Increase Scalability and Performance with Flex System and Brocade VCS

GUEST BLOG BY KEVIN BOSSMAN

Interested in a self-forming and self-healing Ethernet network? It’s available today from Lenovo. Flex System offers high-performance Ethernet and converged networking switches and adapters that can fit into your existing network and future IT environment. These highly flexible products coupled with on-demand scalability offer an easy way to scale as your IT requirements grow. The portfolio includes switches and adapters from Brocade, QLogic, Emulex, Broadcom, Mellanox and Lenovo. Lenovo offers an array of networking communication technologies including Ethernet, Ethernet Fabrics, Fiber Channel (FC) and InfiniBand.

Compared to classic hierarchical Ethernet architectures, Ethernet Fabrics provide higher levels of performance, efficiency, availability and operational simplicity to meet the business needs of virtualized data centers today and into the future. Virtual Cluster Switching (VCS) Fabric from Brocade helps organizations create efficient data center networks that just work. When compared to traditional network architecture technologies, fabrics built on Brocade VCS technology provide unmatched network automation, with 100 percent link utilization, “no-touch” trunking configuration and VM discovery. In addition, VCS fabrics increase flexibility and IT agility, enabling organizations to transition smoothly to elastic, mission-critical networks in highly virtualized cloud data centers.

Brocade VCS fabric automation and zero-touch virtualization support ensure that the network is automatically aware of all devices (servers, switches, appliances) within its virtualized server domain and provide a very simple, non-decriptive network scalability as organizations add and remove switches and servers, both physical and virtual, to the fabric without any manual configuration or network administration involvement. Another benefit of the Brocade VCS fabrics is a feature called Logical Chassis that logically centralizes the VCS network management where all the switches within the fabric appear as a single “logical” switch to the administration and to the rest of the network devices. Logical Chassis significantly reduces complexity in the management layer, which in turn simplifies on-going maintenance and troubleshooting.

An example of how Brocade VCS fabrics are self-forming, self-healing, and highly resilient is the “zero-touch” creation of inter-switch link (ISL) trunking in the fabric, which provides multiple active-active connections within the network and eliminates the need for the less-efficient Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) links. Simply connect two or more links between switches in the fabric and ISL trunk groups are automatically formed without any manual configuration. This auto-trunking capability doubles the utilization of the entire network while improving resilience. The Brocade ISL Trunks also provide rapid link failover and fabric re-convergence, allowing additional trunk links to be added or modified quickly and non-disruptively providing elastic bandwidth growth without requiring downtime or service window.

Here's an example of how VCS fabrics are built for virtualization. When new VMs are created, the fabric automatically discovers the VM and propagates its networking requirements, such as QoS policies, to all switches in the fabric. Then, when the VM moves, there is no network reconfiguration required. Adding new switches is also simple requiring as few as three configuration commands, connecting the switch to the fabric and the switch automatically learns the rest of what it needs to know from the fabric and from the VM management software. All these features result in customers deploying network capacity up to five times faster with VCS Fabrics than their legacy LAN architectures or even competing Ethernet fabric technologies.

Finally, VCS fabrics can be easily introduced into their existing LAN and SAN environments, connecting to customer’s existing networks with standard Ethernet protocols and therefore protecting those investments. No forklift upgrades are required. Additionally, with the VCS Fabric Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and Flex port capabilities, customers can converge the adapters within their server, connect the VCS fabric and then split-out storage traffic to the FC SAN at 4, 8 or 16Gbps, and the non-storage traffic to the Ethernet network at 1 or 10Gbps. This converged design reduces the number of adapters in the servers and simplifies cabling in the rack.

The Brocade VDX family of switches span from embedded to top-of-rack (ToR) switches to the larger Modular Chassis Platform, providing customers VCS fabrics from 24 to over 8400+ ports in a linear, scalable way. The hardware is designed with elastic network changes in mind for rapid scalability, and with flexibility to seamlessly connect existing network while preparing them to respond to fast-changing business needs.

 

 

Flex System EN4023 10Gb Scalable Switch

We will be running a promotion on the Flex System EN4023 10Gb Scalable Switch starting March 1. When you purchase the EN4023, you get the FCOE/FC Flexport License at a significant discount. The price will be set according to your geography, but the cost should be minimal.

Highlights:

  • Savings of up to $8,500-$16,000
  • Industry-first FCOE/16Gb FC (Gen5) Switch Module
  • 21-34 percent lower cost than HP, Dell and Cisco 10GbE/8Gb FCOE modules 

Why should you choose the Flex System EN4023 10Gb Scalable Switch?

  • Industry’s lowest-cost FCOE solution
  • Ideal for connecting to Brocade SAN 
  • Provides superior performance and investment protection

For more information, contact Kevin Bossman (Kbossman@lenovo.com)