Brocade Unifies Physical and Virtual Networking


A big part of the problem with networking in the data center today is that there is not much visibility above and below the hypervisor. That results in a lot of sub-optimal performance decisions in terms of how networking resources get allocated across the data center.

Brocade today moved to address this long-standing issue with the unveiling of an On-Demand Data Center strategy that encompasses software-defined networking technologies and implementations of the company’s router and switching technology running directly on the server.

Based on Brocade VCS Fabric technology, Kelly Herrell, vice president and general manager of the Brocade software business unit, says the idea is to make it simpler for certain elements of the virtual networking environment to be given priority access to networking resources on demand. By deploying Brocade’s Vyatta vRouter and Brocade Virtual ADX Application Delivery Switch on the server, Herrell says the relationship between the server and Brocade’s physical networking switches is now much tighter.


The Brocade strategy makes use of OpenStack technologies to manage the whole environment and a software-defined networking controller that is based on the open source Project Open Daylight SDN technology that was unveiled earlier this month by The Linux Foundation.

As virtualization has evolved in the data center, Herrell says that networking technologies as a whole have not kept pace. This latest instance of the Brocade VCS Fabric technology is an effort to address that issue by making it a lot easier to assign both physical and virtual networking resources to any given application workload assigned to a specific group of virtual machines.

It’s unclear going forward to what degree the management of networks, servers and storage will unify in the data center. But it is clear that the level of collaboration needed to manage all the application workloads running on top of those resources will need to increase substantially. This accounts for why there is so much jockeying for position these days in the race to dominate the next generation of enterprise networking.