Brocade announces OpenFlow 1.3 support across IP routing and switching portfolio

Brocade has announced support for OpenFlow 1.3 across its IP portfolio of routing and switching products, part of the company’s approach to Software-Defined Networking (SDN).

A key component of the company’s SDN strategy, the expansion of OpenFlow support from the Brocade MLXe and CER/CES product families to the Brocade ICX and VDX switch families enables customers to achieve new agility and programmability across the network — from the data center to the campus to the wide area network (WAN).

While earlier versions of OpenFlow are widely deployed among Research and Education Networks (RENs) and other early adopters, OpenFlow 1.3 delivers a richer feature set required for commercial and enterprise networks to address complex network behavior and optimize performance for dynamic SDN applications. These features include Quality of Service (QoS), Q-in-Q, Group Tables, Active-Standby Controller, IPv6 and more.

“OpenFlow 1.3 is a milestone release that delivers some of the core functionality today’s networking environments demand,” said Brad Casemore, research director of Datacenter Networks at IDC. “Brocade’s end-to-end support of OpenFlow 1.3, combined with its Hybrid Port Mode functionality, offers an OpenFlow migration path to organizations that will allow them to embrace SDN without affecting their current production traffic.”

An early supporter of the protocol, Brocade claims it has shipped more than one million OpenFlow-enabled ports on the company’s flagship router, the Brocade MLXe Core Router and its compact carrier Ethernet routers and switches, the Brocade CER and CES products. By expanding support to the company’s campus LAN and data center switching portfolios, the Brocade ICX and VDX product families, Brocade is enabling new SDN use cases, such as Real-Time Threat Mitigation and Service Chaining, in order to deliver services and applications faster and more efficiently, while continuing to reduce costs.

“While the data center has been the logical starting place for the deployment of SDN technologies, customers are realizing increased needs for SDN in campus and WAN environments,” said Adam Judd, vice president for Asia Pacific at Brocade.

Extending the programmable architecture of the Brocade MLXe routers are two new hardware modules designed to expand SDN scale. The Brocade MLXe 2-port 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) CFP2 and the Brocade MLXe 20-port 10 GbE modules increase network flexibility and scale to advance service innovation without sacrificing performance. Built on Brocade VersaScale Packet Processing technology, these modules provide built-in investment protection with integrated OpenFlow support and upgradeability to future SDN capabilities.

Support for OpenFlow 1.3 on the Brocade MLXe, CER and CES product families is planned for June 2014. Current customers can upgrade to OpenFlow 1.3 at no additional cost. The Brocade ICX and VDX products are currently OpenFlow-enabled in hardware and are designed to provide software support later this year.