Brocade executives have been alluding to a new router in the company’s past couple of earnings calls, and today they finally unveiled it: The Brocade SLX 9850 data center router with its accompanying SLX operating system.
The new SLX family follows up Brocade’s MLX router line but is designed for 10-, 40-, and 100-Gb/s data center use cases.
“The maximum scale of this is about eight times our existing platform,” says Daniel Williams, director of data center routing and analytics at Brocade. “Yes, there’s new hardware that allows us to scale cost effectively, but the real key is how we’ve married hardware with software.”
There are two key advances with the new SLX routers: an embedded visibility function and workflow automation.
The SLX provides an open kernel-based virtual machine (KVM) environment that customers can use to extract data — whether state data from devices or visibility into specific flows or applications. And the routers can run third-party and customer-specific monitoring and analytics applications. They also allow applications running in the KVM environment to extract data via an internal, isolated link, without disrupting forwarding or control plane traffic.
The SLX 9850 also takes advantage of Brocade’s recently announced Workflow Composer, which does workflow automation in data center networks.
Brocade has three main business units:
- Fibre Channel/Storage Area Networking (its core business)
- IP Networking – software-defined networking (SDN)/ network functions virtualization (NFV) (derived largely from its acquisition of Foundry Networks in 2008). This is the business unit related to today’s SLX router news.
- Mobility Networking (derived largely from its recent acquisition of Ruckus Wireless).
In its third quarter 2016 earnings, the company reported its SAN product revenues were down 9 percent year-over-year and 5 percent sequentially. The company blamed the SAN declines on a longer time-to-closure for many large deals and the weaker storage demand environment.