Core Chassis vs. Modular Switches – Briefing Note Brocade ICX 7750

Many large campuses need to update their core infrastructure in response to increased mobile and social trends, as well as continued scaling of high compute environments. The current heart of many infrastructures is a large scale up core switch. As these IT departments are facing this change, they are considering a scale out approach to their network infrastructure similar to what they are adopting for compute and storage. Brocade announced their new ICX 7750 at SuperComputing 2013 in Denver, Colorado to provide this alternative.

The ICX 7750 enables the scale out of campus aggregation networks to help organizations seamlessly add network capacity in a ‘pay as you grow’ manner. Unlike a scale up core switch, this approach allows switches to be distributed across the campus network.

The key though is that these switches can all be centrally managed as if they were a single large switch. This allows organizations like research, education and government agencies to economically scale their environment without increasing network management complexity.

The ICX 7750 is available in several models that offer varying combinations of 10GbE and 40GbE connectivity. A single logical device can support up to 3,000 1/10 GbE ports, or 800 40 GbE ports and is capable of up to 82 terabits per second of aggregate switching capacity. The switches are also SDN-ready with true Hybrid Port mode support for OpenFlow 1.3. The Brocade ICX 7750 starts at $21,500 and will be generally available in early 2014.

Storage Swiss Take

Campus wide organizations are fully embracing scale out infrastructures as a means to deploy storage and compute resources. It makes sense that they would also depart from the networking strategy of a single monolithic switch and turn instead to a scale out networking model.

For more information on scale out networking, see the following Storage Switzerland article:  “What is Scale Out Networking”.

Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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