For those of you who joined us for the exciting DemoFriday™ with Brocade, we thank you and hope you found it useful. For our readers who missed a great demonstration of how SDN can be deployed safely and effectively in existing networks with hybrid mode, feel free to visit our archives.
And for the attendees who are looking for the Q&A from the webminar, here they are.
Brocade MLXe Questions and Answers:
A: Brocade’s implementation of the OpenFlow feature is standards-based as defined by the ONF specification OpenFlow 1.0. Brocade is the only vendor with hybrid port mode, but all OpenFlow actions will follow those specifications.
Q: What controllers does Brocade support?
A: Because the Brocade MLX supports the OpenFlow 1.0 specifications set by the ONF, it is interoperable with any controller, proprietary or open source, which supports the same specifications. For example, we have participated in interoperability plugfests with NEC, BigSwitch, Indiana Univ’s NOX, NTT Data, and FlowVisor controllers. Also, Brocade is a platinum member of the OpenDaylight Project and Brocade’s David Meyer is the chairman of the Technical Steering Committee. Brocade will work with OpenDaylight to create a common and open SDN controller.
Q: What happens to a packet sent to the hybrid port and there are no actions specified by OpenFlow?
A: When a packet arrives at the hybrid port, it looks for a matching openflow rule in the flow table. If there is an openflow rule match, the actions specified in the flow are executed. If the packet does not match any flow, the packet is subject to normal forwarding, if configured.
Q: What Brocade customers are deploying OpenFlow today?
A: As mentioned in the presentation we have publicly announced that Internet2 is currently deploying OpenFlow in Hybrid Port Mode. See the press release here. The research and education community continues to show a great amount of interest in OpenFlow, however, we are seeing interest across multiple market segments.
Q: Do I need to protect any VLANs when running OpenFlow and traditional traffic on the same port?
A: No. This is an optional feature. Whether you want to run the Layer3 traffic on protected VLANs or not is your choice. By protecting a VLAN, Layer3 traffic on that protected VLAN will not be subject to any OpenFlow rules. If you want OpenFlow to be able to touch the Layer 3 traffic than you don’t need protected VLAN.
Q: While running OpenFlow, can I manage the router in-line?
A: Yes, the management will be routed normally.
Q: Do you have any Top-Of-Rack switches that support OpenFlow ?
A: Today, Brocade supports OpenFlow on its NetIron family of high-end routers and switches, which includes the MLX Series routers, the CER Series routers, and the CES Series switches. The MLX is a modular platform in four different chassis size. The CER and CES are fixed form factor 1 RU systems.
Q: What is the maximum OpenFlow entries the MLX supports?
A: Today, the MLX supports up to 4000 flows. In future releases of the software Brocade will increase this number to support a greater number of flows.
Q: Does Brocade implement OpenFlow control plane protections, or publish best practices, that increase network robustness? In particular, I’m wondering about the ability of the controller to accidentally cut itself off from the switches it controls.
A: Brocade supports the necessary encryption as specified in the OpenFlow 1.0 standard. Brocade implements fail-safe mode. This means that if the connection is lost between the controller and switch, the switch will continue to forward flows according to the flow table. The flows in the switch are not removed by the switch when the connection to the controller is lost. When the controller connection is recovered, the controller can poll the flows from the switch and sync up its database. The recovered controller can continuously manage the switch.
Q: Are later versions of the OpenFlow standard on Brocade’s roadmap? If so, which versions, and when can we look forward to seeing them in a release?
A: Brocade plans to support OpenFlow v1.3 in a future release of the NetIron software.
Q: You mentioned that the OpenFlow function can operate at the line speed, e.g. 100Gbps. How could the flow matching process take place so quickly? Are you using some special matching technique?
A: The data plane and control plane of MLXe are separated. The matching and actions of flows are installed in the hardware on the data plane. The data plane can supports line-rate speed forwarding from 1 Gbps to 100 Gbps. MLXe supports OpenFlow forwarding fully in hardware.
Q: How does Vyatta products complement/integrate with Brocade’s SDN strategy?
A: Vyatta directly complements and is an integral part of the Brocade SDN strategy. Brocade Vyatta vRouter provides an entry point to SDN through the ability to programmatically add, change, or move your network. The vRouter, virtual firewalls and VPNs enable you to connect the SDN “islands” to each other, as well as the broader infrastructure. To learn more about Vyatta, please click here.
Be sure to catch our upcoming events and more DemoFridays™ to stay current on what the hottest companies are doing in the SDN space.