WAN link failures.
  • Adaptive rate limiting: dynamically adjusts bandwidth sharing between minimum and maximum rate limits to optimize bandwidth utilization and maintain WAN performance during disruptions.

The Brocade 7840 offers both 40 Gigabits per second (Gbps) and 10 Gpbs Fiber channel over IP (FCIP) connectivity options.

Fabric Vision technology is done over hardware and software. It helps enterprises optimize resources and overcome infrastructure complexity between data centers. It includes tools and automation capabilities that simplify management and provide proactive monitoring. It includes:

  • A Monitoring and Alerting Policy Suite (MAPS): simplifies monitoring with policy-based automation between data centers to automatically detect WAN anomalies and avoid unplanned downtime.
  • Flow Vision: accelerates troubleshooting of end-to-end I/O flows over distance with integrated diagnostics and eliminates the need for expensive third-party tools.
  • Dashboards for discovering and resolving WAN network issues via root-cause analysis and point-in-time playback. Administrators can view all critical information from thin-client, Web-accessible dashboards

"Managing multiple data centers is inherently complex and time-intensive," said Jack Rondoni, vice president, Storage Networking, at Brocade. "By deploying the Brocade 7840 Extension Switch with enhanced Fabric Vision technology, organizations can create better solutions that meet or exceed their requirements and expectations for faster replication and recovery to achieve always-on operations."

The company also introduced a new port blade for the Brocade 8510 DCX Director, part of the DCX Backbone family. The port blade consumes less power, increases port density and reduces cabling requirements. It's called the Brocade FC16-64. The blade is scalable up to 512 Gen 5 Fiber Channel ports and total system bandwidth of 10.2 Terabits per second.

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