Brocade Advances Router for DevOps World

Brocade is updating its router portfolio with the new SLX 9850, providing organizations with embedded network visibility capabilities as well as a new DevOps workflow model.

The SLX 9850 is initially available in two models: the 10 RU (rack unit), 4-slot SLX 9850-4 and the 17 RU, 8-slot 9850-8.

The larger SLX 9850-8 can handle up to 288 ports of 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE), or a staggering 1,920 ports of 10 Gigabit Ethernet. The SLX 9850-4 can support up to a maximum of 144 ports of 100 GbE or 960 ports of 10 GbE. The SLX-9850-8 switch fabric has a capacity of up to 230 Tbps, while the SLX9850-4 switching fabric capacity scales up to 115 Tbps.

While ports and switching capacity are valuable metrics, that’s not where the real value of the SLX 9850 rests. Brocade is embedding an SLX Insight Architecture into the new routers that the company claims will provide a more pervasive level of network visibility.

A core element of the SLX Insight Architecture is the open-source KVM hypervisor, which runs on the router. KVM is a virtualization technology that is directly integrated with the Linux operating system. The promise of having KVM is that third-party applications for specific monitoring, analytics and even troubleshooting can now run directly on the router.

The idea of being able to run applications on top of a router is not a new one. Back in 2008, Cisco introduced a technology called the Cisco Application eXtension Platform (AXP) that enabled Linux applications to run on top of the the Cisco Integrated Services Router (ISR).

Going a step further, the SLX 9850 benefits from Brocade’s Workflow Composer platform that aims to enable a DevOps approach to network automation. The Workflow Composer platform was first announced in May and is built on top of the open source StackStorm project. Brocade acquired StackStorm Inc. in March. Workflow Composer is based on StackStorm technology, with additional workflows for automating the entire network lifecycle, including provisioning, validation, troubleshooting, and remediation.

“Customers tell us that they need networking solutions that not only address their immediate requirements, but that will sustain the next several generations of port speeds and densities, while delivering advanced capabilities to help deeply analyze network traffic as well as automate network operations,” Jason Nolet, Brocade senior vice president of the Switching, Routing and Analytics Products Group, said in a statement. “The Brocade SLX 9850 routing solution was designed to address these needs.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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