Brocade And Juniper Show Off Faster Fabrics

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

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Juniper and Brocade have both released new equipment promising to assist data centres struggling with bandwidth consumption

Two networking specialists have released new equipment this week. The first announcement was from Brocade, which continued its push to take on Cisco in the data centre after announcing a new Ethernet fabric switching solution.

The VDX 6720 Data Centre Switches are a new family of 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) offerings from Brocade, which should prove attractive to customers who are considering upgrading to Fibre Channel but are concerned about the cost.

“The switches eliminate the need for Spanning Tree Protocol (STP), collapsing the access and aggregation networking layers to create a flat, multipath, deterministic network that is ideal for virtualised environments,” said Brocade. “This approach provides virtual machines (VMs) a greater sphere of mobility, increases network utilisation, creates more resilient networks and simplifies the management of data centre networks.”

Brocade VDX 6720

The VDX 6720 Data Centre Switches are available in one- or two-rack-unit (1U or 2U) form factors and scale from 16 to 60 ports. The switches provide full 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) wire-speed performance from any port to any port, with latency of 600 nanoseconds (ns).

“Today’s infrastructure is not sufficient to handle new applications, and not flexible enough for a world where applications are mobile. It’s clear that data centre networks need to be upgraded to increase performance, reduce latency and eliminate downtime. They also need to be designed specifically to support highly virtualised and cloud-optimised data centres,” said Dave Stevens, Brocade CTO.

“We are delivering upon our Brocade One unified network strategy and vision by dramatically simplifying networks and increasing scalability without adding complexity. Today, the Brocade VDX 6720 switches, featuring Brocade VCS technology, deliver true cloud-optimised networking for the first time.”

Brocade is certainly making no bones about its desire to take on Cisco head on. Back in September, a Brocade MLXe core router was installed in Amsterdam’s AMS-IX Internet exchange, enabling a massive capacity increase there.

The Brocade VDX 6720 Data Centre switches are available now, starting at $10,700 (£6,655).

Juniper T4000 Router

Meanwhile Juniper Networks is also looking to cause Cisco a few headaches after extending its T-Series core router family with the introduction of a 240 Gbps/slot router.

Juniper’s T4000 Core Router will be available from the second half of next year, and is of course powered by the Junos operating system. Juniper is making two notable claims about this router, saying that it will be the industry’s fastest router as data centre networks struggle to deal with Internet traffic that is increasingly made up of dynamic content such as video, cloud computing and mobile applications. Juniper is also claiming that the T4000 will be the most power-efficient core router of its generation.

Juniper has previous form here, as it was the first vendor to deliver 100GE with its announcement of the T 1600 router in 2007. The T4000 however will offer 240 Gbps/slot, and can offer four terabits of line rate throughput in a half rack chassis. And Juniper has designed the T4000 to be pretty flexible as well, as existing T640 and T1600 core routers can be upgraded to the T4000 with no service disruption or changing customer-facing interfaces.

“Juniper is the clear leader in innovative, next-generation networking technologies, including being the first to announce and deliver 100G,” said Stefan Dyckerhoff, executive vice president and general manager, Infrastructure Products Group, Juniper Networks. “With the T4000, Juniper is now the first to provide clear investment protection for three generations of core routers since the introduction of the T640 more than eight years ago.”

Green Core Router

And Juniper is also looking to captilise on its new router’s green credentials as well, saying that the T4000 is “designed for optimum power efficiency and shows dramatic improvement in the watt per bit processed by most competitive platforms.”

“At 2.7 watts of power per Gigabit of processed traffic, the T4000 is more than three times as efficient as the T1600, which is the most power-efficient core router of its generation,” the company said.

The T4000 will support a diversity of interfaces, optimised to deliver the benefits of 10/40/100GE. In addition to supporting all existing T640 and T1600 interfaces, the new interface cards include 12x10GE; 1x100GE with CFP; and 2x40GE with CFP.

There was currently no word on pricing for the T4000.