Brocade Rolls Out Automated Versions of SLX Switches

By embedding network visibility on every router and switch, enterprises can achieve pervasive visibility throughout the network to catch problems before they get big.

Networking software and hardware provider Brocade has unveiled an expanded SLX lineup of switches, which the company claims to have improved network visibility to go with the addition of new automation functionality.

Brocade contends that this is the industry's first data center networking portfolio to deliver agility at all layers of the data center stack, while being open-standards enough to provide customers with choice in terms of some components.

Building on the Brocade SLX 9850 routing solution that the company introduced in September, the new Brocade SLX 9140, SLX 9240 and SLX 9540 data center switches offer flexible leaf, spine and edge connectivity while using the Brocade SLX Insight Architecture.

Pervasive Visibility into Networks

By embedding network visibility on every router and switch, enterprises can achieve pervasive visibility throughout the network to quickly identify problems, accelerate mean-time-to-remediation and improve overall service levels. The Brocade SLX 9140 and 9240 extend these capabilities with a programmable ASIC that provides Visibility Services from the physical wire to virtual networks and workloads, the company said.

New automation suites, including Network Essentials, Data Center Fabrics and Internet Exchange Points for the Brocade Workflow Composer platform, powered by StackStorm, provide automated network provisioning, validation, troubleshooting and remediation workflows. These automation suites are ideal for customers who want to jumpstart their automation journey with pre-built workflows to accelerate time-to-value.

Introduced earlier this year, Brocade Workflow Composer is a server-based, DevOps-style network automation platform that integrates across IT domains for end-to-end workflow automation.

Brocade SLX Advancements
--The new Brocade SLX 9140 leaf switch provides native 48x25 GbE server-facing ports and 6x100 GbE ports in a 1U fixed form factor. It also features flexible 1/10/25/40/100 GbE configuration options.

--The new Brocade SLX 9240 spine switch delivers high density 32x100 GbE ports in a 1U fixed form factor.

--Both the Brocade SLX 9140 and SLX 9240 switches feature the first programmable ASIC in their class of switch enabling Brocade to rapidly deliver new capabilities via software. This eliminates expensive forklift upgrades for customers when new technologies and protocols are introduced into the environment.

The ASIC builds on the Brocade SLX Insight Architecture, an open kernel-based virtual machine (KVM) environment to run third-party and customer-specific monitoring, troubleshooting and analytics applications, by adding Visibility Services to provide insight into virtual networks and workloads. Actions can be taken within the switch or through applications and tools outside of the switch, such as Splunk or Brocade Workflow Composer.

--The Brocade SLX 9540 switch delivers carrier-class features in a cost-effective 1 RU fixed form factor optimized for data center interconnect, WAN edge and Internet exchange point deployments. It offers 48x10 GbE ports and 6x100 GbE ports.

Brocade Workflow Composer Automation Suites

Designed to run with the Brocade Workflow Composer platform, Brocade automation suites are aimed at IT groups seeking to embrace automation, but have limited automation development skills and resources.

The suites provide out-of-box network lifecycle automation for commonly performed tasks and are packaged to address major use cases. Each automation suite includes documentation and a collection of turnkey, yet customizable, workflows, services, sensors, actions and rules.

Users can deploy Brocade automation suites as is or as starter kits for building or customizing workflows specific to their data center requirements to reduce time-to-value.

Availability

The Brocade SLX 9140 and SLX 9240 will be orderable in January 2017; the Brocade SLX 9540 is orderable as of Dec. 8. All switches are planned to be generally available in April 2017. Brocade Workflow Composer is available today. The new automation suites will be available for preview this month with availability planned for February 2017.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...