Brocade Grows HyperEdge Network Architecture

Modern networks typically involve multiple layers of control that can make them difficult to manage. In an attempt to build an “effortless network,” Brocade introduced its HyperEdge network architecture in 2012 and is now expanding on the effort. HyperEdge leverages Brocade’s hardware and software to enable a more centralized point of control for the network.

To start, there is a new firmware upgrade for Brocade’s switching portfolio with the FastIron 8.00.0 operating system update, as Siva Valliappan, senior director of product management at Brocade, told Enterprise Networking Planet. This update provides an enhanced Distributed Services capability to Brocade ICX campus switches.  

When HyperEdge was first announced in 2012, Brocade detailed a mix-and-match approach that would enable entry-level switches to benefit from the features in premium switches in the same HyperEdge domain.

This mix-and-match approach is what Brocade now calls Distributed Services, according to Mary Lenehan, senior manager of product marketing at Brocade. Lenehan explained, “A lot of people can do mix-and-match, but when they do that they might not mix the rich services, so the robustness was hidden in the name, so Distributed Services is the new name.”


Brocade is also expanding HyperEdge with a trio of new WLAN access points. The Brocade Mobility 1220 and 1240 are new 802.11n access points delivering up to 450 Mbps of throughput. At the top end of the portfolio is the Brocade Mobility 1250 Access Point, equipped with support for the new 802.11ac wireless standard. 802.11ac offers the promise of 1 Gbps of wireless throughput.

In support of the new access points, Brocade also offers the new RFS9510 controller, which will support as many as 10,240 access points.


With the initial HyperEdge announcement in 2012, Brocade released the ICX 6430 and 6450 switches, both ICX 6550with up to 48 ports of 1 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE). Brocade is now expanding the ICX switch portfolio with the new ICX 6650.

Valliappan noted that the ICX 6650 provides higher density and performance than the TurboIron24, which was previously used for top-of-rack deployments and end-of-aisle deployments in the non-fabric data center. The ICX 6650 can support up to 64 ports of 10 GbE and four 40 GbE ports in one rack unit.

“The ICX 6650 is now the high-end, high-density platform, while the TurboIron24 fleshes out the portfolio as a mid-tier offering,” Valliappan said.  


The emerging demand for software-defined networking (SDN) is one that Brocade’s HyperEdge architecture plays into as well. The basic idea behind HyperEdge is to reduce the number of touch points that need to be managed.

“Combining SDN with HyperEdge allows Brocade to simplify the rollout and deployment of SDN,” Valliappan said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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