brocade fabric os product line guide

Fibre Channel Solutions
Leading-Edge Solutions for
Next-Generation Data Centers
As a leading provider of data center
networking solutions, Brocade® helps
organizations around the world connect,
share, and manage their information in the
most efficient manner. Organizations that use
Brocade products and services are better
able to optimize their IT infrastructures for a
clear competitive advantage.
This guide summarizes the Brocade
Fabric OS® (FOS) product family and the
innovative features that make Brocade
the leading choice in cost, quality, and
performance. It includes:
• Brocade Fabric OS Product Family Overview
• Brocade Core Technology Overview
• Brocade Data Center Fabric Technology
• Additional Brocade Resources
The integration of innovative core Fabric
OS technology and data center fabric
technology uniquely enables Brocade
products to provide the building blocks
that solve today’s challenges and act as
a strategic foundation for next-generation
data centers (see Figure 1).
The Brocade Fabric OS family includes a
wide range of industry-leading products,
• Backbones: Brocade DCX® Backbones
are 8 Gbit/sec network switching
platforms that combine breakthrough
performance, scalability, and energy
efficiency with long-term investment
protection. Designed for the core of large
and midsize data center networks,
Brocade backbones address the data
growth and application needs of the most
demanding enterprise environments. In
addition, they enable server, SAN, and
data center consolidation as well as more
scalable virtualization. Moreover, they help
reduce infrastructure and administrative
costs. Advanced capabilities include
fabric-based encryption of data-at-rest,
integrated Fibre Channel routing, Adaptive
Networking, and Virtual Fabrics. The
multiprotocol architecture is also built for
emerging 10 Gbit/sec Converged Enhanced
Ethernet (CEE) and Fibre Channel over
Ethernet (FCoE) technologies.
• Directors: The industry-leading Brocade
48000 Director provides a high-density
8 Gbit/sec network switching platform
designed for the core of midsize
enterprise SANs or the edge of large
data center networks. Supporting Fibre
Channel and FICON® environments,
the Brocade 48000 delivers high
performance, scalability, reliability,
and energy efficiency, with flexible
blade options to provide fabric-based
applications, SAN extension over IP, Fibre
Channel routing, server connections via
iSCSI, and 10 Gbit/sec connectivity over
dark fiber.
• Switches: Brocade Fibre Channel
fixed-port switches are ideal for first-time
SAN environments as well as for the edge
of large enterprise data center fabrics.
Available in 8- to 80-port configurations
with flexible Ports on Demand capabilities,
Brocade switches provide 4 and 8 Gbit/sec
performance, high port density in 1U
or 2U form factors, and unmatched
energy efficiency.
• Embedded switches: Brocade embedded
switches are designed to meet the unique
and demanding requirements of the
blade server market. These products can
operate in Brocade Access Gateway
mode, increasing scalability and
simplifying management since the
embedded switch does not appear as a
traditional fabric switch.
• CEE/FCoE solutions: Brocade CEE
and FCoE solutions enable server I/O
consolidation by utilizing Converged
Network Adapters (CNAs). Combining
Fibre Channel and IP traffic over the
Figure 1.
Brocade product and
technology overview.
Brocade Data Center
Fabric Technology
Brocade Core Technology
Uncompromised Bandwidth
Adaptive Networking Services
Unmatched Scalability
Advanced Fabric Services
Resource Utilization
Green Initiatives
Performance Monitoring
Low Total Cost of Ownership
Simplified Management
Product Families
Data Center Fabric Technology
Core Technology
Multiprotocol Fabrics
WAN and MAN Extension
Native Connectivity
Server Virtualization
FICON Connectivity
Fabric Virtualization
Blade Server Switching
Storage Virtualization
Congestion Avoidance
Access Control
Application Services
same physical connection reduces
cable clutter, cooling expenses, and
power consumption. The new Brocade
8000 Switch includes both CEE and
Fibre Channel ports in a compact 1U
form factor, providing top-of-rack server
connectivity into both data center LANs
and SANs.
• Encryption solutions: Brocade fabricbased encryption solutions enable the broad
application of data-at-rest encryption to
help protect information assets and ensure
data confidentiality. Brocade provides
unmatched performance and value with
96 Gbit/sec of encryption processing
power, seamless installation, and support
for leading key management systems.
• Extension solutions: For more than 20
years, Brocade has been delivering robust
extension and routing products, including
those that support ESCON, FICON, and
Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP). These products
are available in chassis, rack-mount, and
blade form factors (which can reside in
the Brocade DCX Backbone family and
Brocade 48000 Director).
• Fabric-based applications: Designed to
deliver intelligence in SANs, the Brocade
Application Platform provides a high-speed,
highly reliable device for performing
fabric-based services such as online data
migration, continuous data protection,
and storage virtualization throughout
heterogeneous data center environments.
All Brocade products are based on a foundation
of innovative, industry-leading core technologies
that help improve performance, efficiency,
RAS, and optimization at an affordable cost.
Brocade created the first Fibre Channel
switching products, and continues to lead
the development of Fibre Channel
standards with breakthrough products.
Data center fabrics have the most stringent
performance requirements of any network
technology. They must have low latency and
guaranteed delivery while accommodating
bursts in application data flows without
disrupting applications—the capabilities
provided by the Fabric OS family of products.
Switching products must have enough
bandwidth to avoid congestion for all data
traffic. Brocade provides a wide range of
price/performance options so organizations
can choose the right solutions for their
unique business requirements. Brocade
backbone and director products provide both
core switch engines and port switch engines,
or local switching. This capability boosts
performance for high-bandwidth applications.
Because fabric traffic increases as storage
and server connections grow, a fabric
must provide excellent scalability. In turn,
switching bandwidth must be large enough
to meet the combined requirements of
thousands of applications simultaneously.
Table 1 shows key scalability metrics for the
Brocade switching product categories.
Data center efficiency has become essential
for organizations that must manage data
growth within their existing power, cooling,
and floor space constraints. Brocade is at the
forefront of innovative data center efficiency,
driving energy use down to 0.41 watts per
Gbit/sec for Brocade backbone products
and as low as 0.28 watts per Gbit/sec for
Brocade switch products.
Green Initiatives
Green technology must be deeply integrated
into product design. Today, Brocade products
have the industry’s best power-to-bandwidth
ratios, the highest port density to minimize
floor space consumption (as high as 40 ports
per rack unit), and the smallest carbon
footprint (as low as 4.2 metric tons per year).
Maintaining high fabric resource utilization
is paramount to implementing green
technology initiatives and achieving a low
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). The following
features help increase resource utilization:
• Frame-based trunking: Data flows
are automatically distributed over
multiple physical Inter-Switch Link (ISL)
connections and logically combined into a
trunk to provide full bandwidth utilization
while reducing congestion.
• Exchange-based trunking with Dynamic
Path Selection (DPS): For long-distance
links between data centers over xWDM or
WANs, exchange-based trunking provides
high utilization to accommodate the
larger latencies common over MAN and
WAN distances.
(Gbit/sec, data rate)
Slot Bandwidth
(Gbit/sec, data rate)
Port Speeds
Up to 3072
1, 2, 4, 8, 10
16 to 384
Up to 3072
1, 2, 4, 8, 10
16 to 384
Up to 640
1, 2, 4, 8
8 to 80
Up to 192
1, 2, 4, 8
12 to 24
Table 1.
Brocade switching
product scalability.
• Connection-based load balancing with
Dynamic Link Selection (DLS): This
feature monitors link or trunk utilization
to ensure load balancing. DLS can
be used with either frame-based or
exchange-based trunking when multiple
trunks or ISLs are available between
two switches.
• Fibre Channel Routing Inter-Fabric Links
(IFLs): Fibre Channel Routing ensures
the highest utilization of IFLs, which
route traffic between fabrics. IFL trunking
logically groups multiple links into a single
high-bandwidth trunk to ensure efficient
bandwidth utilization between individual
fabrics and Fibre Channel routers.
Reliability, Availability, and
Serviceability (RAS)
RAS describes several features of a
product’s design that affect its reliability
(failure incidence), availability (uptime), and
serviceability (ease of fault isolation and
service). Key features include:
• Hot-code load/activation: This ensures
that firmware updates applied to fabric
devices do not disrupt data flowing
between applications and storage.
• Auto daemon restart: The embedded
operating system used in Brocade
products is strengthened with automated
task restart features for increased
reliability and availability.
• Port fencing: This feature tracks
errors and events on a port against a
specified threshold. When the threshold
is exceeded, the port is turned off to
prevent it from endangering other traffic
in the fabric.
• Port mirroring: This feature copies
(mirrors) frames as they flow through
specified ports. The copies are sent
(without fabric disruption) to a dedicated
port attached to a protocol analyzer.
• FCping/FC trace route: These tracking
features confirm that ports and paths are
operational, and that latencies between
ports are within expected limits.
• BB_Credit recovery: Under some
conditions (such as long-distance links
over xWDM and WAN connections), flow
control BB_Credits can be lost. This
feature enables extended distance ports
to recover lost BB_Credits.
• Call home: This feature automatically
notifies a central monitoring center about
critical changes in product operations and
can send notification alerts.
• RAS event logging with NTP server:
Messages about events that impact RAS
can be forwarded to a central collection
point with synchronized time stamps
provided by a central Network Time
Protocol (NTP) server.
• Brocade Fabric Watch: This utility
tracks critical fabric events and provides
automatic notification when event
counters exceed defined thresholds.
• Change auditing: This feature logs
all changes in the fabric to improve
management control.
Optimization stems from the tight integration
between hardware (the ASIC) and firmware
(Fabric OS). Moreover, management
optimization simplifies configuration,
monitoring, and administration to reduce TCO.
Advanced Performance Monitoring
This licensed set of features provides
monitoring services and tools that
enhance bandwidth utilization and product
performance. Key features include:
• Top Talker reports: Leverage Brocade
Adaptive Networking fabric dynamic
profiles to rank bandwidth utilization by
source and destination IDs.
• Trunking performance: Monitors trunks
for bandwidth utilization and queue latency.
• Frame filtering-SCSI payload:
Monitors the first 64 bytes of a frame,
providing deeper analysis of potential
causes of congestion.
• CRC error statistics: Identifies Cyclic
Redundancy Check (CRC) errors, which
indicate corrupt payloads that can
cause subsequent congestion as
exchanges are resent.
Fabric configuration and management can
become increasingly time-consuming and
complex as fabric size grows. To address
these challenges, Brocade offers the
following features:
• Insistent Domain ID: Ensures that switch
addresses are reserved and not changed
when switches are added or removed
from a fabric.
• Registered State Change Notification
(RSCN) suppression: Ensures that
RSCN messages are sent only to devices
requiring notification of a fabric event,
reducing bandwidth and processor
cycle consumption.
• Port speed-weighted Fabric Shortest
Path First (FSPF): Applies a weighting
factor based on link speed to ensure
that data traffic uses higher-speed paths
between switches.
• Fabric reroute delay: Prevents frame
loss when switches are added to or
removed from the fabric, and routing
tables are updated.
• Alias server: Simplifies management by
enabling easy-to-read names for device
• Fabric Device Management Interface
(FDMI): Enables Brocade Data Center
Fabric Manager (DCFM™) to manage Host
Bus Adapter (HBA) configuration, simplifying
end-to-end fabric management.
• Network Time Protocol (NTP) support:
Synchronizes all time stamps to a central
time server for uniform event correlation,
simplifying fault isolation.
• SNMP MIBs: Supports Simple Network
Management Protocol (SNMP) v1 and v3
for fabric monitoring and management,
and Brocade also publishes a Management
Information Base (MIB) for all products.
• Brocade SMI-S Agent: Supports the
SMI-S agent standard to simplify device
• IPv6 addressing: Enables full addressing
flexibility for management traffic.
• Integrated device and fabric
management: Features an integrated
management suite—including Brocade
DCFM and the legacy Enterprise Fabric
Connectivity Manager (EFCM)—that
centralizes device management as well
as fabric configuration for the zoning
and routing of Brocade and Brocade
M-Series products.
• Simple switch configuration: Provides
the EZSwitchSetup wizard (Microsoft
Simple SAN-certified) to significantly
simplify switch configuration and setup.
• Ports On Demand (POD): Activates
specific switch ports only when growth
dictates the need for more ports.
• Dynamic POD: Enables blade server
switches to automatically use any
activated switch port rather than
specific ports, simplifying blade server
• Enhanced zoning services: Enables
zoning to configure Fibre Channel Routing
services, Traffic Isolation, Quality of
Service (QoS), broadcast zones for IPFC
traffic, and Frame Redirection.
The Brocade data center fabric technology
strategy is based on meeting real-world
requirements for next-generation data
centers. The key drivers of this strategy
include higher levels of consolidation,
continuity, virtualization, and data protection.
Data growth and relentless cost reduction
are fueling an unprecedented drive for
consolidation in the data center. To support
this need, Brocade delivers key technologies
for consolidation—including multiprotocol
support, native connectivity, FICON and
blade server connectivity, congestion
control, and innovative bandwidth
aggregation such as that used in backbone
Inter-Chassis Links (ICLs). To enable the
consolidation of server connectivity in the
data center, Brocade provides leading-edge
CEE and FCoE solutions.
Multiprotocol Support
Traditionally, Fibre Channel has been
the underlying technology in most SAN
fabrics, supporting both open systems SCSI
channels (FCP) and System z mainframe
channels (FICON). Today, however, Brocade
protocol support includes Fibre Channel
over IP (FCIP), Fibre Channel Routing,
iSCSI, and IP over Fibre Channel (IPFC) with
planned support for emerging protocols.
Native Connectivity
As Fibre Channel was implemented, vendors
optimized a portion of the protocol for
E_Ports to create Inter-Switch Links (ISLs).
These optimizations are called “fabric
modes” and all E_Ports on all switches in
a fabric operate in the same fabric mode.
Today, however, Brocade offers “native
connectivity” for fabrics with Brocade and
Brocade M-Series (McDATA) products—
including all McDATA E_Port modes as well
as Fibre Channel Routing between fabrics
running in any McDATA mode.
FICON Connectivity
Fibre Channel supports a variety of
“upper-layer protocols” such as FICON
used in IBM System z environments.
Brocade has partnered with IBM to create
high-integrity fabric characteristics for
System z environments, including:
• FICON cascading: Developed jointly by
Brocade and IBM to extend System z
environments to one-hop configurations.
FICON cascading helps increase fabric
scalability without sacrificing critical
FICON channel performance.
• FICON intermix: Brocade, in collaboration
with IBM, provides a FICON intermix
solution that combines FICON and FCP
traffic in the same fabric for greater
resource utilization.
• FICON Management Server (CUP):
Brocade was the first switch vendor
to provide FICON Management
Server—Control Unit Port (CUP)—so
mainframe-hosted tools could manage
connectivity between ports, monitor
fabric performance, and collect critical
diagnostic information.
• System z mainframe innovations:
Brocade was the first vendor to provide
FICON-capable switches, and the first
with secure fabrics utilizing the DH-CHAP
authentication protocol.
Blade Server Connectivity in
Brocade Access Gateway Mode
Blade servers are provided by most of the
leading server vendors (IBM, HP, Intel, Dell,
Fujitsu-Siemens, NEC, Hauwei, and others),
and they include embedded switches.
Because these switches have low port
counts, the number of switches (domains)
in a fabric increases quickly and can limit
fabric size. Brocade has addressed this
issue with Brocade Access Gateway mode,
which eliminates the switch address for an
embedded switch. Key features include:
• Auto port configuration: Automatically
maps server ports to Access Gateway
links connected to a fabric switch.
Organizations can add blade servers
without having to reconfigure the fabric.
• Path failover: Automatically reroutes
traffic to the remaining links if a link fails
between the Access Gateway and the
fabric switch.
• Access Gateway ISL Trunking: Provides
frame-based trunking across multiple
links for higher bandwidth utilization and
congestion avoidance.
• Multi-fabric connectivity: Increases
availability by enabling Access Gateway
links to extend to one or two fabrics. If one
fabric path becomes unavailable, multi-path
drivers in the blade server reroute
application traffic to the second fabric.
Adaptive Networking Services
Server and storage consolidation increases
fabric bandwidth requirements. And,
as virtual servers concentrate more
applications on a single server and
dynamically move virtual machines and
their applications between physical servers,
unexpected congestion can occur in the
fabric. Brocade provides the following
features to avoid fabric congestion:
Inter-Chassis Links (ICLs)
Brocade backbone products provide
dedicated, high-bandwidth ICLs that connect
two backbone switches without consuming
ports on the port cards. This enables up
to 1,000 Gbit/sec of dedicated bandwidth
between Brocade DCX Backbones, allowing
compact, high-port-count connectivity for
demanding enterprise-class environments.
• QoS: Helps ensure that high-priority
applications receive priority service if
congestion occurs.
Data centers have become strategic assets
charged with ensuring business continuity.
Consequently, fabric-assisted data
protection is an important asset in keeping
up with data growth and the financial and
regulatory penalties incurred when data is
lost or inaccessible.
• Ingress Rate Limiting: Limits the amount
of bandwidth entering the fabric from a
port so lower-priority applications cannot
cause congestion.
• Traffic Isolation: Isolates higherbandwidth traffic to dedicated links,
avoiding congestion and disruption to
other traffic flows in the fabric.
• Fabric dynamic profiles: Includes special
ASIC registers that provide detailed, dynamic
information about data flows at each switch
port to dynamically optimize performance.
WAN Congestion Control
Storage traffic increasingly moves over the
WAN as disaster recovery extends to more
data. To account for this need, Brocade
provides Ethernet and IP optimizations to
minimize the impact of WAN congestion on
extended Fibre Channel links:
• Ethernet Class of Service (CoS):
Brocade supports VLAN (802.1Q) and
CoS (802.1P), enabling FCIP tunnels
to be assigned to an Ethernet CoS.
• IP Differentiated Service Code Point
(DSCP): Fibre Channel traffic can be
tunneled over the WAN with FCIP. DSCP
provides QoS prioritization at the IP layer
for FCIP traffic, which helps manage
bandwidth according to priority, reducing
dropped frames in IP networks.
Application Services for Continuity
Brocade offers an application services
platform that facilitates data protection
applications. These services are integrated
with Brocade partner-supplied applications
for continuous data protection (synchronous
replication), continuous remote replication
(asynchronous replication), data migration,
and virtual tape libraries.
Fabric extension over MAN and WAN
distances is an essential technology for
disaster recovery infrastructures. Key
technologies include:
• FCIP: Creates an extended fabric using
IP networks to connect devices between
remote sites. FCIP Tunneling creates
a single extended fabric over an IP
WAN. Fibre Channel Routing enables
connectivity to remote fabrics without
merging the fabrics.
• Storage Optimized/TCP: Dramatically
improves TCP performance using
optimizations such as sliding window
size, fast-start, and improved response
to lost packets.
• Optimized BB_Credit allocation: Utilizes
“dynamic distance mode” to automatically
discover the optimum BB_Credit allocation
based on the link distance, avoiding
wasteful over-provisioning of BB_Credits
for extended links.
• Fast Write: Eliminates SCSI transaction
latency over long distances, significantly
increasing usable bandwidth for disaster
recovery applications.
• Tape Pipelining: Eliminates latency over
long distances for writes and reads to
increase usable bandwidth.
• FICON device support: Provides FICON
device emulation to significantly reduce
latency, extending the distance for FICON
traffic between data centers.
• xWDM: Supports FCP and FICON links
over xWDM networks at 1, 2, 4, 8, and
10 Gbit/sec link rates with ample
BB_Credit resources, so full xWDM
bandwidth is available.
Virtualization increases the utilization of
shared resources, including servers, the
SAN fabric, and storage devices. Brocade
Adaptive Networking services help ensure
the highest utilization of shared resources
by avoiding congestion and application
disruption. Key features include:
• Virtual Channels: Brocade Virtual
Channels enable traffic separation and
classification within a single physical
connection, supporting QoS so highpriority traffic continues to flow when
congestion occurs.
• NPIV (Switch and Access Gateway mode):
N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV) is used
with Access Gateway mode to multiplex
blade server connections onto a single
high-bandwidth switch port and with
virtual machines to match fabric services
to application service levels.
• Virtual fabrics: Starting with FOS 6.2,
this ANSI T11 standard feature enables
organizations to define logical switches
and fabrics that overlay the physical
switching layer. In large fabrics, this
approach provides better resource
utilization, improved fault isolation, and
distinct management domains.
• Application services for virtualization:
The Brocade application services platform
provides hardware acceleration for
storage virtualization, boosting the
performance and scalability of virtual
storage applications.
• Frame Redirection: This feature
eliminates the need to reconfigure zoning
for hosts and storage when storage
virtualization applications and fabric
encryption services are used.
Data Protection
Data protection has become a missioncritical requirement for next-generation data
centers. Brocade has more than 25 years of
data center experience, and has developed
an extensive suite of data protection
features for access control and security.
Access Control
Access controls are critical tools for data
protection, identifying who or what is
allowed to connect, communicate, and
move data. Brocade products support
user and management application access
controls, including HTTPS, Secure Shell
(SSH), Secure Socket Layer (SSL), Secure
Copy (SCP), LDAP integration with Microsoft
Active Directory, Role-Based Access Control
(RBAC), password policies, RADIUS,
IP filters, and Passive FTP.
Additional innovative fabric and device
access controls include:
• Switch Connection Control (SCC)
policies: Restrict which switches can
connect in a fabric using an Access
Control List (ACL). SCC policies can be
centrally managed and pushed to the
entire fabric.
• Device Connection Control (DCC)
policies: Restrict which devices (servers,
storage, tape) can connect to which
switch ports. DCC policies can be
centrally managed and pushed to the
entire fabric.
• Password control database: Contains
user accounts, roles, and account
passwords, and is distributed to all
switches in a fabric to ensure a uniform
access control policy.
• Zoning: Identifies which devices (servers,
storage, tape) are allowed to connect to
each other and exchange data.
Security entails authentication and
encryption to restrict access and
protect data from unauthorized access.
Brocade products support a wide range
of authentication, encryption, and
management tools to protect fabrics and
data from unauthorized access.
• Authentication: Authentication protocol
support includes CHAP, DH-CHAP, Internet
Key Encryption (IKE), IPsec, RADIUS, and
on extension products and management
connections. Brocade also supports AES
and 3-DES with IPsec. With the release of
the Brocade Encryption Switch and
Brocade FS8-18 Encryption Blade, Brocade
offers AES-256 in-fabric encryption for
data-at-rest. These solutions provide
high-performance encryption and
compression, and are integrated with key
management systems from leading
suppliers such as NetApp and RSA.
• Fabric Configuration Server (FCS): All
security policies are stored and accessed
from the FCS (a designated switch), which
simplifies management of all security
policies and unifies the application of
policies across the fabric.
A wide variety of Brocade product data
sheets, white papers, and technical briefs
that describe key technologies and solutions
are available online. In addition, Brocade
provides classroom, self-paced, and virtual
classroom training materials. Self-paced
materials are also available online to
provide just-in-time training. To learn more,
refer to the following resources:
• Product data sheets:
• White papers and technology briefs:
• Brocade training courses:
• Encryption (AES/3-DES): Brocade
provides AES-128 and AES-256 encryption
and 168-bit 3-DES encryption for IP links
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© 2009 Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 03/09 GA-BR-998-02
Brocade, the B-wing symbol, BigIron, DCX, Fabric OS, FastIron, IronPoint, IronShield, IronView, IronWare, JetCore, NetIron,
SecureIron, ServerIron, StorageX, and TurboIron are registered trademarks, and DCFM, Extraordinary Networks, and
SAN Health are trademarks of Brocade Communications Systems, Inc., in the United States and/or in other countries.
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Notice: This document is for informational purposes only and does not set forth any warranty, expressed or implied,
concerning any equipment, equipment feature, or service offered or to be offered by Brocade. Brocade reserves the
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