Thoughts after Brocade’s Analyst and Technology Day 2012

Thursday today, the day after the Day. It was a real long day, and to my surprise it said ‘press’ on my pass – so I had to try to ask some questions :)

Some things picked up:

* New VDX 8770 product released – a modular Ethernet switch. Room for 384 10GbE ports. 100GbE ready and also ready for SDN protocols like VXLAN (vmware) and NVGRE (windows 2012). The VDX 8770 chassi is called “Mercury” internally in Brocade. I found it very similar to the DCX chassis  except that the supervisor modules are half-height.

* Today Brocade opened up registrations for the BCEFP certification – Brocade Certified Ethernet Fabric Professional (which include the VDX8770), It looks advanced and you probably want to take the previous exam – BCEFE – before.

* SDN – storage-defined network was the main focus of the day. Fibre Channel was barely mentioned at all.
Ken Cheng‘s (one of the VPs of Brocade) definition of SDN:

“A set of technologies which are focused on achieving three objectives: network virtualization (vxlan), programmatic control (openflow) and cloud orchestration (openstack).”

It was quite obvious that Brocade’s VCS is the technique/medium which they intend to enable these new technologies. SDN is still quite immature (even though internet2 are already using it in their production network) – so be prepared to wait if you want ready solutions.

* VCS seems quite similar to QLogic’s/Juniper’s QFabric. They had a hands-on lab where we could connect four smaller vdx switches and a vdx8770 (4-slot version). The switches had only had a unique ID set on them and their were end-devices (web-servers, web cams and a tablet) on different IP subnets on each switch. All I needed to do to connect switches (and devices) was to connect two switches via a fibre pair. Quite easy. Almost too easy to be true. This is something I really enjoy that’s part of Fibre Channel. The technology has quite a few features, self-forming trunks being one of them (with frames being striped over all members of a trunk). It also gets rid of spanning tree (so no more unused links).

* Quite soon we should see Brocade’s OEMs release embedded VDX switches for their blade chassis. No news yet about which but lately IBM have been quick to release new Brocade products. As a side note: Brocade from start only sold their gear through OEMs, this is no longer always the case and they are trying to communicate more directly with customers.

* Cost per bit was really important to push down for internet exchanges.

* It’s a lot easier to write a blog post on my wordpress blog via Chrome (on android) than via the native browser. Using my asus transformer tf101 as a note taking device for the day worked out great. Success!

5 thoughts on “Thoughts after Brocade’s Analyst and Technology Day 2012

  1. Paolo

    Hi Guldmyr,

    I started thinking about a Brocade Certification a couple of months ago. Actually I was focused on FC certifications, even an entire “track-level” like the “Data Center” one.

    After reading your post, I’m seriously considering to focus on the “Converged Networking” (FC, FCoE and Ethernet Fabric).

    Do you think having only FC skills will be still valuable in the near future?

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. guldmyr Post author

      Hi Paolo!

      I think if you want to go for the Data Center Track you can get it and have one or two of the Ethernet/FCoE certifications.
      You have the two electives on the elite level. Brocade Certified FCoE Professional or Brocade Certified Network Engineer.

      But I think a lot of certifications are common between the two tracks, so you don’t have to decide to do only one of them. You could for example start with the ones that are available on both.

      Reply

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