Brocade seeks SDN edge with early OpenFlow 1.3 support

Brocade this week announced broad support for OpenFlow 1.3 across its IP product line to extend SDNs beyond research and academia and into commercial and enterprise networks.

Version 1.3 extends the OpenFlow software-defined networking (SDN) protocol by including capabilities finely tuned for commercial and enterprise networks, such as quality-of-service, Q-in-Q VLAN tunneling, group tables, active-standby controller, and IPv6. Brocade is a staunch advocate of OpenFlow and an aggressive proponent of SDNs, having shipped more than 1 million OpenFlow-enabled ports on its MLXe router, and Carrier Ethernet routers and switches.

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Brocade has also been streamlining operations to focus on SDNs and hiring SDN experts from its rivals and competitors. And a number of other vendors are expected to roll out OpenFlow 1.3-based products at the Open Networking Summit conference this week.

Brocade is now extending OpenFlow SDN support specifically, OpenFlow 1.3 to its ICX and VDX enterprise and data center switches. Customers of these switches will be able to also employ Brocade-developed SDN applications such as flow-aware real-time SDN analytics, real-time threat mitigation and service chaining in their OpenFlow environments, the company says.

At ONS this week, Brocade will be demonstrating the analytics application, which is designed to optimize network bandwidth utilization and can be used to detect behavioral security threats such as DDoS attacks. This demo includes Brocade's MLXe routers in an OpenDaylight Project SDN framework, and exhibits automatic detection and rate-limiting of aggregate large flows such as SYN flood attacks, Brocade says.

Brocade is a member and contributor to OpenDaylight, a vendor-driven effort to develop an open source SDN controller and framework.

Another Brocade demonstration at ONS is OpenFlow 1.3 enabling a software-defined campus network and how it supports requirements such as BYOD. This demo includes MLXe routers and Brocade ICX switches using SDN for dynamic traffic isolation, load balancing and QoS.

A third ONS demo involves an on-demand data center with OpenFlow on Brocade VDX switches for network provisioning based on real-time network utilization and application needs.

For MLXe customers, Brocade also unveiled two new hardware modules intended to scale SDN infrastructures based on the router. The Brocade MLXe 2-port 100G Ethernet CFP2 and the MLXe 20-port 10G Ethernet modules are based on Brocade's VersaScale packet processing ASIC with integrated OpenFlow support and upgradeability to future SDN capabilities, the company says.

Support for OpenFlow 1.3 on the Brocade MLXe and Carrier Ethernet product families is planned for June. The Brocade ICX and VDX products are currently OpenFlow-enabled in hardware and are targeted for OpenFlow 1.3 software support in the second half of the year. The software is free for existing customers.

Brocade did not provide pricing for the new MLXe modules.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 27 years, 22 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.

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Tags Configuration / maintenanceSDNhardware systemsData CenterLAN & WAN

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